Source: VT Golf Magazine | Issue: Summer 1998 | Author: Bob Labbance
Synopsis: This article is about Geoffrey Cornish and his successes in his golf career.
A quick scan of Vermont’s course list brings into focus exactly what Geoffrey Cornish has meant to golf in the Green Mountains. From his first design at Manchester Country Club in 1969, he has planned seven of our best courses, remodeled three others and walked dozens of other properties advising dreamers. He has done it all with infectious good humor and remarkable vigor for a gentleman in his 80’s. As he has often said, “Since I got out of the service I haven’t worked a day in my life.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1914, Cornish earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia and a master’s from the University of Massachusetts, both in agronomy. He apprenticed with legendary designer Stanley Thompson for four years beginning in 1935, and then took a post as a green keeper at the St. Charles Country Club in Winnipeg. Cornish served the Canadian Army during World War 2 and afterwards, in 1948, established a home in Amherst Massachusetts. He is still there today, ably assisted in his work by his wife Carol.
While working as an instructor at UMass, Cornish eased into golf course architecture. “Carol and I had these flood-lit pitch and putts; we’d put them on about three acres. We used to net $4,000 a year on each one and we thought that was a fortune.” His first full-size solo design was the exact opposite of the pitch and putts. Now known as the International, the original Runaway Brooke CC was commissioned by Burt Suprenant, who wanted the longest course in the world.