Edel’s interest in all things Argentine dates back to the early 1990s, when he began migrating south for the winter to teach, as do many in his profession. Most descend no farther than Florida, but Edel pressed onward, traveling throughout Central and South America. He saw his share of backwater towns, but in Buenos Aires, Edel flourished: "It was like the Europe I could never afford to get to, and it came at me from every angle—the food, the music, the openness of the people. It sure beat the mundane country club life in the States."
Edel landed at a driving range called Costa Salguero, where he was befriended by Hernández, who began booking students for the American through his pro shop. Edel asked his new friend if he could stay with him for a week or two while he searched for an apartment. "After a few days, Enrique said, ’Why don’t you just stay?’ So I did—for months at a time." And although their friendship often works on the level of frat-boy ribbing (Hernández’s highway profanity proved to be a long-running joke between the two), by 1994, when Edel met his wife, Barbara, during a power outage on the subway in Santiago, Chile, it was clear that he had found a second family.
"There are times in life," he says of Hernández, "when you ask yourself: ’Without that person, where would I be?’" This universal idea—how we are shaped, even transformed, by those around us—hit home during a round of golf at the Jockey Club between Hernández and his friend Pedro Cossio. That day, Hernández made a discovery that would change several lives: the existence of a routing plan, intensely creative and deeply idiosyncratic, bearing MacKenzie’s signature.
"Pedro and I were talking about MacKenzie," Hernández recalls, "and how not everyone at the Jockey really appreciates what they have here. Then he told me that one of his friends had the plans for a course MacKenzie designed for his family. I’d never heard of anything like it in my life."
Edel, whose own deeply felt connection to the architect goes back to the stories his father used to tell about caddying at Cypress Point in the 1950s, was blown away. "I hadn’t seen the plans yet, but Enrique compared them to a new Atocha," he says, referring to the 1985 discovery of a sunken Spanish galleon off Key West that yielded a haul of gold and jewels worth a half-billion dollars. "But in those days I never got any sense that the owner was interested in selling. So I just filed it away and went on with my life."
Nonetheless, the plans were resurfacing, and the pieces of their ultimate resurrection were beginning to fall into place.
El Boquerón does not appear in Mac- Kenzie’s autobiography, The Spirit of St. Andrews— a document that itself was lost for decades until his step-grandson, Raymund Haddock, discovered it in his father’s papers. The Jockey Club makes an appearance in that book, perhaps because it was the primary focus of the 1930 trip and the only course that MacKenzie would have seen in something close to a completed state before he left Argentina.