By Todd Michaelis, ’90
John A. Fought, ’84 (Mary), Aurora, Ore., began golfing at age 7 and used his talent to secure a BYU golf scholarship in 1972. He played on the BYU golf team through 1976, and although he eventually received a bachelor’s degree in accounting, his focus remained on golf.
In 1977 he turned professional and that same year was crowned the men’s U.S. Amateur champion. He won two tournaments on the PGA Tour and received PGA Rookie of the Year honors in 1979. Unfortunately, a neck injury in 1985 ended his pro career but not his interest in the sport.
While playing in a tournament with golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Fought met Bob Cupp, one of Nicklaus’ senior designers. They formed a partnership and collaborated on several golf course designs. This launched Fought into his new profession.
When it comes to getting ideas for his courses, Fought goes back in time. “I’ve always had an interest in history,” he says. “I have studied course designers of the 1920s and ’30s, and they have influenced my course designs. Obstacles, bunkers, and the shapes of the tees have a turn-of-the-century feel.” According to Fought, a great course requires more than good grass and appeal. It needs to be strategic, clever, and interesting.
“I want golfers of all abilities to enjoy the course. I would like the better players especially to be challenged to think on each hole and, when they are finished, to realize they have used every club in their bag,” Fought says.
Fought’s golf course resumé now includes the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., with its Witch Hollow Course, which hosted the 1996 U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship—where Tiger Woods won his third straight title—as well as the 1997 U.S. Women’s Open; the Crosswater Golf Club in Sunriver, Ore., site of the 2000 NCAA
Division I Women’s National Championship; and Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove, Minn., scheduled site for the 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.