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Significant Scots
Dr Alister MacKenzie


Dr. Alister MacKenzie (August 30, 1870 – January 6, 1934) was a British golf course architect whose course designs, on four different continents, are consistently ranked among the finest golf courses in the world. Originally trained as a surgeon, MacKenzie served as a civilian doctor with the British army during the Boer War where he first became aware of the principles of camouflage. During World War I, MacKenzie made his own significant contributions to military camouflage, which he saw as closely related to golf course design. He is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

MacKenzie was born in Normanton, near Leeds in Yorkshire, England to parents of Scottish extraction. His mother Mary Jane Smith MacKenzie had family roots in Glasgow. His father, William Scobie MacKenzie, a medical doctor, had been born and raised in the Scottish Highlands near Lochinvar. Although christened after his paternal grandfather Alexander, he was called "Alister" (Gaelic for Alexander) from birth. As a youth, MacKenzie and his family spent summers near Lochnivar, on what had been traditional Clan MacKenzie lands from 1670-1745. MacKenzie's strong identification with his Scottish roots featured prominently in many aspects of his later life.

In the late 1920s he relocated to the United States, where he carried out some of his most notable work, although he continued to design courses outside that country as well. Today, he is remembered as the designer of some of the world’s finest courses, among them Century Country Club (Purchase, New York), as MacKenzie was partners with Colt & Alison at the time the two built Century, from mid-1923 he was working with other partners when he designed Augusta National Golf Club (Augusta, Georgia), Cypress Point Club (Monterey Peninsula, California), Royal Melbourne Golf Club (Melbourne, Australia), Pasatiempo Golf Club (Santa Cruz, California), Crystal Downs Country Club (Frankfort, Michigan), Lahinch Golf Course (Lahinch, Ireland), and Meadow Club (Fairfax, California)

He died in Santa Cruz, California in January 1934, just two months before the inaugural Masters Tournament (then known as the Augusta National Invitational Tournament). Discovered after his death was an unpublished manuscript on golf and golf course design, which was posthumously published as The Spirit of St. Andrews (MacKenzie 1995).

See The Alister MacKenzie Society Of Great Britain and Ireland
Also Golf Course Architecture

You can also read his book...

Golf Architecture
Economy in Course Construction and Green-Keeping by Dr A. MacKenzie (1920) (pdf)


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