Alister MacKenzie

Full Name
Alexander MacKenzie
Website:
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Year of Birth
1870
Year of Death
1934 aged 64
Place Born
Normanton, Yorkshire, England
Place Died
Pasatiempo, California, United States

World Golf Hall of Fame – Class of 2005. “A good golf course grows on one like a good painting, good music, or any other artistic creation. It is not necessarily a course which appeals the first time one plays over it, but one that grows on the player the more frequently he visits it.” From The Spirit of St Andrews.

Educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield before commencing medical studies at Caius College, Cambridge in 1888, Alister MacKenzie graduated from university with a couple of degrees in 1897, by which time he was already working in his father’s general medical practice.

MacKenzie was born and bred in Yorkshire but both his parents were Scottish and the family holidayed every year in remote Lochinver, close to where his father was raised in the traditional Clan MacKenzie lands of Sutherland, so it’s true to say he was more than aware of his Scottish roots.

He served with the Somerset Regiment in South Africa during the Boer War, sailing to South Africa in 1900 and returning home 12 months later. His experience of dealing with concealed entrenchments in warfare made a big impression on him and he’d go on to use elements of camouflage in his course designs in later years.

A founding member of Alwoodley in 1907, Mackenzie also set out the new club’s course, which was his first attempt at golf design. Harry Colt was called in to appraise the layout and his seal of approval meant other commissions soon followed from clubs in the local Yorkshire area and further afield.

The architect’s putting surfaces were often angled away from the centre line of approach, meaning a drive to a certain point on the fairway would result in an easy shot to the green, with imprecise tee shots requiring a more difficult shot over trouble of some description.

“To complement these undulating and angled greens, MacKenzie created large flowing bunkers – often flanking the fairway – that were highly visible to the golfer,” wrote Henry Lord and Peter Pugh in Masters of D...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by Alister MacKenzie

Alwoodley

2nd Yorkshire - Best in Area 14th England Ranking 37th Britain & Ireland Ranking

The Alwoodley Golf Club is home to one of the finest and most subtle inland courses in the British Isles, located in a secluded spot.

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Augusta National

1st Georgia - Best in Area 8th USA Ranking 8th North America Ranking 13th World Ranking

Augusta National Golf Club is one of the most exclusive clubs in the world and was designed by the world’s greatest golfer, who teamed up with the world’s greatest architect.

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Bingley St Ives

10th Yorkshire - Best in Area

The fairways at Bingley St Ives Golf Club weave through distinct areas of parkland, woodland and moorland as the round progresses from the first tee to the final green.

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Bolton Old Links

17th Lancashire - Best in Area

Bolton Old Links Golf Club is laid out in two loops of returning nines with the inward half routed around the outside of holes 1 to 9...

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Bonnyton

6th Renfrewshire - Best in Area

The course at Bonnyton Golf Club – a lesser-known design of Alister MacKenzie – opened in 1922 with heather-fringed fairways laid out on Ballagioch Hill, high above the conservation village of Eaglesham.

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Bramall Park

19th Cheshire - Best in Area

Alister MacKenzie was responsible for laying out the course at Bramhall Park Golf Club and these 18 holes opened for play in 1922. Apart from when a couple of holes were reconfigured in 1967, the course largely remains true to its original design.