J. Press Maxwell, one of the pre-eminent golf course architects in America, was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma in 1916, but moved to Colorado in 1958, living in Morrison, with occasional soirees to his Alsoa Ranch near Basalt, until his death in 2001.
Maxwell learned his trade from one of the best, his father Perry Maxwell, with whom he collaborated after time out for some exemplary action in World War II, flying 81 combat missions with the 15th Air Force. Before rejoining his father after the war, however, Press remained in Europe at the request of Marshal Tito to serve with his colonel as a two-man Yugoslavian air force flying rescue missions for men who had been shot down behind enemy lines. His many service decorations include one from Tito.
After his father’s death in 1952, Press emerged as one of golf course design’s brightest stars. In 1960 Press served as president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
In addition to designing or remodeling over 20 courses in Colorado (among them Applewood, Boulder CC, Cherry Hills, Hiwan, Inverness, Kissing Camels, Lake Valley, Pinehurst, Rolling Hills, Columbine, Denver CC, Lakewood and Patty Jewett), Maxwell’s fine hand can be seen in many great layouts around the nation such as Southern Hills in Tulsa, Augusta National, Austin (Tex.) CC, and Prairie Dunes in Kansas.
Dropping yet another name, Lee Trevino numbers himself among the many who “can’t believe Press (wasn’t) in the Hall of Fame already. I’ve had the privilege of working at and playing some of the courses he has designed, and can attest to his talent.”