Donald Ross

Donald Ross is the greatest golf course designer of all time. He is one of golf’s true heroes. He is directly responsible for the creation of over four hundred of the most splendid and challenging courses in the world. As the patron saint of golf course architecture, he is widely known for his beautiful, deceptively simple designs that harmonize with the surrounding environment. Donald Ross turned golf course architecture into an art form.


The Film

The film, “Donald Ross: Discovering the Legend,” is about a man who left Scotland for America without enough money to buy his second meal, but who became one of the most respected and best paid individuals in all of sports. It features not only the great Ross courses that have hosted major championships, such as Pinehurst #2, Interlachen, Inverness, and Charles River, but also lesser-known gems that are revered by their members for their playability, challenge and charm.


At the heart of this film is the simple idea that Donald Ross’ lasting and unique contribution to the game should be more widely recognized and appreciated. Viewers will see what the courses look like now, and in some instances, what they looked like years ago. Clips from archival films, still photos, and architectural plans and drawings are featured. Anecdotal stories and interviews with renowned golf course architects, professionals, writers, historians, course superintendents, television analysts, and amateur players serve to critically enrich the film, and explain why Ross’ classic designs have stood the test of time.


The producers were granted access to the Tufts Archives’ expansive collection of historical photos and Ross memorabilia and had extensive interviews with Tom Doak, Ben Crenshaw, Rees Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Ran Morrissett, founder of, Peggy Kirk Bell, and Bradley Klein, the noted architecture author.  Klein, who has written five books on golf course design, including the definitive biography, Discovering Donald Ross, consulted throughout the film’s production.


From the Producer, Cob Carlson

No film has ever been done on Donald Ross, but there have been a few books written. Those books were integral to making this unique film. My qualifications are especially suited to this project and inspired me to make this film.  I have worked as a documentary editor and producer for the past thirty years. I have been playing the game of golf for the past 55 years, and compete in local, state and regional tournaments. I have been a member at the George Wright Golf Course, one of Boston’s municipal courses, for over 20 years, and am a former club champion there. It is a wonderful Donald Ross design.


This film has the support and endorsement of The Ross Family, The Donald Ross Society, The Massachusetts Golf Association, and the U.S.G. A.

The Production Team


Cob Carlson

Cob Carlson has been a film editor/producer for thirty years, the past twenty-eight spent in Boston. He has worked on documentaries, major network television programs, feature films, music videos, commercials, and web videos. He has also recorded sound for feature film, and freelanced as both a film and video cameraman. His 16mm documentary film, “An Irish American Story,” received critical acclaim and was broadcast on PBS in 1998. Cob has been an Adjunct professor at Emerson College and Eastern Connecticut State where he has taught Film and Video Production and Editing.  He also taught in the Filmmaking Department at N.Y.U. in the late 1980’s.

Films he has worked on have won a variety of awards over the years including Best Documentary at the Boston Film Festival, two CINE GOLD EAGLES, a Gold at the National Education & Video Festival, a Silver at the New York Film & Video Festival, and Best Documentary award at The Golden Gate Film Festival.


Director of Photography

Guy DeFeis

Guy DeFeis is a cinematographer based out of Massachusetts. His broadcast credits include Body and Soul for PBS, ESPN Baseball Tonight, CBS Sunday Morning, Engineering the Impossible, and the History Channel. His documentary focus on non-profit work has taken him to Africa for Physicians for Human Rights, Scandinavia and Europe for the Nobel Foundation, and many schools across America for WGBH.

He is an avid squash player and decidedly poor long iron player beyond 185 yards.


Director of Photography

Taylor Hellhake

DEPTHink Productions Asheville. NCLPGA Legends, MCLA National Championships, Colored Confederates won best picture at Bare Bones International Film Festival 2012, best documentary at Mississippi Film Festival 2012, best HBO documentary and CNN outstanding documentary. Nocturne won the silver medal in excellence in music in a feature film at the Park City Film Music Festival. Pray for Eric won best “Coming of Age” documentary at the Mountain Film Festival, Black Cinema International Berlin Film Festival, and Doc Miami Film Festival.



Tom Philips

Tom Phillips’ credits include well over 400 films for national broadcast networks such as PBS, ABC, CBS, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, TLC, Lifetime, A&E and HBO, which have amassed an impressive list of industry awards. His scores are regularly heard on national broadcast television, including the Antiques Roadshow theme, programs for American Experience, and for Nova.

His resume includes four national Emmy winners as well as many other Emmy nominated films, including “Freedom Riders” which won 3 national primetime Emmys. He has scored many independent films which have won film festivals including multiple Sundance Film Festival winners such as “The Murder of Emmett Till”. His scores are heard in countless exhibits, installations, and multimedia shows for museums and planetariums such as the American Museum of Natural History in NYC and the Museum of Science in Boston, as well films for universities including Harvard, Yale, Duke, Boston University, Cornell, and the University of Chicago to name a few.


Board of Advisors

George Bodenheimer

Executive Chairman ESPN. Former President, ABC Sports. Member of the Golden Age designed Woodway Country Club.

Fred “Chico” Lager

Former President & CEO Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Member and former Chair of Greens Committee of the Donald Ross designed Burlington Country Club.

Gil Pritchard

West Point 1970, former CEO Avalon Organics, former CEO Barbara’s Natural Foods. Member of the Donald Ross designed Pinehurst #2, Pine Needles, and Mid-Pines.

Peter Roy

Former president of Whole Foods Market, lifelong golf enthusiast, and member of Blowing Rock Club, a Donald Ross designed course.

Freddie Dolan

President and CEO of StretchMate, Inc. Executive Director of The American Flexibility Institute. Member of Donald Ross designed Winchester Country Club.

Dr. John B. Elstrott

Emeritus Executive Director of the Levy Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Tulane University. Chairman of the Board, Whole Foods Market. Member, New Orleans Country Club.

Lex Alexander

Wake Forest 1975, NCAA Men’s Team Golf Champion, former N.C. Men’s Amateur and Mid-Amateur Champion, former national Executive Team Member – Whole Foods Market, ‘The Food Guy.’ Member of the Donald Ross designed Blowing Rock CC.