Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Original Intent at Augusta of MacKenzie and Jones

As the Masters golf tournament plays across television screens the world over the next two days for the tournament's final rounds, it's good to remember that the once great golf course is a mere thin shadow of its original self. No matter how many times the CBS golf announcers tout the greatness of Augusta National Country Club - led of course by the ultimate sycophant, Jim Nantz - maintaining that it adheres to the original intent of architects Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones, they are telling lies. If Augusta was once the Mona Lisa, then a series of overzealous club chairmen and ill advised architects from Jack Nicklaus to Tom Fazio have sullied the once stunning lady.

Here is a March 1932 article from the American Golfer magazine in which MacKenzie details the intent of the design and gives descriptions of all 18 holes. The nines have been flipped since the course opened so no. 1 is now no. 10 and no. 18 was the original 9th.

Throughout the magazine piece MacKenzie informs readers as to what were the inspirations for the holes at AGNC.

For instance the 4th (originally the 13th) was patterned after the Eden Hole (no.11) of the Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland.

The original 4th (current 13th) took its design characteristics from the 17th at Cypress Point, a MacKenzie design, which, as MacKenzie points out in the piece, was considered an ideal hole by Charles Blair Macdonald in his book, Scotland's Gift - Golf.

The 16th (original 7th) was changed markedly by Robert Trent Jones. The hole Bobby Jones and MacKenzie built "is somewhat similar to the best hole (seventh) at Stoke Poges, England."

Never having walked the layout, I feel I've missed an opportunity to view one of the greatest courses every built. Now, the original design, an attempt to create the ideal "inland course," is gone and gone forever.

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