One More MacKenzie Design Out There?

Granted, it needs to be built, but...

Thomas Dunne pens one of my favorite stories of the year in the November/December T&L Golf on an Alister MacKenzie design that was never built.

The course that the Good Doctor drew up for Anchorena turned out to be something special, even by MacKenzie’s standards. Though it would bear many hallmarks of other great courses he designed, it was in one way compellingly different: It features nine double greens of the sort that distinguish the Old Course at St. Andrews. The routing was an ingenious intertwining of two nine-hole loops, somewhat similar to that of Muirfield. MacKenzie apparently scouted the grounds, drew up the plans, handed them over and presumably collected a fee—but then the course was never built.

Why MacKenzie’s design for El Boquerón wasn’t executed remains a mystery. Instead, Anchorena hired Dentone to build a nine-hole course on the estancia grounds that, although situated in the location that MacKenzie had in mind, was only loosely based on his design. It too was called El Boquerón, it had a clubhouse, and golf was played on it for a generation by the Anchorena family and their friends. But after the patriarch’s death in 1951, the property was divided among his heirs, and the course gradually disappeared.

One of those heirs was Enrique Anchorena Jr., who turned the clubhouse into his permanent home and kept the original MacKenzie plans in a frame above the fireplace. There the document languished for the rest of the century, a faded star in the Englishman’s glittering career.