A. Vernon Macan, Golf Age Great
Renowned course architect A. Vernon Macan was born in Ireland, and cut his teeth playing the old-time, famed links courses of the British Isles. In 1912 he immigrated to British Columbia, where he promptly won the British Columbia Amateur Golf Championship. He began designing courses the following year, insisting that the layout should be strategic and deliberate to cater to golfers of all abilities. Even after he lost a leg in service during World War II, Mac continued designing courses and winning tournaments on the amateur circuit.
Macan, designer of the famed California Club, has been widely praised by Golden Age aficionados and the other great architects of the time, such as Tillinghast, Ross, and Mackenzie. That his works have enjoyed such significant praise to this day is a credit to both his Irish golf upbringing, and his design philosophy that places a premium on what he called "golfing brain power." And though each of Macan's works commands admiration, one would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive final product than his course at Contra Costa.
Lieutenant Macan in early competition (left image) and (in middle) with Ted Ray (Far left) and Harry Vardon (Far Right) in 1913.