Holes to Note
1st hole, 305 yards; A different kind ofstarting hole thatis highly effective at grabbingyour attention. With OB right and a series of mounds and bunkers left, the fairway needs to be found. The approach over a man-made burn is to an interesting green that features small plateaus in both the back left and right corners of the green. Welcome to some of Raynor’s finest greens!
3rd hole,170 yards; Along with Southhampton, this is the only punchbowl par three that the authors are aware of in the Raynor family.At one point,a view was cut through the ridge fronting the green, but Rewinski faithfully restored thehole to its original form. Only the flag itself, invariablyflapping in the ocean breeze, is visible from the tee and blind bunkers on either side of the green in the punchbowl itself are an interesting touch.
7th hole, 200 yards; While it is generally acknowledged that National Golf Links of America and Piping Rock possess the finest Redan holes, what other courses possess a Redan as good or better than the original at North Berwick? Well, this one is one of the few. Uniquely, theleft hand side of the green slopes away from the frontbunker and a fade can work wellfor certain hole locations.
11th hole, 180 yards; Originallya trueShort hole at 125 yards, the tee has undergone two expansions to wherethe holecan now require a long iron. With the bay visible in the background, it is an exhilerating spot but the highlight is the imaginative double bowl green which creates all sorts of interesting hole locations. This hole never required additional length to be interesting.
13th hole, 320 yards; The length hole thatRaynor didn’t excel at. In the Raynor family, the 10th at The Creek, the 3rd at Fishers Island, the 14th at Country Club of Charleston, and the 13th at Shoreacres are of great merit but they are the exception rather than the rule. The tee ball must find a fairway that narrows in between bunkers and ridges the further one drives it but the semi-blind approach shot over a mound to another interesting green is the real test.
14th hole, 515 yards; A hole thatcalls for a clear plan of attack.If the golfer hopes to reach the green in two, he must flirt with the left edge of a fairway bunker off the tee with his driver. Then he faces a series of randomly placed bunkersthat are scattered around the eighty yard mark from the green. Can he carry them? If the hole location is left, does he lay up right? If it is right, does he lay up left? The double plateau green is not the place to find out that you have made a mistake in judgement.
15th hole, 400 yards; Should be called the alphabet hole. A series of five bunkers form a’v’ sixty yards short of the green. The green itself hasinternal contours thatresemble a C. Along with the originalmounds that encase all but the front of the green like an upside down U, this holehighlights some of the reasons why Westhampton exudes anold fashionedcharm.
In terms of the pacing,the heart of the challengeis the tough stretch from the3rd through the 12th. However, what may not be as evident is how readily the golfer can also drop a shot at each of the next four holes, where the greens are highly contoured and offer numerous tricky hole locations that make thegolfer work hard to get the ball into the hole, even though he may have had only a short iron approach shot. Furthermore, Raynor cleverly preceded theseboldly contoured greens with the most innocuousone onthe course (the12th green), a clear indication that Raynor understand the subtiler aspects of the game even though he was not a keen golfer himself.
The onlyfeature that Westhampton lacks that many of Raynor’s finest courses possess is a sense of expansiveness.Fishers Island, Yeamans Hall, Camargo, Lookout Mountain, Yale, etc. are blessed with arare sense of vastness.Not that Westhampton is on a small acreage, it is not, and Raynor used the140 acres well. Nonetheless, when you consider the prevalent windy conditions, there are several spots on the back nine where you might sense being cramped on a crowded summer weekend. Perhaps this intimateness led Raynor to focus so much detail on the green contouring.
Only on Long Island could this course still be a well keep secret. Think about the variety itoffers. A first rate set of one shot holes.Three very appealing short two shot holes. A pair of fine three shot holes.Astretch with numeroustough 440 yard holes. And all these holes arecapped by a superb set of greens. How good is it? Even Raynor’s mentor Charles Blair Macdonaldwould have been complimentary of his pupil’s first effort!