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backwards to the tee, however, that apparent roiling tide of sand has now subsided into a smooth fl ow of turf, with not a bunker to be seen. The classic golf course artists


(right) Architect Alister MacKenzie hits into his classic 16th green at Pasatiempo.


(below) The 4th hole— Redan—at the National Golf Links of America.


had vision and were not afraid to express it. Small wonder that their work has collectively been known to comprise a Golden Age of Architecture. In some cases, that work was fueled by a liquid diet that emboldened them. Charles Blair Macdonald (1856-1939) was perhaps the most volatile and the most egomaniacal of the Golden Age architects; a tour of his most famous design, National Golf Links of America (1911) on Long Island’s South Fork, reveals a personality willing to indulge in whimsy, outrage and the ab-


surd—all in pursuit of his design vision. To be sure, at National Macdonald


was showing off. He intended the club to be a showcase for his versions of the best British golf holes he had been scouting. And he quickly found that serious golfers and students of design were trekking to his course to learn the newfound craft of golf course architec- ture (a term Macdonald coined). At the second hole, a 330-yard par 4 (“Sahara”), he encouraged a bold tee shot over a sandy hill to a blind, punch- bowl green. At the sixth hole, a 141- yard par 3 (“Short”), the green features a thumbprint up front, a buried elephant mound in the middle, two expansive fl anking wings and a fall-away back slope that tumbles the ball into a steep rear bunker. And at the 393-yard, par-4 14th hole (“Cape”), he dared players to take a bold line across the inside of a dogleg, bringing into play a marsh pond that, if carried, opened up an easy approach to the green. But for all the exaggerated verti-


cal edges and abruptness of shape in evidence at National, Macdonald could also be elegant and subtle. The best example comes at the par-3 fourth hole (“Redan”), 195 yards. This was his version of the famous original Redan, the 15th hole at North Berwick Golf Links-West Course in Scotland. That hole was blind from the tee and Gothic in its proportions; the National version is gentler and more revealing from the


SUMMER 2012 / NCGA.ORG / 47


JULIAN P. GRAHAM/LOON HILL STUDIOS


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