The Evangelist of Golf – The Story of Charles Blair MacDonald is a biography of the man who was instrumental in establishing the USGA. From a golf course architecture perspective, he was the man behind the NGLA. His protege, Seth Raynor, is responsible for some of America’s most iconic courses to this day. The book covers Macdonald’s work as well as Seth Raynor’s contributions.
Tom Doak & Ben Crenshaw
The book contains a listing of all their courses, a detailed timeline along with photographs, course maps and drawings of their work. The forward from Tom Doak begins: “Some men prefer older women; I prefer older golf courses.” You just know it’s going to be good! Following on, Ben Crenshaw delivers the Foreward.
The Evangelist of Golf – Book Contents
Chapter 1 deals with CM Macdonald’s early years. Chapter 2 documents his involvement at the Chicago Golf Club. Chapter 3 is highly entertaining and gives an understanding of the man who was CB Macdonald. The story is told with the backdrop of the First National Championship (or third as the case may be…)
CB Macdonald & The Ideal Golf Links
Chapter 4 dwells on The Ideal Golf Links as chosen by CB Macdonald, his trips to Europe and his formula for evaluating the ideal course.
CB Macdonald & Seth Raynor’s Template Holes
Chapter 5 deals with CB Macdonald and Seth Raynor’s tried and tested holes which emulated the features of the best holes in the world. Holes such as Leven, Redan, Biarritz, Alps, Eden, Narrows, Road, Bottle, Short, Knoll, Cape, Long Punchbowl, Sahara amongst others are featured. Each hole describes its Origin, Length, Bunkering, Approach, Green, Best Examples before the author offers brief Comments.
CD Macdonald & Seth Raynor’s Best Courses
Chapter 6 and Chapters 8 through 22 each deal with a famous golf course by CM Macdonald. Chapter 6 has perhaps the best breakdown of the National Golf Links of America that I’ve ever seen. Chapter 7 is dedicated solely to Seth Raynor. One chapter is given to each of the following courses: Piping Rock Club, Sleepy Hollow Country Club, St Louis Country Club, The Greenbrier Resort, The Lido Club, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Ocean Links, Links Club, Women’s National Golf & Tennis Club, Gibson Island Club, Creek Club, Deepdale Golf & Country Club, Mid Ocean Club and Yale University Golf Course. Chapter 16 discusses Practice Courses.
Further Information in The Evangelist of Golf
The book contains a Time Line of Events, Composite Listing of Golf Courses of Charles B MacDonald, Seth J Raynor and Charles H Banks. An obituary by HJ Whigham rounds out the contents of the book.
The book is said to complete the biographical triumvirate of Discovering Donald Ross: The Architect and His Golf Courses by Bradley Klein and The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie by Tom Doak. We await the Harry Colt biography by Adam Lawerence.