The ultimate list for the discerning golfer

Treasures of California’s Golden Age
By Geoff Shackelford
He is the author of nine books on golf, including the controversial
"Grounds for Golf" and his latest, "The Future of Golf in America."

Cypress Point:
Alister MacKenzie and Robert Hunter took a phenomenal property, gave it the respect it deserved, and created the perfect blend of fun and beauty—a veritable golfing nirvana.

George Thomas’s strategic masterpiece was also an engineering and aesthetic marvel thanks to sidekick Billy Bell’s quiet genius. Never has such an unfriendly site for golf been transformed into something so rich in character.

Pebble Beach:
Chandler Egan’s bold redesign prior to the 1929 U.S. Amateur featured imitation dunes and strategic design elements missing from the brilliant original routing of Jack Neville and Douglas Grant. The imitation dunes are gone, but the strategy still shines.

Bobby Jones fell in love with Max Behr’s inland links while filming his 1931 golf movies. Behr believed in wide fairways and multiple hole location options to dictate tee shot placement. It is safe to say that Lakeside inspired Jones and MacKenzie to go forward with Augusta National’s revolutionary design.

Arguably the most radical of all California designs in its original form, Thomas and Bell offered multiple fairway options, wild bunkering, strategically placed mounds and dramatic use of natural barrancas. Today only their ingenious routing remains.

Olympic (Ocean):
Willie Watson and Sam Whiting’s original design featured several astonishing ocean holes that made its more famous brother—the Lake Course—look ordinary.

LACC (North):
After Riviera and Bel-Air, Thomas had to rejuvenate his home course. He created multiple "courses within the course" by adding unique hole locations and multiple tees to achieve the ultimate in day-to-day variety.

Sharp Park:
MacKenzie’s municipal masterpiece once featured double fairways, oceanside holes and his trademark bunkering. It may have been America’s finest public course when it opened.

La Cumbre:
Thomas and Bell’s original featured their typical strategic brilliance and construction artistry, with several stunning holes playing around a natural lake. The course looks nothing like the original today, put to shame by the recent Tom Doak restoration of MacKenzie’s nearby gem, the Valley Club of Montecito.

Rancho Santa Fe:
Behr’s brilliantly routed inland masterpiece in San Diego incorporated coastal sage scrub and land features to create strategic interest. For years, this wealthy enclave has been protected by a covenant preventing the import of modern architecture. Too bad the covenant didn’t pertain to the golf course as well.

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