The book, The Spirit of St Andrews, was a lost manuscript that was initially written in 1933. It was rediscovered by Alister MacKenzie‘s second wife’s grandson in a desk drawer 60 years later. It quickly became a golf course architecture sacred text. 

Spirit of St Andrews Book Review

Chapters Two through Four present the food for thought for the architecturally inclined student. Topics include General Principles, Economy in Golf Course Construction and Ideal Holes and Golf Courses.

Regarding ideal holes, MacKenzie holds out numbers 4, 8, 10, 11, 14, 16, and 17 at St Andrews, Gibraltar at Moortown, Redan at North Berwick, the 4th at Prestwick, the 15th at Worplesdon. Regarding courses? Hoylake, Saunton, and Gleneagles are held up as prime examples.

This is intriguing as Hoylake was also championed by none other than Tom Simpson. James Braid‘s King’s Course at Gleneagles is often overlooked by those who disparaged his work and are loyal adherents of MacKenzie doctrine. Saunton East would have been a course to see! Herbert Fowler’s course was levelled in servitude to King and Country during World War 2. Before then, it had been universally praised by the most vocal and critical proponents of the golden age of golf course architecture. 

Various Editions

Sleeping Bear Press published a special limited edition of 1500 copies in 1995 that contains a colour fold-out map of St. Andrews, 56 additional pages for greenkeepers and architects and a full-page colour portrait of MacKenzie in his kilt. A standard trade edition was also published in 1995 (IBSN 9781886947009). Three Rivers Press re-published it in 1998 (IBSN 9780767901697).

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You want insight into the mind of the world's most celebrated architect in his prime, Dr Alister MacKenzie.