Charles Blair MacDonald was one of the most influential men in American golf.
As a player he won the first U.S. Amateur Championship (albeit in rather odd circumstances).
He was also influential in the move to set up the U.S.G.A.
He designed the first eighteen hole golf course in the country (Chicago GC), and with Seth Raynor went on to design and build a host of the better courses in the country.
The Lido Club
After fabulous success with his growing list of designs, MacDonald was approached to build 'the course of courses' at Lido Beach on Long Island.
It was to be the best of his designs, with facilities to match.
The investors gave MacDonald (& Raynor) free reign to design the best holes and course possible, with no fiscal restraints.
As he had done with all of his work to date, MacDonald based his design on template holes, with strategies seen on some of the more inspiring holes in the U.K.
The Lido opened for play in 2014 to much acclaim.
But it did not last long- the club weathered World War 1, but was devastated by the crash of Wall Street.
The lavish clubhouse and then the beachfront holes were sold off to realtors as the membership suffered.
The last straw was delievered with the onset of World War Two.
In 1942 the U.S. Navy took over the entire facility.
In 1956 a new Lido course designed by Robert Trent Jones was built on adjoining site.
It bears no resemblance to the original Lido.
The new Lido
Over nearly a century the reputation of The Lido has grown- certainly it is regarded as one of THE great courses from yesteryear.
In recent years the golfing world has had a fascination with the classic template courses that C.B. MacDonald created a century ago.
Mike Keiser and his team at Bandon Dunes look at the possibilities of employing Tom Doak to build Lido at Bandon Dunes, but Doak did not think the land was ideal.
So they built Old MacDonald- a tribute to C.B.MacDonald and his template holes.
Enter Peter Flory, a keen golfer who used his technical skills to recreate the Lido topography on his computer.
When Tom Doak connected with Flory they were able to convince the Keiser's on the merit of building a genuine reproduction of the original Lido adjacent to their Sand Valley Resort.
With a site comprised of acres of sand, Doak & Flory were able to replicate every mound, dip and furrow from the original Lido.
Tom Doak of course had to resize the course to suit the modern golfer- not just for length but also with width between holes.
It appears he has done that without compromising the integrity of the iconic holes.
One cannot truly understand the magnitude of this project until you see it, walk it, play it.
Even then I am a little awed by just how much detail has gone into this recreation- the movement in the fairways, ridges, bunkers- everything is precisely placed as per the original course.
Personally I don't think I could take it all in, and get to know the lines of play off different tees and to different pins without playing the course for weeks!
I really am amazed at the detail and complexity in this project and the skills required to build it.
Notable holes include:
- hole 3 (Eden), a challenging par 3 based on the 11th hole at St Andrews Old Course
- hole 4 (Channel), a striking double water carry par 5 based on the Old course at Littlestone.
- hole 5 (Cape), a gorgeous short par 4 and in my opinion the best hole on the course. It was based on MacDonald's 14th hole at The National Golf Links
- hole 8 (Ocean) , a longer par 3 with a modified Biarritz type green
- hole 10 (Alps), a mid length par 4 based on the famous 17th hole at Prestwick
- hole 12 (Punchbowl), a longer par 4 with a wonderful generic punchbowl green. The 16th hole at The National Golf Links perhaps sets the standard.
- hole 13 (Knoll), a short par 4 based on the 4th hole at Scotscraig GC, Scotland
- hole 14 (Short), a short par 3 based on Royal West Norfolk's fifth hole
For golfing affeciandos The Lido is a 'must do' golfing trip.
We rate The Lido as a 'Travelling Golfer 'must play!'
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