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Thomas Dai

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After 50 yrs of playing golf on a local common, The Worcestershire GC in Malvern, UK, purchased a farm a mile or so away and Dr Alister MacKenzie beat former local boyhood resident Harry Colt for the job of building the new course, which opened in May 1927.

MacKenzie duly produced an 18-hole routing but regrettably, during WWII, 9 of his holes were taken over by the MoD to build a hospital for anticipated D-Day and later general continental invasion casualties.

This meant that after WWII the club played over only 9 MacKenzie holes for several decades.

Although the ex-hospital land was recovered by the club in the early 1970's it remained covered in buildings and roadways and some domestic housing had also arrived. As such a return to the original MacKenzie 18-holes was impossible so Hawtree was called in and linked in a series of new holes that allowed the club to once again play over an 18-hole course.

To find out more about the history see - http://www.theworcestershiregolfclub.co.uk/page.aspx?pid=5606

However, one MacKenzie hole, or rather green, the original 16th, which is located about 400 yds from the clubhouse but well away from the others 'lost' by the building of the WWII hospital, was not effected and still exists, although somewhat overgrown, basically unused since 1939, ie 78 years. It's probably just like it was when the MacKenzie course was first opened in 1927, ie 90 yrs ago.....no sand splash, no changes by committee's, just as it was built.

Here is a montage of photos of the green in question, small and raised and angled and evil/wonderful looking, which some at the club would like to bring back to life in some capacity.



And here is the exact location of the green on a samap - hopefully this link will take you directly to the greens location, in an angle of the treeline, although the satmap data will most likely be a couple of years old - https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.0848804,-2.3285109,121m/data=!3m1!1e3 - scroll out to find the clubs general location.

The MacKenzie Society recently visited the club and were fulsome in their praise for the courses overall conditioning complementing in particular the outstanding putting surfaces.

Golf archeology :) 

Here's a recent drone video of the current course - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iDosxMkz34 - well worth a look.

Send me a gca-pm if you fancy a look at the hole or generally wish to know more.

atb

PS - The Worcestershire GC in Malvern should not be confused with Worcester Golf & Country Club, also a MacKenzie course from the late 1920's (and itself well worth a visit). The two clubs are actually situated about 10 miles apart.





« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 11:55:34 AM by Thomas Dai »

Thomas Dai

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Re: Alister MacKenzie in Malvern, UK - golf archeology New
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2017, 06:04:53 AM »
Following a request, here are some photos of the original MacKenzie course and of the previous course on Malvern Common -









The 1927 course routing as per the clubs Centenary Book -

atb

« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 02:17:45 PM by Thomas Dai »

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Alister MacKenzie in Malvern, UK - golf archeology
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 06:09:08 AM »
The old course on Malvern Common (founded 1879) was where Harry Colt learned his golf.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

BCrosby

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Re: Alister MacKenzie in Malvern, UK - golf archeology
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2017, 11:41:30 AM »
Charles Darwin visited Malvern regularly for "water treatments". His daughter Annie was buried there, a loss Darwin mourned for his entire life.


Curious if there is any reason to think Charles' sons or his grandson Bernard might have played golf there.


Bob

Thomas Dai

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Re: Alister MacKenzie in Malvern, UK - golf archeology
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2017, 03:25:24 PM »
Bob,
Not aware of any Darwin links. Like you, be interested to know if there are any.
As an aside, the original course on the common has a 'review' section in Horace Hutchinson's "Famous Golf Links" but is not mentioned in Hutchinson's "British Golf Links" published just a few years later. Another golf linkage is that Hugh Alison went to school at Malvern College. The relationship between the College and WGC was very close back in those days so it would be difficult to imagine Alison not playing on the course on the Common.
atb

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Alister MacKenzie in Malvern, UK - golf archeology
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2017, 03:33:19 PM »
No evidence of Hugh Alison playing golf while at Malvern. he might have done, but we can't prove it. Yet.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Ben Stephens

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Re: Alister MacKenzie in Malvern, UK - golf archeology
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2017, 08:59:18 AM »
Google Earth has 1945 version of this course and it seems to be reduced to 9 holes possibly for the war effort

Thomas Dai

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Re: Alister MacKenzie in Malvern, UK - golf archeology
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2017, 10:13:17 AM »
Google Earth has 1945 version of this course and it seems to be reduced to 9 holes possibly for the war effort
Correct Ben - as mentioned in the opening post - see - http://www.theworcestershiregolfclub.co.uk/page.aspx?pid=5606 - the building of a WWII US army hospital took away half the course and the club played from WWII until 1972 as 9-holes only. Hawtree then, mostly on other land due to by now built housing, roadways etc, added more holes to what remained of MacKenzie's original layout which brought things back to 18 once again.
atb


« Last Edit: May 31, 2017, 11:00:53 AM by Thomas Dai »

Sean_A

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Re: Alister MacKenzie in Malvern, UK - golf archeology
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 05:07:39 AM »
ATB

Where exactly is this green?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Thomas Dai

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Re: Alister MacKenzie in Malvern, UK - golf archeology New
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2017, 11:41:49 AM »
Sean,

The old green sit's in a notch in the tree-line on the hill left of the entrance drive, at about 11 o'clock in the aerials posted above. It was once on the end of a circa 440 yd uphill into the prevailing wind 'bogey-5'. Some hole I imagine when played with hickories and an old spec ball while wearing a tweed jacket and tie :)

Some more photos below - note - with the recent spell of heavy rain and warmth the grass has been growing rapidly.

No sand splash, just as it was built. And unused since 1939.






See this thread for Sean's recently edited course photo tour - http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48560.0.html

atb

Later edit - here are a GC-Atlas piece about the old MacKenzie green and the history of the club and the condensed version of the story as published in GC-Architecure Magazine issue 59, Jan 2020 -

https://golfclubatlas.com/in-my-opinion/thomas-david-sphinx-in-your-back-garden/
and ...
http://digital.tudor-rose.co.uk/golf-course-architecture/issue59/46/


Later edit - for some details of Harry Colts early years as a junior at the Club listen to some of the early minutes of this Connor Lewis - Adam Lawrence Podcast from May 2020 - https://talkingolf.fireside.fm/38

Later edit - for a podcast detailing the history of the club and its links with pros like Sayers, Paxton, Rolland, Brown plus Colt, Mackenzie, WW2, etc see episode 203 from the CookieJar - [size=78%]https://cookiejargolf.com/203-course-diaries-worcestershire-golf-club/[/size]
« Last Edit: October 02, 2023, 10:38:22 AM by Thomas Dai »

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