Three of Australia’s best courses have been named as ‘must-play’ creations of famed architect Alister MacKenzie.
Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath and New South Wales have consistently been ranked in the World Top 100 and amongst Australia’s best courses. Now, The Golf News Net has named them in the top 10 must-play MacKenzie courses in the world.
MacKenzie’s designs are renowned the world over and have created the most iconic courses know to golf. From Cypress Point to Augusta National, home to the US Masters Tournament, they continue to enchant golfers almost 100 years after their design.
While a keen golfer all his life, MacKenzie actually trained as a surgeon at Cambridge. During the Boer War he specialised in camouflage, an understanding of surrounding environments that would later lend themselves to his eye for course design.
His first opportunity to design a course from scratch came in 1907 a founding member of The Alwoodley Golf Club. It was also the first time he attempted to realise his design theories of; long and narrow greens angles from the centre of the fairway; the use of the natural contours of landscape for addition undulations and large and free-form sand bunkers.
Some of his fellow members considered the ideas radical and so, called upon a second opinion. Harry Colt was the most revered golf architect of the day, who had designed or redesigned courses such as Sunningdale, Muirfield and Toronto Golf Club.
Colt not only praised MacKenzie’s new design techniques, but saw them as an extension of his own work. MacKenzie The two men later went onto partner with Charles Alison, another famed architect, to form Colt, MacKenzie and Alison.
After World War I MacKenzie gave up medicine and became a full time golf architect. In his new career he travelled the world, including to Australia and New Zealand. During his short visit Down Under he provided designs for Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath and New South Wales, as well as for Royal Adelaide.
In his short 25 year career as a course architect, MacKenzie managed to leave a lasting legacy on the golfing world. Nearly 100 years after his death in 1934 he is still the most celebrated architect of his day and his designs have become a part of the fabric of golf course designs.
With so many of MacKenzie’s best work to choose from, it is little wonder that Australia is fast becoming a favoured golfing destination.