During the construction of Augusta National Golf Club in the 1930s, co-founder Clifford Roberts questioned why the course’s co-designer, Alister MacKenzie, wasn’t spending more time in Augusta. Confidante Marion Hollins had gone in his place, according to the book “The Making of the Masters.” MacKenzie responded to Roberts.
“She has been associated with me in three golf courses, and not only are her own ideas valuable, but she is thoroughly conversant in regard to the character of the work I like,” he said in a letter. “I want her views and also her personal impressions in regard to the way the work is being carried out.”
Later, MacKenzie wrote a letter to the engineer who was supervising the construction of the course.
“I do not know any man who has sounder ideas,” MacKenzie said of Hollins.
On Friday, the World Golf Hall of Fame announced that Hollins will be part of the class of 2021, joining Tiger Woods. Her impact is still felt across the country.
In the South, Hollins, who died in 1944 at the age of 51, was as influential as anyone in the development of the home of the Masters. In the Northeast, she financed and developed a golf course for women in New York – just a few years after women had received the right to vote. In the West, she helped develop renowned Cypress Point and Pasatiempo in California. She also won the 1921 Women’s Amateur.
“When you start reading about Marion Hollins, you realize what a trailblazer she was,” Annika Sorenstam, inducted in 2003 and part of the Hall of Fame’s selection committee, told the Associated Press. “In her era, she didn’t have many resources with the status of women in sports and golf. To be that kind of trailblazer with that kind of enthusiasm and energy and get into course development and design is very inspirational. She was an advocate for women and changed the landscape of the game.”
Shortly after her Amateur victory, Hollins began her work on golf courses. In 1922, the men who ran the Creek Club in Long Island, N.Y., threw out the women, wrote David Owen, the author of “The Maker of the Masters,” in a 2019 story in the New Yorker. Soon after, Hollins helped design Women’s National Golf & Tennis Club. Men were allowed only as guests.
In 1926, Hollins went to California and would help develop Cypress Point, No. 2 on GOLF.com’s list of the Top 100 Courses in the World. Owen wrote in the New Yorker that Hollins brought on MacKenzie when the course’s original designer died. The two would eventually get to the signature 16th.