Course designer Arthur Vernon Macan – an Irish immigrant to Canada in 1912 at the age of thirty – fundamentally changed the nature of golf architecture in the Pacific Northwest region during a career spanning over half a century. As Macan himself said, “I have worked for every private and semi private course in the north west except for Portland Golf Club.”
Starting with Colwood (now Royal Colwood) in 1913, Macan was responsible for laying out many fine courses in Washington, Oregon, California, and British Columbia. During the 1920s, for instance, he created Manito, Inglewood, Fircrest, Glenacres and Broadmoor in Washington, Colwood National, Illahe Hills, Alderwood and Columbia-Edgwater in Oregon, Langara, Gorge Vale and Marine Drive in British Columbia.
The Marine Drive site had been developed as a dairy farm forty years before the golf club was formed in 1922 and Macan’s design skills were tested to the full as he squeezed eighteen holes into a rather constricted 105-acre parcel of land with original farm buildings used as a clubhouse and locker rooms.
Macan’s overall design philosophy was to create minimally bunkered fairways that led to steeply sloped, boldly contoured greens which would challenge all manner of approach and recovery shots. Marine Drive certainly follows that plan.
Measuring a modest 6,361 yards from the back markers, Marine Drive is not overly long but what it lacks in distance off the tee it makes up for in strategic design with tight, tree-lined fairways, greens that demonstrate not-so-subtle borrows and bunkers positioned in just the right places.