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The Truth About Cypress Point

A (nearly) comprehensive research project on the true favorite courses of MacKenzie, Ross and Tillinghast

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The Truth About Cypress Point

If you ask my parents which of the three Versalles children is their favorite, they would respond immediately with the standard reply, “We love them all the same!” This is what almost all parents would say. It is also a lie. (It’s my brother, Luís, and who can blame them?) Let’s be honest: Everyone plays favorites. 

This kind of revelation often comes about after good food and a few extra drinks. And it was that kind of night when some fellow obsessives and I dove into an age-old golf-nerd question: Which course was really Alister MacKenzie’s favorite?

Cypress Point Club could be the most beautiful course on the planet. Augusta National is probably the most famous and celebrated. But does that mean MacKenzie loved either one above all others? As my friend said after a long sip: Who’s to say, man?

Donald Ross designed about 400 courses, and it’s nearly unanimous in golf circles that Pinehurst No. 2 is his best work. Ross built a home at Pinehurst, and his love for the area is widely known. But does that make Pinehurst his favorite? We don’t know! Maybe he secretly hated it, but knew he was getting a free house out of the deal, so he just played along.

We were fresh off watching the U.S. Open, so Winged Foot and A.W. Tillinghast also came up. He did Quaker Ridge and Baltusrol just in the greater New York area alone, so no one would blame him if he grouped them all in one equal, loving embrace. But that degenerate gambler drank more than we did that night! We suspected that enough of the sauce and he would have spilled the tea about the real course in his heart. 

This conversation lived on after that night; we had to know the dirty truth. So off we went. Internet rabbit holes. The Tufts Archives. The Library of Congress. One of us even went to the public library. 

Did we find what we were looking for? Sadly, no. But that still didn’t stop us. So now, using our research as inspiration, I present the correspondence that we wish we would have discovered.