Charles Blair Macdonald (1855-1939) made a name for himself in the field of his passion: golf. At 16, Macdonald traveled from his home in Chicago to his father’s native Scotland to study at St. Andrews University. It was there that he first took up the sport, and where he would regularly play on the Old Course at St. Andrews, which remains one of the oldest and most famous golf courses in the world (it has hosted the Open Championship a total of 29 times since 1873).
Though upon his return to the US he settled into a career as a successful stockbroker, Macdonald could not shake the pull of the game. In 1892, he founded the Chicago Golf Club, the first full-length, 18-hole golf course in America. In many circles, he is known as ‘the Father of American Golf,’ as he was instrumental in bringing the sport to the United States.
Designed to a Tee
Macdonald was considered a visionary golf course architect. He is known for designing Piping Rock, the Greenbrier, and the Mid Ocean Club, among others. He was equally as talented at playing the course as he was at designing them; in 1895, Macdonald won the first U.S. Amateur Championship, held at the Newport Country Club.
He is perhaps best known for his estate, ‘Ballyshear’, built in 1913 by architect F. Burrall Hoffman. Situated on 200 acres of land in New York’s Southampton, ‘Ballyshear’ overlooked the National Golf Links of America, another one of Macdonald’s iconic designs.
Freeman’s is pleased to offer an unheated Burmese sapphire ring and a sapphire bracelet, both which have descended from the Charles Blair Macdonald Estate. Lot 12 is a sapphire and fourteen karat gold bracelet centering a tapering panel of calibré-cut sapphires on a double snake chain, with estimated total sapphire weight of 10.30 carats.
To this day, the name Charles Blair Macdonald and Ballyshear still call to mind prestige and the history of American golf, and these two exquisite pieces, which will be offered in the May 17th Jewelry Sale, are as much a part of his legacy as the golf courses that bear his designs.
Featured Lot: A sapphire and diamond ring centered by a cushion-cut sapphire, weighing approximately 4.60 carats, surrounded by a baguette and circular-cut diamond gallery, mounted in platinum. $15,000 – 20,000.