Golf Immortality
April 17, 2020

Marion Hollins, known for her contributions to Augusta National and Cypress Point, elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame

Marion Hollins

Marion Hollins

American amateur golfer Marion Hollins (1892 - 1944) drives off during the 2nd day of the Ladies Open Golf Championship at St Andrews, Scotland, 15th May 1929. (Photo by Puttnam/Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Photo by: Puttnam

Puttnam

Marion Hollins’ contributions to golf largely have been historical footnotes deserving greater recognition given her roles in Augusta National Golf Club and Cypress Point Club.

Hollins, who died in 1944 at the age of 51, will finally get her due with the announcement today that she has been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, joining Tiger Woods in the Class of 2021. Woods’ election was announced on March 11.

An accomplished player who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1921, Hollins was working for Samuel F.B. Morse, a distant cousin of the inventor of the telegraph, and helping him develop property he bought on the Monterey Peninsula, including Pebble Beach.

She was given the task of developing Cypress Point Club, which Seth Raynor originally was hired to design. When Raynor died early on in the project, Hollins hired a British course architect virtually unknown in the United States, Alister MacKenzie. With a notable assist from Hollins, MacKenzie designed a masterpiece.


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Hollins was responsible for Cypress Point’s most famous hole, the par-3 16th with a 210-yard carry over an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Raynor had been convinced that the carry was too long to put a hole there. Hollins disagreed. “She then teed a ball and drove to the middle of the site for the suggested green,” MacKenzie wrote.

Up the coast from Pebble Beach, in Santa Cruz, Hollins was developing her own course, Pasatiempo, and hired MacKenzie to design it.

“Here enters Bobby Jones,” Dave Kindred wrote in Golf Digest in 1999. “He came to Pebble Beach that fall [1929] to compete in the U.S. Amateur. During preparations, he played at the new Cypress Point and found it ‘almost perfect.’

“So while Jones knew of MacKenzie—and shared his admiration for the unadorned subtleties of the Old Course at St. Andrews—he was seeing the architect’s own work for the first time. It was fortuitous because he needed an architect to build a great national course in Georgia.”

Jones also played Pasatiempo on that trip. “So, the Hollins-MacKenzie-Jones connection was formed when Jones set foot on Cypress Point. From there events moved as if inevitable,” Kindred wrote.

In the winter of 1930, MacKenzie agreed to design what became Augusta National Golf Club and he “created a golf club that the founders of Augusta National initially treated almost as a blueprint [of Pasatiempo],” Golf Digest contributor David Owen wrote in the New Yorker last year.

MacKenzie, incidentally, was living in a home he had built at Pasatiempo, and during construction of Augusta National sent Hollins to Augusta as his surrogate.

The headline to Owen’s story in the New Yorker: “The Woman Who Invented Augusta National.”


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