Alister MacKenzie Approach and Putt Course

When Bobby Jones contracted Alister MacKenzie to design and build the course at Augusta National he had in mind two courses not one. The land proved insufficient for two full length courses so Jones suggested a short Approach and Putt Course instead for the second layout.

As Josh Pettit revealed in a Golf World article on April 7, 2014, the plans for this unique layout were found recently in the archives of the Fredrick Law Olmsted landscape architecture firm from Brookline, Massachussetts. This was the only copy of the original plans for the Augusta National Approach and Putt Course MacKenzie designed in 1932. The course was never built because of the dire economic times of the 1930’s.

Proposed Augusta National Approach and Putt Course (courtesy of National Park Service)

Proposed Augusta National Approach and Putt Course (courtesy of National Park Service)

What makes this concept so unique is that this was to be done with nine double greens to serve the 18 holes. This same idea had been proffered by MacKenzie for a proposed private course in Argentina in 1930 called El Boqueuron “The Lost Mackenzie”. While in his creative prime,  the beginning of The Great Depression sent MacKenzie global in search of new work. In spite of economic hard times in Argentina the very wealthy elite asked him to design two courses at The Jockey Club in Buenos Aires. While he was there he met with a wealthy land baron and proposed an 18-hole course on his private estate with nine double greens.

The Approach and Putt Course greens were to be from 7,500 to almost 15,000 square feet and set on opposing angles to two different tee approaches. No bunkers on the course, just a meandering brook that cuts across six holes on the course. Jones wanted a friendly practice facility that was “intended for enjoyment rather than frustration”. These were to be sprawling MacKenzie green complexes that would provide many memorable moments for those enjoying a short afternoon stroll with a few clubs.
Take ten minutes and read this marvelous article on the Jones/MacKenzie collaboration at Augusta which focuses on the concept and design of this Approach and Putt Course as it appeared on the website through the link below.

It is hard to imagine how Augusta National could have been more special but this would have addedanother unique aspect to this golf treasure.

(Click to read about the proposed Augusta National Approach and Putt Course)

Robert Hunter

March, 2014

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