Yeamans Hall Club
South Carolina, United States of America

13th hole, 185 yards, Eden; As patterned after the 11th on the Old Course at St. Andrews, the classic Eden hole must be exposed to the elements and have long views beyond the green. In the United States, the 11th at Fishers Island is impossible to beat for these reasons. Here, the hole is laid across the highest portion of the property, making it well exposed to whatever wind is about. Presently, though, the hole is more beautiful than fierce as it is handsomely framed by live oaks along the right and behind. The author would dearly love to see original photographs from the 1920s – were long views afforded past the green and out to the savannah?

Though a great admirer of the Eden at St. Andrews, Charles Blair Macdonald felt the hole had one weakness and that was that the golfer could merely putt the ball from tee to green. Thus, bunkers were placed short of the green complexes on many of his, and subsequently Raynor’s, adaptations of the Eden hole. True to Raynor’s original design, these short bunkers were restored in 2004.

14thhole, 430 yards; A ridge confronts the golfer in the landing area of the tee ball, insuring that a level stance is rare as well as robbing the tee ball of some run. This is unsettling because the approach shot is the most demanding single shot on the course. More dirt was moved in the creation of this green pad than on any other. The result is striking, with a twelve-foot deep bunker diagonally across the green’s left and a seven foot deep bunker straight down its right. This thoroughly original Seth Raynor hole is considered by many members to be the best on the course. As with the 15th at Shoreacres, it is interesting to note that sometimes Raynor’s own holes outshine the more famous holes from which he borrowed design attributes.

The deep left bunker guards the built-up green as Tom Doak tries to avoid three putting. Imagine trying to recover from it in the days of the niblick!

15th hole, 455 yards, Raynor’s Prize Dog-Leg; As explained in George Bahto’s Feature Interview on this site, Raynor’s Prize Dog-Leg is often the hardest two shotter on a Raynor course and this is the case at Yeamans Hall. Raynor’s perfect use of the terrain meant that no bunkers were required off the tee. A friend of no man, the length of this hole generally means that most pars are the result of a one putt. However, the severe hog’s back green does little to aid the golfer in his pursuit of said up and down.

Looking back up the twisting fairway.Typical of most Raynor’s Prized Dog-Legs, the cross bunkers 100 yards short of the green are no longer as menacing.

16th hole, 225 yards, Biarritz; The original intent of a Biarritz green design was to allow the golfer to hit a low running three wood, see the ball disappear in the trough, and then reappear onto the green. There is no denying the fun of seeing such a well executed shot. To have the word ‘fun’ linked to such a long one shotter is a tribute to the lasting merit of the Biarritz design. The 16th at Yeamans enjoys one attribute that other Raynor Biarritz holes are losing with the march of technology, namely the ability to continue to lengthen it so that Raynor’s desire for the golfer to play a (low running) fairway wood into a green can be preserved. Several other of his Biarritz holes are ‘stuck’ in the 200 yard range, merely a mid iron for some low markers these days. There is a good thirty yards back toward the 15th green that the Club can utilize, should it so desire.

As seen from the right, the golfer needs to successfully negotiate his tee ball at the 16th past the blind three foot swale that is just prior to the putting surface.

17thhole, 420 yards, Punchbowl; The start of a perfect finish, with the harder hole being the penultimate one. The punchbowl green is deeply bunkered both left and right, leaving the golfer to wonder how Raynor created such depth on a relatively flat hole.

The appealing Punchbowl green complex with its deep left bunker and its hidden…

…deep back right bunker. Here, on a flatter portion of the course, Raynor was a marvel at creating ‘steep and deep’ greenside bunkers without seemingly disturbing the land.

18th hole, 530 yards, Home; The author’s favorite type of finishing hole where anything from an eagle to a double bogey awaits. The extended tee area coupled with the restored serpentine bunkers around the sixty yard mark from the green make the golfer carefully plan his play. The last hundred and twenty yards feed down into a natural amphitheater where the golfer is surrounded by azaleas, live oaks and the white clapboard cottages near the clubhouse. The back to front slope on the green is appropriately the most severe on the course, and the match is not over until that final ticklish putt drops. This finish – charming, thoughtful, and well laid out – is the kind that the course deserves. Interestingly enough, Raynor originally had it as a long two shotter from the forward tee. Going back to the 14th hole, and playing the 18th as a two shotter, these five holes comprise the most difficult stretch of holes that the author has seen on any Raynor course. Indeed, though ‘charming’ is the word most closely associated with the course today, some Raynor students consider Yeamans Hall to be among his three ‘toughest’ designs when the courses originally opened for play (the other two being Chicago Golf Club with its relentlessly deep bunkers and Yale Golf Club with its heaving topography).

This photograph was taken just to the left of a bunker 135 yards from the green. When combined with the bunker straight ahead that is 75 yards from the green as well as…

…this striking snake bunker 50 yards from the green, the second shot at the Home hole is one of the most interesting shots on the course. Finding a second shot on a three shotter that holds so much interest is a rarity.

Yeamans Hall’s simple scorecard once again proudly reads on the front, ‘Yeamans Hall Club, 1925, Charleston, South Carolina, Seth Raynor, Architect.’ Raynor himself best summed up the virtues of the course in 1925 when he wrote, ‘In conclusion I would say this Course is going to combine the sandy seaside features so desirable, the rolling dune effects, the fairways made beautiful by magnificent live oaks and large pines bordering them, the encircling trees give a warmth to the course in the winter time which is very delightful, this combined with the invigorating climate and all the other fine features this spot contains, is bound to make one fall in love with golf at Yeamans Hall.’

The back of Yeamans Hall’s clubhouse (and outside dining) is a short walk from the 18th green. A quick bite and the golfer will be anxious to have another go around this classically presented and maintained Raynor masterpiece.

The End