It’s hard to imagine a UMass graduate who has caused more people to curse, throw things, or break a pencil in frustration than Geoffrey Cornish. And even after his death at age 97 in 2012, he will continue to torment people — not everyone mind you. Just golfers. Cornish helped design or redesign more golf courses in New England than anyone, and nearly 250 courses in the US, Canada, and Europe. The International Golf Club in Bolton was his, as were Stow North at Stow Acres Country Club, Indian Ridge in Andover, Haverhill Country Club, and Farm Neck in Oak Bluffs, to name a few.
In addition to writing a widely referenced book called “The Architects of Golf,” Cornish became a worldwide lecturer on the art of designing golf courses and was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. He got his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from the University of British Columbia, but his master’s and an honorary doctorate came from UMass.
In an interview he gave in 2000, Cornish said, “I can’t walk down Fifth Avenue [in New York City] without thinking, if you hit the ball here, where can I get to that point with a wedge.”