Alister MacKenzie

Cavendish Golf Club in Buxton, Derbyshire was the last full course built by Dr Alister MacKenzie in England before he relocated to California in the mid-1920s. Commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire, MacKenzie designed a course of subtlety and finesse over rumbustious moorland terrain. Examples of MacKenzie’s genius are much in evidence at Cavendish, the course being largely unchanged in the intervening 95 years.

Cavendish today features among England’s top 100 golf courses and has been described leading modern-day architect and MacKenzie biographer Tom Doak as “The finest course of its length I have ever seen”.

Unfortunately, the worldwide pandemic of 2020 has now put this unique monument to the greatest ever golf architect under threat.

Despite being custodians of possibly the world’s most authentic MacKenzie design, Cavendish is a humble local members’ club. Great strides have been made in recent years in stabilizing the finances of the club and an ambitious plan for restoring the course as closely as possible to the original design is underway in time for the club centenary in 2025.

For a full appreciation of MacKenzie’s work at Cavendish enjoy these wonderful photographs taken in 1928 and expertly colourized by our good friend David Thomas.
Original photographs published with the kind permission of Buxton Museum.

The layout and atmosphere of the course have changed little in 95 years. A few bunkers have been grassed over and a few trees have grown – otherwise, the MacKenzie magic remains mercifully intact. It is our fervent hope that this can remain the case for generations to come.