A unique man of diverse talents (Student, Soldier, Physician and Golf Architect), Dr Alister MacKenzie believed golf was the best medicine for many of his patients. His interest in it escalated to a consuming passion and he devised some of the world’s most interesting courses.
MacKenzie courses are revered by golfers the world over and include:
Nicknamed “the Course Doctor,” Alister MacKenzie was born in 1870 to Scottish parents in Yorkshire and christened Alexander. He died in 1934 in California after a fascinating life, leaving behind a blueprint for future intriguing golf course designs and a legacy of classic golf courses.
A graduate of Cambridge and Leeds University with degrees in chemistry, medicine and natural science, MacKenzie joined his father’s medical practice but was then called away to serve in the Boer War. Ironically it was the camouflage techniques of the Boers that first nurtured his design ideas for golf courses.
MacKenzie took up medicine again after the war but then abandoned his medical practice in favour of golf course architecture. His decision to do this was in part down to his conviction that golf had very real benefits for patients.
“How frequently have I, with great difficulty, persuaded patients who were never off my doorstep to take up golf, and how rarely, if ever, have I seen them in my consulting rooms again!”
We still have great respect for his fundamental design principle that,
“The chief object of every golf architect or greenkeeper worth his salt is to imitate the beauties of nature so closely as to make his work indistinguishable from nature itself.”
Dr Alister MacKenzie