2007 Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Inductee
Jay Morrish, Hall-of-Fame! Perfect! It's simply a shame there is neither time nor space to spell out the fascinating exploits of this gallivanting septuagenarian from Grand Junction, who is winding up a brilliant career as a golf course architect. A promising golfer, Jay obtained degrees under the first Trans-Miss turf scholarship, awarded in 1963, before receiving a Landscaping and Turf Management degree from Colorado State where he later taught horticulture courses. He launched his career as construction superintendent for Robert Trent Jones at Spyglass Hill in 1964 and was off to the races -- a couple of years each with George Fazio and Desmond Muirhead; 10 with Jack Nicklaus, including work on Castle Pines; then 12 great years as partner with Tom Weiskopf before striking out on his own with son Carter in1996. All which far over-simplifies Jay's impact on golf course design.
Morrish and Weiskopf were named Architects of the Year in 1995 just before Jay dissolved the partnership to work with his son, but they received tremendous acclaim for their innovative works, notable throughout the industry for designing the "reachable par fours." In 1992, they were the first American designers to design a course in Scotland when they collaborated on Loch Lomond, which both agreed is their very best work and a top 20 in world rankings.
Nicklaus called Morrish "one of the best technicians in the business," while Weiskopf said "no one out-works or out-thinks Jay." Two of their more than 26 course designs are in Colorado and include Grandote Peaks and Eagle Springs. Jay's other Colorado courses are Castle Pines Golf Club and Country Club of the Rockies with Nicklaus; Singletree with Bob Cupp; while courses of his own creation are River Valley Ranch, Colorado National, Blackstone and the new Golf Club at Ravenna below Chatfield, which he vowed would be his last. However, he did confess, "I'm finding it harder than I thought to walk away."
Morrish was elected president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects for 2002-03 and generally was deemed consumed with golf. But Jay shared a passion for big-game hunting with Weiskopf that became great competition, though Jay concentrated largely on Africa while Weiskopf centered on North America. Jay and wife Louise have a big-game trophy room in their home in Flower Mound, Texas, which includes over 100 different animals. So walking away from golf may not be that difficult if they keep future African safaris in their sights, Louise with the camera.