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Hole #2: In the Style of Charles Blair Macdonald (1857-1939)


Considered the father of American golf course architecture, C.B. Macdonald grew up in Chicago but attended school at St. Andrews, Scotland, where he learned golf under Old Tom Morris. Returning to America to work as a stockbroker, Macdonald laid out America’s first 18-hole golf course, Chicago Golf Club, in 1895. A decade later, after studying famous British courses, he created the National Golf Links of America on Long Island, New York. It consisted of engineered versions of the most notable holes and bunkers of Great Britain. While he coined the term, “golf architect,” early in the 20th century, Macdonald never accepted a design fee for his work. Golf architecture was his passion. He only worked on about two dozen designs in his life, nearly all of them in the pattern of adopting entire British holes or their boldest features. He also wrote extensively on the subject and developed the talents of two faithful assistants, Seth Raynor and Charles Banks. His last works were Yale University Golf Club in Connecticut and Mid-Ocean in Bermuda.

Macdonald was the first to truly construct greens from raw land. In rocky areas where he couldn’t did down to build his typical six-foot-deep bunkers, he used steam shovels to pile up earth into a huge green pad. Our par-3 second was built in that fashion, but with bulldozers, not steam shovels. The bunkers bracketing the pedestal green are typical of his narrow “strip” bunkers. The green has plenty of levels and subtle contours. “To play over a flat surface without undulation,” Macdonald wrote, “leaves nothing to the ingenuity of the player.”