Charles B. Macdonald

Charles Blair Macdonald

(November 14, 1855 – April 21, 1939) was a major figure in early American golf. He built the first 18-hole course in the United States, was a driving force in the

founding of the

United States Golf Association


Born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, he and his family soon moved to Chicago where he grew up. In 1872 at age 16, he was sent to St. Andrews University in Scotland where he started to play golf. He took lessons from Old Tom Morris and played matches on the Old Course.

Macdonald won the first U.S. Amateur championship upon his return and later built some of the most influential golf courses in the United States, to the extent that he is considered the father of American golf course architecture and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

As part of his design philosophy, MacDonald identified 21 different hole designs or “templates” from the greatest holes in the British Isles that would test a great player’s game while allowing mediocre and poor players’ angles and options to score well. Although similar from course to course they are not duplicates and each hole is designed specifically for the site to create a unique twist for players.