The winner of the Alister MacKenzie Society-sponsored Ray Haddock Lido Award for Best Original Hole Concept is Bo Links, a longtime San Francisco-based writer, historian, artist, and lawyer who currently resides in Oregon. It’s the second year in a row that Links has won the $3,000 cash prize (subsidized by an additional $2,000 in travel money if he chooses to travel to the society’s annual gathering in New Zealand), and c It’s his fourth win overall since the contest and prize was founded in 1998.
The Lido award is based on the Country Life magazine competition MacKenzie entered in 1914 that asked sports enthusiasts to “design” a golf hole to judge it. MacKenzie’s multi-option par 4, full of alternate routes and branching paths, won the top prize, and architect CB Macdonald built a version of it for the 18th hole of the Lido course he was building at Long Island.
With Lido 2022 rules stipulating that the hole must be a par 4, it’s no surprise that many of the finalists’ designs bore a strong resemblance to MacKenzie’s original hole. Each had expansive fairways that provide hypothetical players with aggressive, intermediate, and conservative lines off the tee, although each green design is configured to favor specific approach angles that can only be accessed with a long, bold drive. or neatly plotted as a three or four-hole for smaller players.
The finalists have also incorporated into their hole concepts some design themes that are currently gaining traction, including the use of fairway undulation and grassy mounds as hazards instead of bunkers, and pronounced kicking slopes on the projections around the greens.
Bruce Charlton, president and design director of Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects, judged the competition.
“What struck me was that there were really well thought out strategies,” Charlton says. “From there, I wanted to see how well the designs embraced MacKenzie’s ’13 Principles’ [of Golf Course Design]. MacKenzie’s thinking was that a golf course should be fun and it should be challenging, but it shouldn’t be so difficult that average players have no reasonable chance of making their way through it. a golf hole.
The finalists’ holes all featured central obstacles to negotiate but also multiple courses around them and few forced ranges.
Charlton, who lives in Pasatiempo, a famous MacKenzie design in Santa Cruz, Calif., also took a close look at green elevations, especially the slopes and point elevations. He wanted to see the kinds of emboldened shapes and outlines MacKenzie could have orchestrated, including setting up surfaces with corners, platforms, and hole locations that could alter game tactics.
“One of the biggest takeaways from all the MacKenzie courses I know and have studied is that you just don’t want to be over the hole,” he says. Entries that exhibited these MacKenzie-like outlines moved up the chart.
Links’ par 4, called “Throttle”, is a long dogleg that descends from the tee and climbs into a deep green. The angle of the drive differs from each staggered tee complex, with a reward for those who challenge the cascading bunkers in the inside corner. It can be played as a two or three shot hole from different fairway positions depending on the risk players choose to take. Many competitors exemplified this type of classic strategic tee shot setup, but what caught Charlton’s attention the most was the green complex – a deep, thin putting surface flanked by bunkers that bears similarities to the fourth green at Pasatiempo, the ninth at Cypress Point, or the current ninth at Augusta National, although MacKenzie did not design this green.
“What I really liked at the start was the little side design of the green, which had these roller coaster stair steps. It was just this very crisp, narrow green that MacKenzie would throw at you quite often” “It’s not an art contest, but the presentation of the hole is off the page in terms of comprehension,” Charlton explains.
Gene Zanardi, who has chaired the Lido competition for the MacKenzie Society since its inception in 1998, says the quality of entries has improved each year. Most of this year’s roughly 65 entries were “senior level,” he says, a higher percentage than has been regular in the past.
Charlton agreed. “I loved them all,” he says. “But when he got to the last five, I had to get really tough. And the one I finally chose was the one that presented the best options, elevations, had a good description of the plant material, it detailed the upper and lower levels of the hole, showed the wind direction and the description clearly expressed the knowledge of MacKenzie’s philosophies.
There was enough information in the submission, Charlton says, that you could almost go out and build it as is. What better sign of a well-designed and well-executed golf hole, even for an amateur architect?
Here are the rest of the 2022 Alister MacKenzie Society Ray Haddock Lido Award finalists:
Of Robert Hoye of Dover, Mass. :
From Craig Snyder of San Diego:
From Cameron Hurdus of Ventura, California:
From Phillip Kent of Dallas:
Watch Golf Digest’s “Every Hole at: The Old Course” below: