Noted architect Bob Cupp passes away

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. – “Golf is a fun game; it is why 99 percent of us continue to play. I hope to lead more people – especially families – to play more golf, more often, for the sheer fun of the game.” Bob Cupp, ASGCA Fellow.

Bob Cupp, a Past President and Fellow of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), died Aug. 19, 2016. He was 76. ASGCA members and the golf industry will remember Cupp’s design work around the world, as well as his service to ASGCA and the game of golf.


Cupp headed Bob Cupp, Inc. in Atlanta. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami and a Masters in Fine Arts from the U.S. Army Extension Service.

Among his many career achievements, Cupp had an impact on the golf landscape in Oklahoma when he redesigned the Jimmie Austin University of Oklahoma Golf Course in 1996.


After a brief career as a professional golfer, Cupp began designing courses. He worked with Jack Nicklaus, ASGCA Fellow, as a senior designer for more than 15 years before forming his own firm. His courses have hosted more than 50 national and international championships and in 1992 Golf World Magazine recognized Cupp as it’s first-ever Golf Architect of the Year. His work over the years included joint projects with his son, Bobby, a golf course architect and builder.


A published author, Cupp wrote The Edict; a novel from the beginnings of golf, for Random House. He also co-authored Golf’s Grand Design, a conversation on the history and evolution of golf course architecture and companion book to the PBS television show of the same name, with Golf Digest Architecture Senior Editor Ron Whitten.


An artist (Cupp illustrated Ted Williams’ instructional book, The Science of Hitting), blacksmith, writer and musician, Cupp himself wrote that in recent years he continued, “to draw and paint, play golf, build furniture, sing, play the guitar and torture a cello.”


“Bob Cupp was a renaissance man,” said ASGCA President Greg Martin. “He was a poet and author, golf course architect and musician, he loved to tell tales and offer opinions. Bob was a famed golf course architect, mentor to many and friend to all. As a member and as ASGCA President, he provided lyrical perspective during some deeply challenging years.


“On behalf of the ASGCA, we offer our deepest condolences to Bob’s family – know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Bob was an important part of this organization, and more importantly, he was a cherished member of the ASGCA family.”


With more than 40 years as a golf course architect, Cupp’s course list included: Liberty National Golf Course, Jersey City, New Jersey; Beacon Hall, Ontario, Canada; Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, Portland, Oregon; Crosswater Golf Club, Sunriver, Oregon; Old Waverly Country Club, West Point, Mississippi (with Jerry Pate); and Hawks Ridge Golf Club, Ball Ground, Georgia.

Cupp became an ASGCA member in 1990 and served as President in 2012-13.



Bob is survived by his wife, Pamela Amy-Cupp, their two children, Sengens and Foster Amy-Cupp and his children, Robert E. Cupp Jr., Caren Cupp, Laura Cupp and his seven grandchildren.


Arrangements are pending. A memorial service is also being planned for a date in September.


Comments on the death of Bob Cupp, ASGCA Fellow:


Bill Bergin, ASGCA


Golf Course Architecture is a small world. As we know, only a select group are able to practice our profession. Bob Cupp was not only a leader within our world, but he brought so much more to our industry than beautiful golf courses. To say that he was my mentor is accurate, but it is also too limited. The lessons learned from Bob Cupp have fermented and ripened over the years in ways I never could have imagined. Bob Cupp lived a big full life, and my life is fuller for having been guided by such a talented, generous man. 


As I reflect on the man I knew, I am moved to offer a sincere thank you. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t recognize how amazing it is to get up and look forward to the chance to work on another golf course. My gratitude to Bob for providing the opportunity to share this small world is endless. 


Doug Carrick, ASGCA Past President


I am very saddened to hear about the passing of our very good friend and ASGCA Past President Bob Cupp.


I first met Bob in 1986 when he was working on his first solo course design at Beacon Hall in Aurora, Canada. I remember him asking me why I was in the golf design business.


I replied, “Because I love the game of golf” and he simply said, “Right answer!” Bob was passionate about the game of golf and about the design of golf courses, but he had so much more depth and compassion as a person. He has often been described as a “Renaissance Man” because he possessed so many incredible talents. He was an accomplished artist, musician, writer, cabinet maker and an avid model railroad collector and builder.


Bob’s legacy as a golf course architect is truly outstanding. His course designs throughout the world illustrate his flair for design, his versatility as a designer and his sensitivity for the environment. He was simply one of the best to ever practice the profession golf course architecture. 


As a truly close friend they don’t come any better. He had a wonderful sense of humour, he loved to share jokes and funny stories and compare notes on family happenings.

I value the time and friendship that we shared for more than 30 years. Bob will be sadly missed by his family, by his clients and by his many, many friends.


My deepest condolences to his wife Pam Amy Cupp and all of his children, whom Bob loved more than words can express.


Ron Whitten, Senior Editor, Architecture, Golf Digest


Bob Cupp not only designed golf courses, incredible ones including Crosswater and Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon, Old Waverly in Mississippi, Liberty National in New Jersey, Indianwood New in Michigan, Beacon Hall and Mad River in Canada, and Marietta, Settindown Creek, Brookhaven and Hawks Ridge, all near Atlanta, he also designed his home, built most of the furniture in it, raised a second family, wrote a novel, painted and sculpted, worked on model railroads, played guitar and sang in the local choir. A good friend for over 30 years, Bob was absolutely my favorite Renaissance Man in golf. It’s a shame Tom Doak had already called his company Renaissance Golf.  That would have been the perfect name for Bob’s firm. 

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Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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