The Cypress Point Club, located in Pebble Beach, California is perennially ranked as either the #1 or #2 rated course in the world, for good reason. It is golf at its best. I am lucky enough to have played Cypress and can attest to its greatness. This month we focus on books related to this historic course, designed by Dr. Alister Mackenzie.
The official club history of Cypress was published in 1996 and was privately printed by the club. The History of Cypress Point Club was written by Roger Lapham and is 61 pages in an oblong format. The book has a section that details many of the spectacular golf holes at Cypress Point back when the course first opened and how they looked when the book was published in 1996. The holes are broken down and there is a picture of how a specific golf hole looked back in the 1920’s and how the hole looks today in black and white. The book was published for the members of Cypress Point and was not available to the public, thus its rarity. Donovan & Jerris L4870.
Curiously, the book only contains a half dozen color pictures of the course, which is a shame since it is so spectacularly beautiful. You can get a sense from this picture, seen above, which is from the frontispiece of the book, of the fifteenth hole. I know the sixteenth gets all the press and renown. Personally, I like the fifteenth hole better. The cover of the book is seen below:
From the book, written by Grantland Rice, “this new course or links will be a fine test of golf, and in addition, it will have golf character and a scenic flare which will place it upon the peak. You can label it sensational, dramatic, spectacular or what you will, and still fall short of any worthy description.”
Although not an officially sanctioned club history, a nice book about Cypress is Alister Mackenzie’s Cypress Point Club by Geoff Shackelford, published by Sleeping Bear Press in 2000. This 190 page book gives a more detailed account of the history of the club than the club history. It also contains an in-depth, hole-by-hole analysis of the course. It contains more than 100 pictures, all of them historical. These black and white photos were taken in the 1930s to document Cypress Point as a matter of historical record. It’s amazing how the course looks almost exactly the same today. This book is widely available and considerably cheaper than the rare club history.
Although not wholly dedicated to Cypress Point, The Life and Work of Dr. Alister Mackenzie, also published by Sleeping Bear Press, highlights Mackenzie’s work at Cypress Point, including some nice pictures. The book gives a good overview of his thoughts behind the design and his collaboration with the owners. As we’ve written before, this is a gem of a book that we recommend all collectors have in their library.