Rod Morri says Brandel Chamblee is wrong on Alister MacKenzie and golf design

Australian golf analyst Rod Morri has taken aim at Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee over his thoughts on Alister Mackenzie and golf design.

American golf analyst Brandel Chamblee wrote a perplexing piece that calls into question the golf design philosophies of Alister Mackenzie; the golf course architect behind Royal Melbourne, Augusta National and Cypress Point among others.

And’s Rod Morri has called it “a load of complete tosh”.

The crux of Chamblee’s piece was that Mackenzie’s philosophy to design golf courses to appeal to all golfers was flawed and (cue the long bow already fitted with a faulty arrow) is the reason professional golfers are hitting the ball too far.

Confused? Try these paragraphs from the article:

“Because golf course setups have become far more forgiving – owing to the MacKenzie philosophy, complaints and suggestions of the players and to the social media chorus that we want more birdies ­– players seek to launch shots as high as they can, with as little spin as they can, with as long of a driver as they can handle.”

And the final sentence may make your head explode if you read it too many times.

“Players are not hitting the ball so far today because that’s the way the game is going, they are doing so because the set ups of golf courses do not make them think.”

It’s not hard to see Chamblee has things arse about and Rod Morri took aim at the article calling it “a load of complete tosh.”

Morri takes offence to the misrepresentation to Alister Mackenzie’s work and points out a number of glaringly obvious holes (a near full golf course worth) in Chamblee’s article.

To dismiss Augusta National off-handedly as an ‘aesthetic gem’ and suggest McKenzie’s influence has been ‘damaging to the professional game’ is either ignorant or dishonest.

Augusta National has always been one of the game’s great cathedrals of strategy and, despite being blunted in the past two decades in an attempt to combat ever increasing driving distance, remains a mostly compelling test.


Land is a finite resource and golf needs to use less of it not by disfiguring the great courses of the world but by regulating the instruments of play to ensure those gems remain relevant.

Growing rough, adding bunkers and trees and forcing the world’s best to play a restricted and defensive game is a recipe for unwatchable golf.

Read Morri’s full article over at

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