Robert Muir Graves, the noted architect of The Sea Ranch Golf Links, passed away on June 28, 2003, in Bend, Oregon, at the age of 72 from cancer related problems.
Born in Michigan, Bob studied at Michigan State University and graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Landscape Architecture. Serving in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict, and 22 years in the Naval Reserves, he achieved the rank of Commander.
During his 50 years of practice in golf architecture, Bob created some of more memorable golf experiences, mostly in the Western States, but also on the Algarve in Portugal, and in Malaysia. He has been internationally acclaimed for his ability to find the most ideal golf solution within existing landscapes. Among his most notable courses out of the more than 80 he designed, in addition to The Sea Ranch Golf Links on the Northern California coast are; the Golf Club at Quail Lodge on the Monterey Peninsula, La Purisima Golf Club, on the Southern California coast, Port Ludlow Golf Club in the state of Washington, Lake Merced Golf and Country Club in San Francisco, Course in British Columbia, Widgi Creek, and The Greens, in Redmond, Washington. Graves was often called upon to rework courses originally designed by others, such as the Sonoma National in Napa Valley, California, Orinda Country Club, and Rogue Valley, Oregon.
A long-standing member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Bob was named a Fellow of the Society in 2003 and had previously served the organization as President in the mid 70s. Teamed with fellow Golf Architect Geoff Cornish, from the East Coast, Bob taught a number of golf course design seminars across the country and authored two books golf course architecture, Golf Course Design, and, just recently, Classic Golf Hole Design. Starting in 1989, the two architects taught a golf design seminar/workshop at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
A passion for flying also occupied part of his life, even to the extent of building his own airstrip at his ranch near Bend, Oregon, and restoring an old Stearman crop duster. His flying abilities enabled him to keep close contact with his design projects.For a number of years, Bob and his wife of 50 years, Maryalice, (Mimi), maintained a second home at The Sea Ranch, where he had designed The Sea Ranch Golf Links in a Scottish Links style, inspired by studying some of the classic designs in the British Isles. This design has been commended as one of early examples of natural, minimalist, golf architecture, complementing the ânatural, minimalist, style, which is the hallmark of Sea Ranch Architecture. Bob's departure from the golf world may leave a large void in future golf architecture, however, golfers will continue to enjoy the many wonderful golf experiences that are his legacy to us.