At some point in the coming months, the World Golf Hall of Fame will reveal its entire class of 2021. There are 10 finalists, and the only selection that has been released to date is that of Tiger Woods. Several other candidates, from Tim Finchem and Dottie Pepper to Pádraig Harrington and Tom Weiskopf, are household names, especially in golf households. Then there are those of a more obscure but equally worthy nature, like Marion Hollins, who is one of two in the Contributor category (former PGA Tour commissioner Finchem is the other).
Hollins’ qualifications begin with her prowess as a tournament player. She competed in 15 national championships – winning one of them, the 1921 U.S. Women’s Amateur. She also was the captain of America’s victorious Curtis Cup team the first time those matches were contested in 1932. In addition, Hollins captured the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association Amateur three times and twice took the Long Island Women’s Amateur. Those were significant events back in the day.
Even more impressive was her work in developing golf courses and clubs. A founder of the Cypress Point Club on the Monterey Peninsula in California, Hollins secured the original option on that stunning, 170-acre oceanside site and recommended that Alister MacKenzie take over as course architect after the original designer, Seth Raynor, died soon after he had begun moving dirt and sand there.
Hollins then created Pasatiempo, a sumptuous retreat in the rolling hills above Santa Cruz, Calif., once again engaging MacKenzie as the architect of the course that would serve as its centerpiece. That track opened in September 1929, with Hollins playing in the inaugural foursome with Bobby Jones. Soon after, Jones and his colleague Clifford Roberts set about creating Augusta National Golf Club. According to David Owen in his book, The Making of the Masters, they based many of their plans for Augusta on what Hollins had created at Pasatiempo, even hiring MacKenzie to design the course.
While that track was under construction, MacKenzie asked Hollins to travel east on his behalf and make an honest assessment of how the Augusta project was coming along. In Owen’s telling, Roberts was none too pleased that MacKenzie, who was living in a home he had erected off the sixth fairway at Pasatiempo, was not making the trip himself. But the architect stood his ground. “She is thoroughly conversant in regard to the character of the work I like,” he wrote in a letter to the Augusta co-founder. “I want her views and also her personal impressions in regard to the way the work is being carried out. I do not know any man who has sounder ideas.”
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