News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Rich Milligan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« on: May 21, 2023, 07:28:51 PM »

Does anyone have access to Dr. Alister MacKenzie's original sketches or plans for Royal Melbourne (West), or Kingston Heath? I noticed that there are have been some substantial changes to the bunkering and some of the greens to both courses, by comparing aerial photographs from 1945 and 2012. I have seen several of Dr. MacKenzie's sketches from Pasatiempo, Crystal Downs, Augusta National, Titirangi, and Sacramento. However, I have not been able to find anything from Royal Melbourne or Kingston Heath. I am particularly interested in the changes to the bunkers, resulting in the modern version of the "Sandbelt" bunker. Ben Crenshaw mentioned that Royal Melbourne had MacKenzie's paperwork at one time. But, I wonder how much freedom to deviate Morcom and Russell had when constructing the course.


Please see the examples from Kingston Heath and Royal Melbourne. (1945 vs 2012)


http://golfcoursehistories.com/KH.html

http://golfcoursehistories.com/RMGC.html
« Last Edit: May 21, 2023, 07:48:03 PM by Rich Milligan »

Jim Hoak

  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2023, 07:37:05 PM »
Someone more knowledgeable than I can correct me, but I think MacKenzie's work at Kingston Heath was only bunkering.  I do not believe he routed or otherwise designed the course.
And, of course, the second 18 at Royal Melbourne was done by his associate, Alex Russell--although MacKenzie presumably gave him input before he left--and may have provided some sketches for that second 18.

Rich Milligan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2023, 07:39:10 PM »
Someone more knowledgeable than I can correct me, but I think MacKenzie's work at Kingston Heath was only bunkering.  I do not believe he routed or otherwise designed the course.
And, of course, the second 18 at Royal Melbourne was done by his associate, Alex Russell--although MacKenzie presumably gave him input before he left--and may have provided some sketches for that second 18.


Yes, I believe that is correct. The only original hole MacKenzie did at KH was the 15th (Gibraltar) hole.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2023, 07:46:43 PM by Rich Milligan »

Matthew Mollica

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2023, 12:05:11 AM »
I'm at Royal Melbourne on the coming weekend and will take a picture or two of the MacKenzie drawn map that the club displays. I can also highly recommend Dr John Green's book on the history and evolution of Royal Melbourne's courses. It is a wonderful text. Lots of MacKenzie drawn images in there.


Mr Hoak is correct in that MacKenzie's work at Kingston Heath was a bunker scheme - Dan Soutar had already laid out the course several years prior to 1926. Alister made one notable change to Kingston Heath however - he shortened the 15th to make it an uphill par 3, rather than a blind drive and pitch par 4 hole. Alas, I'm not sure anyone (Club or other) has anything MacKenzie drew regarding Kingston Heath - there's one widely circulated image of the new bunkering plan - yet it seems this was drawn by a golf journalist who covered MacKenzie's trip.
"The truth about golf courses has a slightly different expression for every golfer. Which of them, one might ask, is without the most definitive convictions concerning the merits or deficiencies of the links he plays over? Freedom of criticism is one of the last privileges he is likely to forgo."

David_Elvins

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2023, 03:28:50 AM »
Please see the examples from Kingston Heath and Royal Melbourne. (1945 vs 2012)
Rich,  I could be wrong but it looks to me that the 1945 Royal Melbourne photo features ww2 neglect/recovery rather than Mackenzieís or Morcomís bunkering.
Ask not what GolfClubAtlas can do for you; ask what you can do for GolfClubAtlas.

Rich Milligan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2023, 05:28:14 PM »
I'm at Royal Melbourne on the coming weekend and will take a picture or two of the MacKenzie drawn map that the club displays. I can also highly recommend Dr John Green's book on the history and evolution of Royal Melbourne's courses. It is a wonderful text. Lots of MacKenzie drawn images in there.


Mr Hoak is correct in that MacKenzie's work at Kingston Heath was a bunker scheme - Dan Soutar had already laid out the course several years prior to 1926. Alister made one notable change to Kingston Heath however - he shortened the 15th to make it an uphill par 3, rather than a blind drive and pitch par 4 hole. Alas, I'm not sure anyone (Club or other) has anything MacKenzie drew regarding Kingston Heath - there's one widely circulated image of the new bunkering plan - yet it seems this was drawn by a golf journalist who covered MacKenzie's trip.


Thank you for offering to take a picture of the RM map, and the book recommendation! I just found a post on here from several years ago with the KH map that you mentioned.

Rich Milligan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2023, 05:40:25 PM »
Please see the examples from Kingston Heath and Royal Melbourne. (1945 vs 2012)
Rich,  I could be wrong but it looks to me that the 1945 Royal Melbourne photo features ww2 neglect/recovery rather than Mackenzieís or Morcomís bunkering.


I can certainly understand that during wartime (Turnberry was turned into an airfield during both world wars).

A 1934 aerial shows that there have been some changes, even with the famous par three 5th hole.

5th hole Royal Melbourne 2012 vs 1934

17th hole Kingston Heath 2012 vs 1945

15th hole Kingston Heath 2012 vs 1945
« Last Edit: May 22, 2023, 05:50:55 PM by Rich Milligan »

Matthew Delahunty

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2023, 08:28:12 PM »
Rich,


Mackenzie's sketch of RM West (the only one believed to be in existence) is below


Mackenzie's original plan was revised significantly by Russell and Morcom, who produced 2 later plans (which included rerouting Mackenzie's last three holes and addition of the 10th hole).


The hard edging of bunkering was already a feature but it appears that Mackenzie's knowledge infused in Morcom's construction a greater extravagance, both in terms of scale and flashing of the faces.


Mackenzie supervised the commencement of construction of the 5th hole:


Compare with 14th hole on Sandringham course:





Below is the plan for Kingston Heath which appeared in the Herald newspaper in 1927.  It's my belief that this plan was drawn by Vern Morcom and is likely a facsimile of the plan upon which the bunkering plan was implemented.





Interestingly, I was at a historian's forum at Kingston Heath a few weeks ago and one of the members of their history committee said that the Morcoms made it a precondition of their construction of the bunkering scheme that they had licence not to follow Mackenzie's exact plan.  Aerials of the course between 1931 and 1945 show that the style of bunkering at KH changed.  It's my guess the bunkers were originally built on a scale similar to RM but Vern Morcom realised over time that the scale was not suited to KH's flatter topography and he modified the bunkering to create clusters of three or four bunkers where previously there was only one large bunker. Compare holes 1, 4, 5 and 6 below:








and 8, 16, 17:








 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2023, 09:32:22 PM by Matthew Delahunty »

Rich Milligan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2023, 09:55:10 PM »
Rich,


Mackenzie's sketch of RM West (the only one believed to be in existence) is below


Mackenzie's original plan was revised significantly by Russell and Morcom, who produced 2 later plans (which included rerouting Mackenzie's last three holes and addition of the 10th hole).


The hard edging of bunkering was already a feature but it appears that Mackenzie's knowledge infused in Morcom's construction a greater extravagance, both in terms of scale and flashing of the faces.


Mackenzie supervised the commencement of construction of the 5th hole:


Compare with 14th hole on Sandringham course:





Below is the plan for Kingston Heath which appeared in the Herald newspaper in 1927.  It's my belief that this plan was drawn by Vern Morcom and is likely a facsimile of the plan upon which the bunkering plan was implemented.





Interestingly, I was at a historian's forum at Kingston Heath a few weeks ago and one of the members of their history committee said that the Morcoms made it a precondition of their construction of the bunkering scheme that they had licence not to follow Mackenzie's exact plan.  Aerials of the course between 1931 and 1945 show that the style of bunkering at KH changed.  It's my guess the bunkers were originally built on a scale similar to RM but Vern Morcom realised over time that the scale was not suited to KH's flatter topography and he modified the bunkering to create clusters of three or four bunkers where previously there was only one large bunker. Compare holes 1, 4, 5 and 6 below:








and 8, 16, 17:






Wow! That is absolutely fascinating. It seems like RM and KH were not the only courses in Australia where the bunkering ended up different from MacKenzie's plans. Royal Adelaide appears to have moved away from its planned MacKenzie bunkers. I'm not sure what MacKenzie's original plans for New South Wales GC looked like, but that course has been renovated so many times there's a variety of personal touches by different architects.

https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,57893.msg1354367.html#msg1354367

I believe Royal Troon (Portland) reshaped their MacKenzie bunkers to reflect a more common style found elsewhere in Scotland. Personally, I like the character that a MacKenzie designed bunker adds, rather than the bland product that is so prevalent today.

Mike_Clayton

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2023, 03:37:34 AM »
The proposed bunkering on the KH plan at the 13th hole is something they should implement.
It'd take probably the 'least good' hole on the course and make something a lot more interesting.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2023, 01:44:06 PM »
There is a letter FROM MACKENZIE to Kingston Heath that they should not try to hold Morton exactly to the plan, but let him adapt it to the site during construction.

Rich Milligan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2023, 07:46:53 PM »
There is a letter FROM MACKENZIE to Kingston Heath that they should not try to hold Morton exactly to the plan, but let him adapt it to the site during construction.


Thank you for that information Mr. Doak!

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2023, 11:17:59 AM »
Mike or Tom,


Iím curious how much time Mackenie spent at Kingston Heath. Is there a record of this? Do we know exactly what  Mackenzie did? Was it primarily sketches for bunkers? What was his input for greens?


Did Mackenzie leave town before he ever saw his recommendations for KH implemented?
Tim Weiman

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2023, 12:55:26 PM »

Iím curious how much time Mackenie spent at Kingston Heath. Is there a record of this? Do we know exactly what  Mackenzie did? Was it primarily sketches for bunkers? What was his input for greens?

Did Mackenzie leave town before he ever saw his recommendations for KH implemented?


I believe it is correct that during his six-week stay in Australia, Dr. MacKenzie only saw one hole under construction.  He suggested to Royal Melbourne that they build one of the short holes on his new plan so that Alex Russell and Vern Morcom and he could work on the green and bunkering together and gain a better understanding of his ideas.


That hole is now the 5th at Royal Melbourne (West).

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2023, 03:46:21 PM »

Iím curious how much time Mackenie spent at Kingston Heath. Is there a record of this? Do we know exactly what  Mackenzie did? Was it primarily sketches for bunkers? What was his input for greens?

Did Mackenzie leave town before he ever saw his recommendations for KH implemented?


I believe it is correct that during his six-week stay in Australia, Dr. MacKenzie only saw one hole under construction.  He suggested to Royal Melbourne that they build one of the short holes on his new plan so that Alex Russell and Vern Morcom and he could work on the green and bunkering together and gain a better understanding of his ideas.


That hole is now the 5th at Royal Melbourne (West).
Tom,


They sure got that right!
Tim Weiman

Mike_Clayton

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2023, 05:17:56 AM »
Tim,


The only routing change he made at Kingston Heath was to take the short, blind par 4,15th - a hole he called a "blot" on the course - and build the famous, uphill par 3.
I think he saw it in some state of construction.
Like so many holes on the sandbelt, bunkers were filled in after the war and trees encroached creating an effect he'd likely have abhorred.
Fortunately his hole was largely restored by Graeme Grant in the 1980s.


Kevin Pallier

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2023, 06:09:56 AM »
Mike or Tom,


Iím curious how much time Mackenie spent at Kingston Heath. Is there a record of this? Do we know exactly what  Mackenzie did? Was it primarily sketches for bunkers? What was his input for greens?


Did Mackenzie leave town before he ever saw his recommendations for KH implemented?


Tim


According to a Alister Mackenzie Chronology which Neil Crafter (fellow GCA member) contributed to AM was at KH for a few days.
29th October 1926 = inspection
8th to 10th = inspection and plans


 

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Alister MacKenzie - Royal Melbourne & Kingston Heath
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2023, 12:22:17 AM »
Mike or Tom,


Iím curious how much time Mackenie spent at Kingston Heath. Is there a record of this? Do we know exactly what  Mackenzie did? Was it primarily sketches for bunkers? What was his input for greens?


Did Mackenzie leave town before he ever saw his recommendations for KH implemented?


Tim


According to a Alister Mackenzie Chronology which Neil Crafter (fellow GCA member) contributed to AM was at KH for a few days.
29th October 1926 = inspection
8th to 10th = inspection and plans


 


Kevin,


If I remember correctly, a while back there was talk of Neil doing a book on Mackenzie with emphasis on the time he spent in Australia.


Am I dreaming? Or is there some truth to this?
Tim Weiman

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back