Paul Daley (Author Golf Architecture)
The golf-loving son of a golf-loving banker, Paul Daley was born in 1960. Raised in Victoria’s fertile Western District, each time his father was transferred to a new branch, young Daley’s habit was to join the local golf club.
An avid, early reader and collector of golf books, Paul recalls around his twelfth birthday being captivated by two PG Wodehouse classics: The Clicking of Cuthbert; and The Heart of a Goof. One particular passage from the British humorist left its mark: ‘Golf, like measles, should be caught young; for if postponed to riper years, the results may be serious.’ He took Wodehouse’s advice.
After leaving the West, and experiencing an enjoyable four-year stint in Gippsland, Paul transferred to Melbourne, where, importantly, he gained access to the golf courses that comprise the famous Melbourne Sandbelt. Thirty-five years later, he still lives in that most-liveable city.
After dividing his time over eighteen years between his career in the pharmaceutical industry, which included national responsibilities, and ambitions to play golf at a competitive level, Paul decided to focus on his favourite, non-playing aspect of golf: writing.
As Paul’s early exposure to golf was mainly on the coastal courses of Western Victoria—such as Apollo Bay, Barwon Heads, Warnambool, Port Fairy, Peterborough and Portland—the die was cast, leading to a respect, understanding and preference for seaside golf. It underpinned a desire to one day make a links pilgrimage throughout Great Britain and Ireland, to experience the ancient links. He accomplished that on three extended-stay occasions: in 1989; 1995; and 1998.
In 2000, Daley self-published Links Golf: The Inside Story, after it was passed-up by several publishers, who deemed its narrow subject-matter a risky proposition. Paul formed Full Swing Golf Publishing, took a deep breath and generated an initial release of 5,000 copies. The copies sold well, resulting in a contract with Pelican Publishing, North America’s largest independent publisher at the time. The firm instigated an additional North American release.
The following year, in 2001, Paul released The Sandbelt: Melbourne's Golfing Heaven. His work, complemented by David Scaletti’s striking photography, provides insight into the unique history and design characteristics of a geographic hotspot for quality golf architecture.
However, it was in 2002, following the release of Golf Architecture: A Worldwide Perspective (Vol One), when Daley introduced his ground-breaking concept of an essay series. He invited contributions from many renowned golf course architects and edited their essays into a single literary volume. This design concept has since led to a six-volume series, supported by imagery that includes photography, plans, drawings and renderings. Paul expects to push forward with the seventh volume in the near future.
Seeking a break from his golf architecture series, in 2004 he released Favourite Holes by Design: The Architects’ Choice, an innovative project that sought nominations from leading golf architects of their favourite holes.
Were it not for golf, Paul would have written extensively about his second sporting love: cricket. Indeed, one of his most enjoyable and ambitious project was Tons of Runs: The Official Register of Cricket Century-makers (2011), a venture that published [100,000] centuries made on Australian cricket grounds since 1880. Earlier, in 2006, his interest in sporting statistics led to the release of The Official Hole in One Register.
While golf course architecture is Daley’s main writing and publishing connection to golf, his interest extends to other aspects of the sport, such as its history, governance, equipment, and the business of professional golf. More recently, in 2017, Paul’s fascination with the great Ben Hogan resulted in a new publication, Ben Hogan: The Yardstick of Golfing Greatness.