George Bahto, who did more to immortalize the role of C.B. Macdonald as the founder of golf in America and compiled The Evangelist of Golf to document Macdonald and Seth Raynor's architectural works, has passed away after a lengthy illness. He was 83.
Like many modern friendships, I started communicating with George via email in the late 90s about his many finds. After many years of carefully piecing together documentation and unearthing so many amazing documents, he published The Evangelist of Golf in 2002. His passion for architecture and in particular Macdonald, resulted in George joining Mike Keiser's design team for Bandon Dunes' Old Macdonald. George was truly an inspiring figure and his dedication as a biographer to his subject will forever live thanks to his work.
There is a nice thread dedicated to George on GolfClubAtlas.com where his good friend Neil Regan broke the sad news.
Gil Hanse, who partnered with George on several projects including restorations, had this to say:
We are so sorry to hear of the passing of George Bahto last night. George was first and foremost a close friend and someone whom I could always rely on as a truthful sounding board for matters both personal and professional. He was our go to guy for any project related to Seth Raynor and CB Macdonald, and his talents, knowledge and passions were critical contibutors to our work together at Essex County, Sleepy Hollow, The Creek Club, and Westhampton. I consider myself so lucky to have learned from him and his lessons will be a part of my career for as long as I am able to continue designing golf courses.
Bradley Klein, part of the Old Macdonald design team with George, pens this appreciation.