Born in 1936, the golf course architect Jay Morrish grew up Grand Junction. 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 University, where he later taught horticulture courses.
Morris 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 Golf Club; then 12 great years as partner with Tom Weiskopf before hanging out a shingle with son Carter in1996.
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 Eagle Springs in Wolcott and the late, lamented Grandote Peaks in La Veta. Morrish’s other Colorado courses are Castle Pines Golf Club and the Country Club of the Rockies with Nicklaus and Sonnenalp with Bob Cupp; while courses of his own creation are River Valley Ranch in Carbondale, Colorado National in Erie, Blackstone in Aurora and the Golf Club at Ravenna below Chatfield Reservoir, which he vowed would be his last. However, he did confess, “I’m finding it harder than I thought to walk away.”
Morrish, who also served as president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects from 2002 to 2003, retired shortly after his induction and died in 2015.