Donald Ross had a few phrases to live by, especially when it came to golf and course design. Here were a few of his most notable:
“If you use a line and a square to build a bunker, the result is sure to have an artificial-ness akin to hideous. It’s just as easy to break up all the lines and avoid such a regrettable result. Man cannot do in a few days what nature took years to accomplish.”
“Often the very highest recommendation of a bunker is when it is criticized. That shows that it is accomplishing the one thing for which it was built: It’s making players think.”
“The repeated loss of balls by those to whom the hazard is difficult is apt to create dissatisfaction.”
“If you want to know a man, take him out on the golf course.”
“I believe wholeheartedly in golf. I consider it a game of honor. It does more to bring out the finer points in a man’s character than any other sport.”
“A country which gets golf-minded need not worry about the honor, the integrity and the honesty of its people.”
“Every golfer is on his honor. As long as we keep golf a game of honor, we’re on the right road.”
Old Tom Morris was against gambling in golf and advised Ross to never bet on the golf course beyond a small wager. “Why make a horse race out of a game like golf?” Morris posited. Ross took Old Tom’s words to heart and for the rest of his life rarely played for stakes beyond a quarter Nassau. Ross said that Calcutta pools “don’t belong in such a fine, clean game.”
Once at Pinehurst, a young man who didn’t know Ross asked him for a game and a $25 Nassau.
“Let’s just play for the fun of the game,” Ross countered.
The young man insisted, so Ross relented, played the visitor and beat him soundly.
“I built the course,” Ross told his opponent. “Let this be a lesson to you: Don’t play for high stakes with a stranger.”