Alister MacKenzie



Born: Aug 30, 1870 (Yorkshire, England) - Died: Jan 6, 1934

Alister MacKenzie is considered one of golf's finest architects. His course designs span four continents. His interest in course design began, oddly enough, during the Boer War. Working as a surgeon with the Somerset Regiment in South Africa, he became interested in camouflage, which the Boers had used effectively.

He then worked as a camoufluer in World War I and said in a lecture, "The brilliant successes of the Boers were due to great extent to their making the best use of natural cover and the construction of artificial cover indistinguishable from nature."

Sound a little like golf course design?

After the war, MacKenzie -- who belonged to several golf clubs near Leeds in England -- began to take an interest in golf course design. In March 1924 he produced a map of St. Andrews which is still well known and highly regarded.

But his most decorated work came after he moved to the United States in the late 1920s. You might have heard of a few courses he designed: Augusta National (in conjunction with Bobby Jones), Cypress Point, and Royal Melbourne in Australia. MacKenzie called Augusta National the "World's Wonder Inland Golf Course," but he didn't live long enough to see the first Masters in 1934. He died a few months before the tournament.

MacKenzie's designs were brilliant in both their simplicity and difficulty. He liked wide fairways with little rough but put a premium on placement shots. His greens were fast and large with big slopes and his bunkers treacherous. He also wanted players to use their imagination on shots; a philosophy he embraced when he saw an American player -- Walter Hagen, as it turned out -- chip onto the 17th green on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

It's not a coincidence that one of the sport's greatest shot-makers -- Seve Ballesteros -- is the only player to win championships at Augusta National, Royal Melbourne and St. Andrews.


Average Overall Rating

4.4 stars from 5

based on 1118 reviews.

4-5 stars:
63.6%
3-4 stars:
5.6%
2-3 stars:
1.9%
1-2 stars:
0.9%
n/a:
28.0%
Avg. Course Layout: 4.4 stars from 5
Avg. Off-Course Amenities: 4.2 stars from 5
Avg. Value for the Money: 4.4 stars from 5
Avg. Pace of Play: 4.4 stars from 5
Avg. Staff Friendliness: 4.6 stars from 5
Avg. Course Conditions: 4.3 stars from 5

Alister MacKenzie-designed golf courses map


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