AVCC Course Designer
Howard Watson (1907 - 1992)


Born in Dresden, Ontario, in 1907, Howard Watson was a renowned golf architect who signed the designs for over 150 courses in Ontario, the United States, Colombia and Jamaica. However, his greatest contribution will have marked 67 courses in Quebec including Carling Lake, Pinegrove, Joliette, Islesmere, Royal Quebec, Hillsdale-Laurentian, Cedarbrook and Cap-Rouge, to name a few. He also supervised the modifications made to the Candiac Golf Club in 1974 in preparation for the DuMaurier Classic.


After studying agriculture at the University of Toronto with a specialization in soil biology, in 1929, he got his start with the legendary Stanley Thompson, of whom he was the principal associate. His first solo design was in 1933 when he built 9 holes in Seaforth, Ontario. In the 1930s-40s he worked closely with Robert Trent Jones who had also joined the Thompson team and with whom he shared a distinct design strategy identifiable by his typical greens and wide sand pits.


During the Depression and World War II he served as a superintendent, turf consultant and engineer as a major in the ranks of the Canadian Army. It was after the War that he came to settle in Quebec with his wife Betty, more precisely in Lachute. It was there that he designed, in collaboration with Thompson and at the request of the young industrialist Gilbert Ayers, a golf course on the outskirts of the city. It is on this ground which would one day have two courses that Howard Watson will conduct his experiments to develop an underground irrigation system designed so that certain greens are irrigated without interrupting the game and that he will install his office of architecture in a unique home on the 18th green of the course members.


President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1958-59, he was a member of the Association of Golf Superintendents of Canada for 38 years and has other renowned architects such as Graham Cooke and John Watson among his apprentices. Calm and reserved, he is known for his work as a superintendent and for his research on lawn maintenance. Died in 1992, his candidacy was selected this year to be inducted into the Quebec Golf Hall of Fame as a builder.