Dave Thomas, 1934-2013

Dave Thomas, one of the first touring pros to become a notable golf course architect, died last week at his home in Spain.

Thomas wasn’t especially well known in the United States, but he was a major influence on the golf industry in Great Britain and Europe. “Of the modern British professionals,” said Ken Schofield, a former executive director of the European Tour, “he has twinned championship play with a quantity and quality of golf course designs that will endure as long as the game is played.”

Thomas became a pro in 1949 and played on four Ryder Cup teams before arthritis prematurely ended his professional career. As an architect, sometimes in collaboration with Peter Alliss, he designed or redesigned a reported 100 golf courses, among them the Belfry’s Brabazon track, which has hosted more Ryder Cup championships – four – than any other layout on earth.

Even better, though, it seemed that Thomas enjoyed his work and his life.

“He was good company and over-indulged, certainly on good food and good wine,” Alliss recalled. “How he lived to be 79 is a miracle of the human spirit.”

Though its namesake is gone, Thomas’ Cheshire-based design firm will live on, operated by his son, Paul.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to sign up for a FREE digital subscription, click here!