Our History: A Championship Legacy
The legends of Ghost Creek and Witch Hollow are as mysterious and elusive as the spectacular courses that bear their names. Envisioning a beautiful golf haven reminiscent of Scotland & Great Britain’s great traditional golf courses, Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s founding owners Marvin French, Gaylord Davis, and Barney Hyde sought the financial support of Japanese businessman Shigeru Ito & his daughter Kumiko Rodewald. Together, these private club pioneers overcame significant obstacles to build what are considered two of the best golf course layouts in the country—each a masterpiece in its own right.
In 1996, Tiger Woods brought notoriety to Witch Hollow when he won his unprecedented third consecutive U.S. Amateur Championship there in a dramatic come-from-behind finish over Steve Scott in what is considered one of the greatest match play confrontations in the last half of the 20th Century. Scott finished five up after the morning 18 of the Championship match. Tiger answered back, however, with a 7-under-65 on the second 18 to even the match through 36 holes. In the spine-tingling sudden death playoff, Woods delivered 300+ yard drives and two miraculous putts, a curling 35 footer for eagle on 11 and another 30-foot birdie putt on 17, to take the title.
The Pumpkin Ridge Story
With the goal of creating not only a magnificent private club but also a superb locale for major golf championships, partners Marvin French, Gaylord Davis and Barney Hyde set about soliciting support from local residents and businesses and collaborating on the master plan for this ambitious undertaking. With financial support from Japanese businessman and golf enthusiast Shigeru Ito and his daughter, Kumiko Rodewald, groundbreaking on Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club began in 1990; and the rest, as they say, is history.
Just one month after opening in 1992, Pumpkin Ridge received the unprecedented honor of being named the host site for the United States Golf Association's (USGA) 1996 U.S. Amateur Championship. "We created Pumpkin Ridge for the game, and the USGA epitomizes the game," said Marvin French. A slew of accolades and golf championships have followed. In its inaugural year, Golf Digest named Ghost Creek the "Best New Public Course in the U.S." and Witch Hollow the "#2 Best New Private Course in the U.S."
Four years later, in 1996, Tiger Woods brought notoriety to Witch Hollow when he won his unprecedented third consecutive U.S. Amateur Championship. Many golf observers consider the 36-hole final, between Tiger Woods and Steve Scott, to be the greatest match-play confrontation in the last half of the 20th century. Another spectacular record-book finish came during the 1997 U.S. Women's Open Championship, where crowds of more than 110,000 packed the gallery as Alison Nicholas defeated the favored Nancy Lopez.
In 2000, Pumpkin Ridge made history once again by hosting the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship, marking the first time in 22 years that these two events had been held simultaneously at the same location. Numerous other prestigious amateur and professional events have been held on the two courses since then, including the 2003 U.S. Women's Open Championship; 2006 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship; and the LPGA's 2009, 2010 and 2011 Safeway Classic.
In late 2015, a new chapter at Pumpkin Ridge began as the property was acquired by Fort Worth-based Escalante Golf. A boutique owner and experienced operator of high-end golf properties, Escalante will continue to honor the legacy and proud heritage created by its original founders so that Pumpkin Ridge can be enjoyed by future generations.