What is so immediately stunning about this visual biography of one of golf's great physical masterpieces is the photography itself: it's all archival, and it's all black and white. It lends Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
a deeply personal feeling. It seems to carry with it a sense of past, permanence, and inherent artistry, as if it were a valued family heirloom. In a sense, this volume is the family album of a cherished golf course, the photographic and historical record of the people who brought the course to life--including MacKenzie, the titular designer who would later coax Augusta National from the landscape, and Marion Hollins, one of the most formidable women ever to master a mashie--and how they collaborated to accomplish their ideal.
Though overshadowed by Pebble Beach, its more famous Monterey Peninsula neighbor, Cypress Point remains one of the true crown jewels in American golf. Its pedigree is second to none, and its 16th hole--a long par 3 over the ocean--is generally acclaimed as the premier one-shotter in existence. Shackelford, a prolific historian of golf course architecture and designers, spends the first third of the volume affectionately introducing us to Cypress Point's founders, its planners, the ideas that went into creating the club, and the work that went into building the course. Then he takes us through Cypress Point hole by hole, with his own informative text augmented by theoretical and site-specific insights from MacKenzie and his assistant, Robert Hunter, all gift-wrapped with stunningly dramatic photos from the 1920s and '30s.
Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club is a truly lovely volume, historically fascinating and visually pleasing. To the golf-obsessed among us, the surprising story behind the birth of No. 16 should alone be worth the greens fees. But like No. 16 itself, the story is just part of an overall whole, and there's much in Cypress Point to beguile anyone who can appreciate the splendid connection between an ancient game and an environment that gorgeously elevates it. --Jeff Silverman
About the Author
’s previous book on golf include The Rivera Country Club…A Definitive History
, The Captain, Masters of the Links
and The Good Doctor Returns
. Geoff is a graduate of Pepperdine University where he played on the Men’s Golf Team, and he now resides in Santa Monica, California. He can be reached at GeoffShac@aol.com.