National Golf Links of America, Southampton, NY
1855 - 1939

Charles Blair Macdonald

Often referred to as the father of American golf course design, Macdonald immigrated to Chicago from Ontario, Canada, as a child. In 1872, he matriculated at St. Andrews University in Scotland, where he became an avid golfer under the tutelage of professional player Thomas Mitchell Morris. Returning to Chicago in 1874, he did not reenter the world of golf until 1892, when in preparation for the World’s Columbia Exposition, he established the Chicago Golf Club and designed the nation’s first 18-hole course. In 1894 he helped form and was named Vice President of the United States Golf Association. The following year he financed, designed, and built another 18-hole course in Wheaton, Illinois. The success of this project led to his relocation to New York in 1900 to go into business as a golf course designer. He began this phase of his career by traveling throughout Europe for five years, studying famous courses. Upon his return, Macdonald’s first major project was the design for the National Golf Links in Southampton, the construction for which he hired surveyor Seth Raynor, who would become his protégé. For the duration of his short career, he designed a number of significant courses, including one at Yale University, Connecticut; the Old White course at The Greenbrier resort, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia; and the St. Louis Country Club course in Missouri. Macdonald retired in 1914, handing off his clients to Raynor, whom he continued to advise.