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Best Dr Alister Mackenzie golf courses

With over 50 course designs under his belt this once trained doctor come golfing architect truly deserves his place in the World Golf Hall of Fame. We take a look at just a few of his creations.

James Bicker
James Bicker
6 mins read
Golf architectsLinksHeathlandUK & IrelandIrelandEngland

Despite originally being trained as a surgeon, Dr. Alister MacKenzie finds himself in the World Golf Hall of Fame for his contributions to golf course architecture as he designed more than 50 golf courses, including world-famous designs such as Augusta National, Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne.

His designs are found all around the world, with the famous MacKenzie tiered greens featuring heavily in his designs. Take a look at ten of our favourite Dr. Alister MacKenzie golf courses that you should definitely consider for your next golf break.

Alwoodley Golf Club (1907)

Dr. Alister MacKenzie’s layout at Alwoodley Golf Club was the one that really established his reputation as a golf course architect. The layout of rare subtlety and sophistication is a natural heathland experience, with eye-catching bunkers and large undulating greens adding to the overall challenge. It comes as no surprise that this highly sought after out-and-back layout has been the venue for many R&A, England Golf and Yorkshire Union events on a regular basis.

Alwoodley golf course

Burnham & Berrow Golf Club (1913 Co-redesign with Harry Colt)

It was Harry Colt who invited MacKenzie to give his views on the redesign of Burnham & Berrow, with the new 9th and 10th holes heavily influenced by himself. The course gained its reputation after this redesign, which it still holds today. In fact, nowadays there is the impressive 18-hole Championship Course and the shorter nine-hole Channel Course – one of the hidden jewels of the South West.

Burnham & Berrow golf course

Moortown Golf Club (1909)

Moortown Golf Club is well-known around the world as the host of the very first Ryder Cup on British soil, in 1929, and truly is a Dr. Alister MacKenzie masterpiece. The heathland course features strategic bunkering, typical of those found on a seaside links, and large undulating greens. It is no surprise this course has hosted many prestigious events over the years, with greats such as Sir Nick Faldo and Bernard Gallagher victorious here.

Burnham & Berrow golf course

Cork Golf Club (1925 redesign)

Located at Little Island, close to the city, Cork Golf Club is a championship course routed through exceptional golfing terrain. By incorporating old limestone quarries and the inner reaches of Cork Harbour, this course becomes a challenge for even the best golfers. In 1925, MacKenzie was entrusted to redesign the course and in doing so created three new holes, incorporated his signature greens and introduced sand-filled bunkers.

Cork golf course

Sand Moor Golf Club (1926)

Just five miles north of Leeds City Centre you will find MacKenzie’s design at Sand Moor Golf Club. Offering stunning views over the Eccup reservoir, the course is better known for its quartet of challenging par-3 holes of varying length and style. This really is a must-play course for those looking for a golf break in the exciting city of Leeds.

Sand Moor golf course

Littlestone Golf Club (1920s redesign)

Dr. Alister MacKenzie was involved in the modernisation of Littlestone in the 1920s, helping it become a Top-100 golf course in England. Now boasting two unique courses in The Championship Links and The Warren, Littlestone is a highly sought after golf club in the south-east corner of Kent. Its unique micro-climate makes it one of the driest places in Britain and therefore offering an enjoyable test throughout winter.

Littlestone golf course

Pannal Golf Club (1912 redesign)

In 1912, MacKenzie was engaged to improve the course at Pannal Golf Club, which has stood the test of time being the only course in Harrogate and North Yorkshire to be recognised by the R&A as an Open Qualifying venue. The tree-lined heathland layout, measuring 6,614-yards from the tips, offers beautiful views of the Almscliffe Crag, Crimple Valley and the rolling plains of York, which only enhance your experience.

Pannal golf course

Weston-super-Mare Golf Club (1892)

Weston-super-Mare Golf Club is renowned for its greens that give a true roll all-year-round and is regarded as one of the best golf courses in the South West. MacKenzie’s links layout requires accurate shot-making in order to score well while taking in the views of the Bristol Channel towards Wales.

Weston Super Mare golf course

Willingdon Golf Club (1898)

Regarded as one of the friendliest golf clubs in the South East of England, MacKenzie’s stunning downland course is a must-visit in East Sussex. Its unique location, resting in a bowl at the foot of the South Downs, means it is protected from the harshest of weathers and tends to be open throughout the year. The par-3 5th hole (pictured above) will stand out among all who play here, as it has railway sleepers encircling the green.

Willingdon golf course

Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society (1922 redesign)

Golf has been played at the Bruntsfield Links Golf Society since 1761, making it the fourth oldest in the world and one of Scotland’s most prestigious clubs. MacKenzie was involved in a reconstruction in 1922, and helped make the course what it is today. Just three miles from Edinburgh city centre, this historic golf club is a must-play for those on a golf break in Edinburgh.

Bruntsfield links

Feeling inspired?
Dr Alister Mackenzie truly deserves his title as a leading golf architect, with over 50 spectacular course designs under his belt.


James Bicker avatar
James Bicker

Senior European Travel Consultant

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