E. Lawrence Packard -
Golf Course Architect of Leslie Park G.C.
E. Lawrence Packard
Edward A. Lawrence Packard has sixty years of practical experience in landscape architecture, site planning and golf course architecture which has resulted in broad working knowledge of the economical planning of land areas for human use.
Following graduation in 1935 from the School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Massachusetts, Mr. Packard was employed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Resettlement Administration on Recreation Development Projects. He moved into the National Park Service in 1936 on land selection for new park developments on Mt. Desert Island, Bar Harbor, Maine.
For two years Mr. Packard gained valuable experince as designer, engineer and supervisor for a landscape contractor in the Boston metropolitan area. Following this he worked for a year in the same capacity for the E.A. McIlhennny Landscape Co., makers of Tobasco sauce, with office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Houston, Texas.
In 1939 Mr. Packard went with the U.S. War Department, Corps of Engineers and was stationed at Westover Field in western Massachusetts. For four years he had complete charge of all phases of the landscape work for this $15,000,000 project. During this time Mr. Packard developed a complete Master Plan and camouflage plan for the entire air base installation. A major part of work was seeding 1,500 acres of grass.
In 1943, after the war, Mr. Packard came to the Chicago Park District as designer and engineer for a multi-million dollar park expansion program. Here, Mr. Packard worked on site selection and development for new parks and also on the design aspects of Northerly Island Airstrip and O'Hare International Airport.
After 1944, Mr. Packard worked for eight years as chief supervisor and designer for Chicago golf course architect Robert Bruce Harris. Here Mr. Packard handled several jobs in various capacities running over the quarter million dollar mark, including the site planning for Maine Township High School in Des Plaines and Park Ridge, Illinois, the Maryknoll College site development in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the Janesville, Wisconsin High School site planning and the University of Iowa golf course, plus numerous golf courses.
During the fifty years from the 1950s through the 1990s, Mr. Packard became:
President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects
President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects Foundation
Chapter President of the American Society of Landscape Architects
President of the Rotary Club of LaGrange, Illinois
President of Plymouth Place, a LaGrange, Illinois retirement home
Landscape Architect for Plus, Inc., a LaGrange beautification project for Burlington Railroad
In fifty years, Packard has handled more than 250 golf projects ranging from the redesign of a few holes to the design of four courses for Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida. Two of Innisbrook's courses have been in Golf Digest's 100 best in the country, as well as the best in Florida, since 1975.
Other notable courses in Michigan that Mr. Packard has designed are Bay City Country Club in 1965, Hampshire Country Club in Dowagiac, in 1961, Pine Grove Country Club at Iron Mountian, Spring Meadows Country Club in Linden, in 1965 and most notable Leslie Park Golf Course in 1967 which won the Best Municipal Golf Course in the State of Michigan by Golf Digest.
The firm adheres to long-established design principles and safety considerations in developing a course, either with or without housing. Only a few water hazards are used. Good plans and specifications are a must. Feature articles on Packard courses have appeared in Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, PGA Magazine, Golfweek, Desert Golf, Wisconsin PGA, Chicago Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times. The firm's Chicago office has been managed by Packard's son, Roger, since 1986. Packard courses are designed so that both men and women will have very pleasant golfing. Easy pars but difficult birdies!
Lawernce Packard Turns 100
INNISBROOK, FL (November 15, 2012) – Today, one of golf’s legendary course designers is breaking 100, and not by scrambling for par on the 18th hole.
Larry Packard is best known for designing and working on over 600 golf courses, including the famed Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Florida, which is a favorite of PGA TOUR players. Now, he’s reached another milestone – 100 years of age.
A longtime resident of Innisbrook and designer of all four of the resort’s courses, Packard will celebrate his birthday this evening with a party at the resort’s namesake restaurant, Packard’s Steakhouse. And he has a few simple words of advice for those who ask about the secret to his longevity:
“It’s all about what you eat and what you put into your body,” he says. No salt; don’t eat a lot of butter and fats. You also have to be happy, and make sure you like what you do every day.”
For the past 80 years, “liking what he does” has certainly been Packard’s motto. Born in Northampton, MA, on November 15, 1912, Packard became interested in landscape architecture in the 1930s when the United States was in the grip of the Great Depression. One particular job at Westover Field Air Base in his home state involved planting grass along two runways, each two miles long. This was an enormous undertaking before the days of motorized seeding equipment.
Already the consummate perfectionist, Packard’s work drew attention from the government, which sent an informant to find out 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.
Packard found what he describes as “an easy solution,” based on childhood memories In fact, he did such a good job that even some of the US fighter pilots couldn’t find the runways to land. This expertise was later sought out to design an airport in Chicago, which is known today as O’Hare – the world’s fourth busiest. However, soon Packard’s work would lead from runways to fairways. After World War Two ended, Packard began his career in golf course architecture with an entry-level position in the firm of the famous course architect Robert Bruce Harris, where he also got to know the renowned architect Robert Trent Jones. During the next 50 years, Packard was prolific, designing over 350 new golf courses and redesigning another 250. His work was also geographically diverse, including the United States, Egypt, Japan, China, South Korea, Guatemala and Costa Rica.
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 the organization. That same year, Innisbrook Resort opened its gates, with Packard designing the first layout: the Island Course, which recently hosted the Legends Tour Open Championship won by Laura Davies.