Alister MacKenzie golf courses in the Bay Area include Sharp Park (Pacifica), Claremont Country Club (Oakland), Green Hills Country Club (Millbrae), Northwood Golf Course (Monte Rio), and Meadow Club (Fairfax). He is best known for Augusta National (Georgia) and Cypress (Monterey), which at one time was ranked #4 in the U.S. Sports Illustrated called him “golf’s greatest architect.”
Although born near Yorkshire, England, his strong identification with his Scottish roots featured prominently in many aspects of his later life. In 1897 he graduated from Cambridge University with a Bachelor of Surgery. He served as a doctor during the Boer War in South Africa where he became fascinated with the camouflage techniques of the enemy. As a result, he surrendered his medical practice during World War I and became a camoufleur, making the best use of natural cover.
Alister MacKenzie’s experience during W.W.I influenced his golf course creations, which became noted for their sensitivity to the immediate surroundings. His greens undulate with the given terrain, sloping from front to rear, which allowed golfers to play a links-like punch-shot on approach. The greens are also often angled from the center of the fairway for a more “natural” look with fairly large and free-form bunkers. Alister MacKenzie passed away in January of 1934 and is buried near Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz, which he also designed and lived on for a while.