Golf Course Architect for the Pacific Northwest
Arthur Vernon Macan was born in Ireland in 1882. His father, Dr. A.V. Macan, later to become Sir A. V. Macan, was knighted for his contribution to surgical technique, particularly hygiene, during the Prussian War.
Macan Jr., called “Mac,” was raised in well to do society in Dublin and educated at Shrewsbury, an exclusive English private boy’s school. He later attended and graduated from Trinity College as a lawyer. During his school days, young Macan developed a lifelong passion for the game of golf.
In 1911, when Macan was a member of Greystones Golf Club, he met Juliet Richards, the daughter of a wealthy Dublin lawyer. They were married in December 1911. With a secure position in one of Dublin’s leading law firms, a well-known father and a wife from a prestigious family, Macan appeared to have it made. He was successful in golf as well and was among the country’s top-five players.
However, Macan had no heart for law. He loved golf and chose to chase his dream by uprooting his family and moving to Victoria, B.C. in the spring of 1912.
Macan joined the Victoria Golf Club and won the B.C. Men’s Amateur at his new home course that same year. In 1913 he won the PNGA Men’s Amateur Championship at Butte Country Club in Montana eventually he was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Hall of Fame.
He likely would have gone on to be one of the more famous golfers of the 1920’s except for the fact that he enlisted and was badly wounded, losing his left foot in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Upon his return to Victoria in 1920, he returned to competitive golf and won top medals in the B.C. Men’s Amateur and the PNGA Men’s Amateur Championships.
He was a great golfer but Macan’s history lies more with the tremendous contribution he made to Northwest golf through the many golf courses he designed from1913 until his death in 1964. He was undoubtedly the Pacific Northwest’s most prolific and most revered golf course designer.
During his life he designed some of the best and most famous courses in the northwest. Some of these include: Fircrest in Tacoma, Broadmoor and Inglewood in Seattle, Royal Colwood in Victoria and Alderwood Country Club in Portland. Alderwood was selected to host the 1937 U.S. Amateur, the first USGA event ever staged in the Pacific Nothrwest. Macan had considered Alderwood, which no longer exists, to be his finest work. His list of designs can be found below. He passed away in 1964 while designing Sunland Golf Course in Sequim, Washington.
A.V. Macan’s List of Course Designs
Qualicum (1913), Royal Colwood (1913; 1921-1922 renovation), Cowichan (1922), Marine Drive (1923), Gleneagles (1927), Gorge Vale (1920 & 1930), old Shaughnessy Heights (1927; 1940 renovation), Stanley Pork Par-3 (1927), University (1927), Victoria (1930 & 1955 renovations), Cowichan (1947), Kelowna (1949 & 1959 renovations), Nanaimo (1953 & 1961), McCleery (1956), Richmond (1959), new Shaughnessy (1959), Capilano (1960 renovation), Penticton (1961 renovation), and Queen Elizabeth Park (1961).
Inglewood (1920); 1928 renovation, Chehalis (1922), Manito (1922), Waverly (1922 – 1950’s renovation), Rainier (1923 - front nine), Glen Acres (1924), Columbia-Edgewater (1924), Alderwood (1924; 1949 renovation), Fircrest (1924), Astoria (1924), California Golf Club (1925), Broadmoor (1925), Illahe Hills (1928), Colwood National (1928), Lloyds (1930), Gearhart (1932 renovation), Hillcrest (1940; 1957 & 1961 renovations), Seattle (1950 renovation), Overlake (1953), Sun Willows (1954), Yakima (1956 back nine), San Geronimo (1961), Everett (1962 renovation), Purple Sage Municipal (1963), Lake Spanaway (1964), and Sunland (1964)