When the names of golf’s premier architects are discussed, Charles Blair Macdonald’s name is always in the mix. Born in Niagara Falls, Canada, his passion for golf brought him from St. Andrew’s, where he learned his trade under Old Tom Morris, back to America, where he established some of golf’s earliest and best courses.
Beginning with his original seven-tomato-can course in Lake Forest in 1892, to his 1894 creation of the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton - the first 18-hole course in America - then on to the National Golf Links in 1909, Macdonald made his reputation presenting a collection of outstanding holes to his member-clients that challenged the best courses of England and Scotland.
His arrival in St. Louis in 1912, having been brought here by George H. Walker – the Club’s Golf Chairman – set in motion events which would create one of Macdonald’s newest designs. It would be the new St. Louis course which would become – and remain over the past century – as one of the country’s most historic and best classic designs. Drawing upon his love of the best holes at the best courses in Great Britain and on the continent, Macdonald positioned his interpretation of these holes on the new St. Louis Country Club grounds.
However, it was not only Macdonald’s designs that marked his place in golf history. It was his efforts in 1894 to form the United States Golf Association that would lead to golf earning its place among sport. In addition, his 1895 victory at the first U.S. Amateur Championship, affirmed his position as one of the country’s top players. While not without his share of controversy, Macdonald did, by his strong and confident personality, set the early tone for how golf would be administered.