Born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, William Park Bell studied agriculture at Duffs Business Institute, in Pittsburgh, before moving to California at the age of 25. There he held positions at several golf courses, including that of caddy at the Annandale Golf Course, in Pasadena, and course superintendent at the Pasadena Golf Club. Bell went on to serve as the construction foreman for golf course architect Wille Watson, assisting in the improvement of the Hacienda Golf Club and the San Diego Country Club before opening his own golf-course design office in 1920. The practice’s early years were marked by collaborations with famed designer George Thomas, Jr., that produced the Bel-Air, Riviera, and Los Angeles Country Clubs. During the 1930s, Bell built a reputation across the West for creating challenging courses characterized by rolling green turfs, drainage paths, and rustic bunkers. Some of his notable projects include the La Jolla Country Club, Balboa Park Golf Club, and the Presidio Hills Golf Course. In the 1940s, Bell partnered with golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast to redesign the golf course at the Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, California, and to assist with the design of the San Francisco Golf Club. During World War II, Bell assisted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in designing golf courses for wounded servicemen, partnering with his son, golf course architect William Francis Bell, in the office of William P. Bell and Son, following the war. Father and son collaborated on several well-known courses, including the Kern River Golf Course in Bakersfield, California, and Newport Beach Country Club in Newport Beach, California. The senior Bell died at the age of 67, leaving behind his vision for the design of San Diego’s Torrey Pines Golf Course, which was realized by his son in the late 1950s. He is buried in the Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum in Altadena, California.