Ron Whitten of Topeka enters the Hall of Fame as a Contributor to the Game. He has devoted his professional career to studying, critiquing, and writing about golf course architecture. After a stint as a city prosecutor in Topeka and as a writer for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, in 1984 Whitten went to work for Golf Digest. Whitten has written over 800 articles about golf course architecture and is co-author of the first (and still only) history of golf course design, “The Golf Course.”
At Golf Digest, Whitten helped shape the concept of national golf course rankings. He was responsible for the present scoring system used by the magazine for rating golf courses and for coordinating the panelist evaluations. Whitten has handled all of Golf Digest’s features relating to architecture, including the biennial survey of “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.” In 1996, Whitten was honored with the prestigious Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects, given in recognition of his contributions to the public understanding of golf course design.
Whitten has also been involved in designing golf courses, notably Erin Hills in Hartford, Wisconsin, which he co-designed along with Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry. Erin Hills was voted “Best New Course” in 2007 by Golf Magazine and was selected to host the 2011 United States Amateur Championship and the 2017 U.S. Open.