Jaime Ortiz-Patiño, who founded Spain's Valderrama Golf Club and won GCSAA's 1999 Old Tom Morris Award as a passionate supporter of both superintendents and golf's environmental efforts, has died at the age of 82.
The Spanish Golf Federation announced Ortiz-Patiño's passing today on its website, noting "Jamie Ortiz-Patiño ... died this morning at the Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella."
Born to an affluent Bolivian family, Ortiz-Patiño almost single-handedly spearheaded the construction of Valderrama, which in 1997 became the first course outside of the British Isles to host the Ryder Cup when it was contested on that side of the Atlantic. The club's self-appointed golf course superintendent, Ortiz-Patiño was equally driven by his interest in environmental efforts related to the game of golf, and he spearheaded the $3.5 million "Investing in the Beauty of Golf" campaign for The GCSAA Foundation (now the Environmental Institute for Golf) in the late 1990s.
“We are saddened by the passing of Jaime Ortiz-Patino," GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans says. "He was an ardent supporter of GCSAA and the golf course superintendent. He took great pride in the fact that he was a GCSAA member and participated in our education seminars to enhance his understanding of agronomy. Jaime considered himself a golf course superintendent at heart. He was so giving of his time as he spearheaded an endowment campaign for the Environmental Institute for Golf in the mid-1990s. While we will miss him, we do celebrate his life and love for the game of golf.”
Ortiz-Patiño was born in Paris in 1930, the grandson of a wealthy mining baron who later went on to serve as Bolivia's ambassador to France. His love of golf dated to a one-time gig as a caddy during the 1950 Italian Open and would later include a world-class collection of golf memorabilia in addition to his role in the conversion of the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed Las Aves Golf Club in Sotogrande, Spain, into Valderrama.
His dedication to golf course management was genuine; he not only took active leadership in the "Investing in the Beauty of Golf" endowment campaign, but also was a regular attendee at GCSAA Education Conferences who took countless turfgrass education classes and befriended superintendents from around the world.
You can read GCM's story on Ortiz-Patiño and his Old Tom Morris Award from the December 1998 issue of the magazine right here.