C. B. Macdonald

Full Name
Charles Blair Macdonald
Year of Birth
1855
Year of Death
1939 aged 83
Place Born
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Place Died
Southampton, New York, USA

World Golf Hall of Fame – Class of 2007: “The object of a bunker or trap is not only to punish a physical mistake, to punish lack of control, but also to punish pride and egotism.”

In 1872, aged sixteen, Charles Blair Macdonald sailed from Chicago across the Atlantic on a paddle steamer to live with his grandfather in St Andrews to study at the Auld Grey Toon’s University. He quickly became adept at the game of golf and within a year he played in matches with Old Tom Morris and his son Young Tom. His fond reminiscences are chronicled in his book, Scotland’s Gift – Golf.

He returned to Chicago in 1874 to find his homeland in financial crisis. The enduring effect of the depression curtailed Macdonald’s golfing ambitions until 1892 when a friend (son-in-law of Senator Farwell) asked him to build a rudimentary 7-hole course in the grounds of his father-in-law’s Lake Forest estate. Golf in the Chicago area was finally inaugurated, but Macdonald quickly tired of the short course and upped sticks to Belmont, where 18 holes were in play by the summer of 1893.

Today, there’s a 9-hole layout left on this site, belonging to Downer’s Grove Golf Club, and five of the original holes remain in play. One of these, the par three 8th, is a loose interpretation of the Redan at North Berwick so this is probably one of the very first instances of Macdonald transplanting a famous aspect of Scottish golf course architecture to America.

In 1894, Theodore Havemeyer and the members of the Newport club proposed that a new national championship be held on Rhode Island. “C. B. Macdonald was ecstatic,” wrote George Bahto in The Evangelist of Golf… “The opportunity to display his golfing prowess before his peers and winning America’s first championship appealed to his enormous ego.” Macdonald lost by a single stroke to W. G. Lawrence, then: “A...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by C. B. Macdonald

Mid Ocean Club

1st Bermuda Ranking 2nd Caribbean Ranking

The “Father of Golf Architecture”, Charles Blair Macdonald and his associate, Seth Raynor, originally laid out the Mid Ocean Club course and it opened for play in 1924 adjacent to the Atlantic.

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North Shore Country Club - NY

39th New York - Best in Area

The North Shore Country Club course is a C. B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor redesign of Devereux Emmet’s 1912 Glenwood Country Club layout. Tom Doak has since revised the course for its new owner.

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Piping Rock

13th New York - Best in Area 52nd USA Ranking 60th North America Ranking

Charles Blair Macdonald designed Piping Rock in 1911 and right from the off, he was up against fierce competition because polo was the sport of the day here at Locust Valley on Long Island.

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Shinnecock Hills

1st New York - Best in Area 3rd USA Ranking 3rd North America Ranking 3rd World Ranking

Not only was Shinnecock Hills Golf Club one of the five founding members of the USGA but also it was where one of the first specifically designed golf clubhouses was built.

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Sleepy Hollow (Upper)

17th New York - Best in Area 92nd USA Ranking

Designed by C. B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor, the legendary golf course at Sleepy Hollow Country Club sits high above the Hudson River on a 338-acre site formerly owned by William Rockefeller and Frank Vanderlip…

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St Louis

1st Missouri - Best in Area

Opened in 1914, the course at Saint Louis Country Club sits on a tight parcel of land in the suburb of Ladue, ten miles west of St Louis city centre...

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The Creek

16th New York - Best in Area 88th USA Ranking

The “Father of Golf Architecture” and the “Engineer” designed the course at The Creek so it’s not surprising that this formidable duo conspired to create a classical masterpiece.

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C. B. Macdonald Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Paul Rudovsky Courses Played 11
= Joseph Andriole Courses Played 11
= James Gold Courses Played 11
4 Fergal O'Leary Courses Played 10
5 Cory Lewis Courses Played 9
= Bob McCoy Courses Played 9
= Paul Jones Courses Played 9
= Joshua Asher Courses Played 9
= Marc Bender Courses Played 9
= David Harak Courses Played 9