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Year of Birth1966 (both)
Year of Death
Place of BirthElderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland and Isleworth, Middlesex, England

Tom Mackenzie was born in the west of Scotland, the son of a mechanical engineer father and a mother who was a historian and Old Norse linguist. While still a teenager, his family moved to the Highlands and he spent a good part of his formative golfing years in Dornoch working as a greenkeeper and a caddy.

He carried Seve Ballesteros’s bag when he came to play an exhibition match at his old club and he later spent a year on the European Tour caddying for professionals like Andrew Oldcorn and Jeff Hawkes. Mackenzie studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Heriot Watt University, playing to a low single figure handicap when competing in university golf matches.

Tom graduated with a Landscape Architecture degree in 1989 and began work almost immediately with Donald Steel, which was a dream start for a young man setting out in his design career. A member of West Sussex Golf Club, he’s also a member of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects, serving as president from 2015 to 2107.

Martin Ebert enrolled at Cambridge University to study engineering, organising the university golf club’s tour to the northeast of the United States of America in 1989, the year of the 100th Varsity Match, when the squad played at the likes of Merion, Pine Valley and Shinnecock Hills. After gaining a degree in his chosen subject, Martin did a postgraduate year which meant another year of university golf, naturally.

He applied for many jobs within the golf industry and ended up interviewing for what he hoped would be a management position at Foxhills Country Club & Resort. Instead, he was offered a start as a waiter! As it turned out, he became friendly with (and later married) one of the Spanish waitresses, Ana Alonso from Santander, who had been studying law in Madrid but was then learning English in England.

She introduced Martin to Manuel Ballesteros when they were in the north of Spain on a visit but the lack of a relevant qualification in a subject such as agronomy prevented him getting a start with Amen Corner, Seve’s design firm. Instead, he returned home and spent time as a night shift shelf stacker in a local supermarket before his big breakthrough into golf happened through Andy Mackenzie, whose brother Tom had been working for a year with architect Donald Steel.

In a Golf World article by Peter Masters in June 2019, the author has this to say about Martin’s early days with Donald Steel:

It started as something of an apprenticeship but quite quickly progressed into a strong three-man team with Steel leading from the front before allowing his younger fledglings to deal with the more detailed design work. He rarely drew any maps or plans, preferring to work on site with the developers and constructors.

This was in contrast to Tom whose skilful sketches set him aside from the other two. “The quality of his drawings blew my mind,” remembers Ebert.” I couldn’t do that, but I could do engineering contour plans defining levels of the ground. Tom copied me and that’s what we use today.”

Mackenzie & Ebert was formed in 2005, after Tom and Martin had spent fifteen productive years as lead designers with Donald Steel & Company. Chris Hugget, an Engineering Design graduate who did graphic design for Donald, joined the firm in 2006 and he now looks after a variety of functions for the practice, including 2D and 3D visualisation, drafting and documentation. He’s also a qualified drone pilot.

Mike Howard, a graduate in Environmental Geography at the University of Stirling with a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Edinburgh, is the newest member of the team, arriving in 2016. He still plays in national tournaments but is involved in a wide range of activities, from historic research to on-site construction visits.

An important part of the firm’s effort involves offering advice to golf clubs. As their website states: “all clubs have different needs and problems and we relish our advisory work on established courses. It is amongst the most challenging work but is often the most rewarding.”

As at the end of 2018, it’s reckoned the company had offered guidance to nearly two hundred clubs since it had been formed. At that time, it was providing consultation services to seven of the ten clubs currently on the Open rota. This work forms only a small percentage of the company’s total output but it’s easily the most prestigious and high profile element of what they do.

Upgrade work at Royal Troon, Trump Turnberry and Royal Portrush has been carried out following the company’s tried and trusted formula of conducting historical research into the evolution and development of the courses, taking a close look at club archives, assessing past editions of newspapers and sourcing old ground and aerial photography.

Other completed projects to re-open to critical acclaim in recent times include the reworked Himalayas nine at Prince’s in Kent, Delamere Forest in Cheshire, the Championship layout at Trevose in Cornwall and the West course at Saunton in Devon.

Heathland regeneration programs have also been supported at clubs such as Liphook, New Zealand, Hindhead and Royal Wimbledon, where selected tree removal and restoration of heathland areas offers wildlife a more natural habitat in which to thrive.

On the international front, Martin and Tom worked in North America and a few other overseas locations during their time with Donald Steel but their foreign work has been fairly limited in the past few years. That may well change following the firm’s appointment to restore Hugh Alison’s world-ranked layout at Hirono in Japan and it’ll be interesting to see if similar assignments come their way following the completion of this one.


There are two Goodwood Golf Clubs located in different continents in Mackenzie & Ebert's portfolio. Goodwood Golf Club in Sussex, England (originally designed by James Braid) was a renovation project. Goodwood Golf Club in Ontario, Canada, is an original Mackenzie & Ebert design. Ironically both are private clubs.

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