Larry Packard Bio - Sentinel July 2012
07 / 11 / 2012
Innisbrook Course Designer to Celebrate 100th Birthday
Best known for his course creations at Innisbrook Resort in Florida, where the Copperhead Course is a favorite on the PGA TOUR, and The Eagle Ridge Resort in Illinois, Larry Packard has designed and worked on over 600 golf courses throughout his career. Now as he plans to celebrate his 100th birthday, Packard is reflecting on a fabulous career and life well lived.
Born in Northampton, MA on November 15, 1912, Packard found an interest in landscape architecture in the 1930’s when the United States was in the grip of the Great Depression. “Larry was a young person starting out in the world when there were no jobs. He was living month to month and he has always remembered that experience,” stated Brent Wadsworth, former partner in Packard and Wadsworth, and founder and owner of Wadsworth Golf Construction.
Packard recalls a job in the late 30’s at Westover Field in Massachusetts, where he was planting grass along the two runways, each two miles long which was an enormous undertaking before the days of motorized seeding equipment. Already the consummate perfectionist, Packard’s work drew attention from Washington D.C. who sent an informant to find out just how he did it with such precision.
Another of Packard’s assignments as a wartime architect was to devise a camouflage scheme for the airbase to prevent an enemy attack from the air. Packard found what he describes as “an easy solution” based on childhood memories that did such a good job even some of the US fighter pilots couldn’t find the runways to land. His expertise were later sought out to design an airport in Chicago which is known today as O’Hare. Packard recalls several interesting experiences throughout his career and life which would lead him from runways to fairways.
Packard began his career in golf course architecture in 1946 with an entry-level position in the firm of the famous course architect Robert Bruce Harris where he got to know already accomplished architect Robert Trent Jones. By 1970 Packard was President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects where he made significant expansions to the membership and was instrumental in changing the face of this organization while preparing its first written policies. Packard also established the American Society of Golf Course Architects and organized their first conference on the use of affluent water for golf courses.
During the next 50 years, Packard designed over 350 new golf courses and did redesigns on over 250 existing courses with his work reaching throughout the world including Egypt, Japan, China, South Korea, El Morrow (Island off the coast of Venezuela), Guatemala and Costa Rica, in addition to the United States. In 2002, Packard worked with author Mickey Rathbun to write a book on key parts of his life and work entitled “Double Doglegs and Other Hazards."
Today Packard resides at Innisbrook Resort near Tampa, FL with wife Ann. Packard’s son, Roger Packard, followed in his father’s talented course designer footsteps and currently resides in China. Mr. Packard looks forward to watching the top PGA TOUR players compete on his famed Copperhead Course each March.