SOUTH Moor Golf Club has chosen US Masters week to announce a new series of tournaments honouring the late Alister MacKenzie, who designed both their course and Augusta National.

This year’s US Masters was won by Sergio Garcia in a dramatic play-off finish at Augusta and South Moor’s CustomFitGolf MacKenzie Masters begins on May 6 with the first of four monthly Saturday opens.

Ten club golfers from each event will go through to the inaugural MacKenzie Masters Grand Final – also at South Moor, near Beamish Museum – on September 19.

The new series has been welcomed by one of the world’s leading experts on MacKenzie-designed courses, Andrew Mair, from Cramlington, Northumberland.

This year Mair, a member of the Northumberland golf club in Gosforth, is celebrating his 30th year of partnership in a course design business with former Ryder Cup captain Mark James.

MacKenzie, born in Leeds and the son of a Scottish doctor, is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

The MacKenzie portfolio of courses also includes Royal Melbourne and Cypress Point, dramatically overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the Monterey Peninsula in California.

“This new series is a fitting way for South Moor to honour a great man and their great course,” said Mair. “South Moor is not only an important contribution to Britain’s golfing heritage but also great fun to play and a fine example of MacKenzie at his best.

“He endowed their fast, mainly vast and beautifully shaped greens with contours, swales, crowns, tiers and terraces.

“And amid a natural terrain punctuated by gorse, heather and bracken, the sloping and undulating rig and furrow fairways on the par fours and fives make the course fascinating to play and encourage a sense of adventure.

“South Moor is a thinking golfers’ paradise. For connoisseurs of the sport, it should not be missed.”

Carefully blended into 187 acres of stunning countryside, South Moor started life as a miners-only club in 1923. MacKenzie was a friend of Basil Sadler, managing director of Holmside and South Moor Collieries.

A man of many talents, MacKenzie was the British Army’s camouflage expert in the First World War, served as a surgeon in the Somerset Light Infantry during the Boer War and gained degrees at Cambridge University in medicine, chemistry and natural science.

He considered psychology to be of enormous value to both golf architecture and camouflage and said: “It enables one to judge what is likely to give pleasurable excitement to the golfer and improvement in morale to the soldier.”

Golfers who would like to book a tee time for any the four MacKenzie Masters qualifiers can visit