Preserving Greatness: Celebrating 100 Years of Tillinghast’s Texas Masterpiece

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A post-Christmas party in the Oak Hills clubhouse lacked a bit of the club’s trademark hilarity because most of the attendees were thumbing through a book.

All were perusing Preserving Greatness, the most recent offering from commemorative book publishers Strawn & Sampson. As one of the authors signed and inscribed and shook approximately 400 hands, the members of the club read snippets aloud, apparently pleased at what they were seeing.

“We hired John (Strawn) and Curt (Sampson) to do our book because, with their backgrounds, they obviously know what they are doing,” said Oak Hills General Manager Cary Collins. “And they came through. This book is just excellent, in its look and in the writing.”

Strawn’s impeccable credentials include a long stint as CEO of Robert Trent Jones II, the well-known golf architecture firm; himself an architect, Strawn has been advising Gearhart Golf Links, on the Oregon coast, on the restoration of its timeless links, the oldest course on the west coast. Strawn also wrote the first-ever book about building a golf course, Driving the Green, inspiring an entire genre of books about golf course creation.

Sampson came to publishing from a different direction. After a career as a club and touring pro that was notable only for its consistent failure, Sampson stayed close to the game he loves as a writer.  Among his 20-odd books are the bestsellers Hogan, The Masters, and Roaring Back, the Fall and Rise of Tiger Woods.

The two met in Seoul, South Korea, in 1991, when both were invited by architect Desmond Muirhead to evaluate and write about his newest project, Long Lake Hill, a mountain course within sight of the DMZ. The idea to collaborate on club histories came nearly 30 years later, when the two drove from Portland—where Strawn lives—to Gearhart.

Two more Strawn & Sampson titles are in the production queue for spring delivery, with another two books slated for publication later in 2023.

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