Thursday, August 20, 2015

Aberdeen's Hazlehead renamed the Mackenzie Championship Course after its designer

Shona Malcom, recently appointed secretary of the PGA in Scotland, pictured beside the red granite stone and plaque which was unveiled on the first tee at the Hazlehead No 1 course, which was officially renamed the "Mackenzie Championship Course" today, writes Colin Farquharson.
Dr Alister Mackenzie designed 400 courses worldwide during his career. He is best remembered for Augusta National, home of the Masters, but he also created the much admired Hazlehead lay-out at Aberdeen from distinctly un-golfing territory - marshy woodland for Aberdeen Town Council as a municipal course.
Dr Mackenzie regarded the Hazlehead course as the best parkland course he had ever designed and for many years it was regarded as one of the best, if not the best, municipal courses in Scotland andn even farther afield.
It was officially opened in July 1927 by an exhibition match between the reigning British Amateur Champion Dr William Tweddell and Open champion J  H Taylor
When Sandy Pirie and before him his father were head greenkeepers, the Hazlehead course was maintained in tip-top condition.
But for several decades, the Town Council spent less and less money on its upkeep and the Hazlehead course looked to be reverting to its original marshland state. .The formation of the Sport Aberdeen company has reversed the trend and Hazlehead is on its way back to the forefront of Scottish courses.
The renaming of the course to recall Dr Alister Mackenzie's stamp of design was considered an important part in the rebranding of the Hazlehead golf complex so that it would once again attract golfers from not only Aberdeen but much farther afield. 

Former Hazlehead headgreenkeeper, Sandy Pirie, now 74, who played for GB and I in the 1967 Walker Cup match, drives the first ball at the renamed Mackenzie Championship Course, watched by invited guests. To the right of Sandy, in the background, are former Ryder Cup player Harry Bannerman and Stewart Spence, proprietor of The Marcliffe at Pitfodels Hotel.
Ethel Farquharson, past chairman of the Scottish Ladies Golfing Assocation, is on the extreme right of the spectators

Municipal Hazlehead's historic link with Augusta National - both designed by Dr Alister Mackenize

History was recreated today as photographs from the original Hazlehead No 1 course opening in 1927 at the Aberdeen municipal golf venue were re-enacted, as part of the official renaming of the course to the ‘Mackenzie Championship Course’ in recognition of the courses world renowned architect, Dr Alistair Mackenzie.
The photos were taken from the first tee with conditions perfect for replicating history to delighted spectators.
Following presentations and statements from Sport Aberdeen Managing Director Alistair Robertson and Sport Aberdeen Chairman of the Board Fred Dalgarno was the unveiling of an exquisite commemorative plaque on the first tee at Hazlehead, set in a piece of local, beautifully carved granite generously donated by Fyfe Glenrocky. The plaque unveiling was conducted by Fred Dalgarno and Councillor Angela Taylor.
A number of Aberdeen Councillors also attended the launch, highlighting the importance of both the event and the course to the city. Turning 88 on 3 July of this year ,the course has stood the test of time and remains a key venue in the North East for both its historical importance and the challenge it still provides.
Many are unaware that Dr Alister MacKenzie, famous for masterpieces around the world including Augusta National Golf Club which has been at the forefront of some of golf’s greatest triumphs in The Masters, also designed the municipal course at Hazlehead.
Geoff Shackleford of the Golf Channel and Golf Digest, who had a statement read during the ceremony, is all too aware of the impact of the architect’s work around the globe.
“Wherever Alister MacKenzie went he left behind a legacy by creating golf courses that make you want to play,” he said. “Having a course associated with his magical touch is the dream of any community and I envy the golfers of Aberdeen having the opportunity to enjoy his work.”
A number of other influential figures from the golfing community were present including local golfer Harry Bannerman, who was part of the 1971 Great Britain and Ireland Ryder Cup team. Niall Carlton of the Alister Mackenzie Society also submitted his thoughts on the architect.
Amongst the dignitaries enjoying the ceremony was former Aberdeen FC Captain, Russell Anderson, who was full of praise for the course. “I used to play here when I was younger and it’s a beautiful setting for a golf course,” he added. “The organisers deserve praise for the work they’ve done on a course that should be attracting people from outwith the city as well as locals.”
A Stableford competition was held later in the afternoon to showcase the course with the sun shining over the 13 teams participating. The competition was a great success, truly highlighting Dr Alister Mackenzie’s magnificent work on a delightful but challenging course.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google