Hole 4 (“Devil’s Garden”): 193 yards, par 3 / Hole 13 (“The Creek”): 171 yards, par 3

The testing par-3 4th runs along Shinnecock Bay to a wild Biarritz-style bunkerless green that, in canting severely from right to left, has Redan properties as well. Few greens in the world of golf combine both of these classic designs. But whose design was it? We know it was not Bendelow’s; his green was surrounded by three bunkers. Could it be an homage, then, to one of the original Wilson and/or Hepburn greens? Recall that, at Shinnecock Hills, Wilson succeeded Willie Dunn, Jr., the architect of the original Biarritz in France, and that Hepburn’s nine at QFC included a Redan and a Plateau. Poetic though that option sounds, the 4th green is a new creation of relatively recent vintage, according to Mr. Murray, remodeled by two separate architects over the last several decades (Frank Duane in the 1970s and Stephen Kay in the late 1980s). In any event, the 4th not only offers QFC’s only bunkerless green, but is directionally unique to the course, running northeast and perpendicular to each of the other holes. Although a pond short left of the green seems well out of play from the tee, the prevailing right wind off the bay sends many indifferent tee balls to a watery grave. The 4th demands a pure strike.

As at the 3rd, Quogue’s flat terrain makes the view from the 4th tee unrevealing. The golfer playing the course for the first time has little idea of the contours and hazards that await.

As at the 3rd, Quogue’s flat terrain makes the view from the 4th tee unrevealing. The golfer playing the course for the first time has little idea of the contours and hazards that await.

A bay inlet some 100 yards from the tee should be mere eye candy, but more than one fatted tee ball has turned this natural hazard into a four-letter word.

A bay inlet some 100 yards from the tee should be mere eye candy, but more than one fatted tee ball has turned this natural hazard into a four-letter word.

Combined with the mounds to the right, the right-to-left tilt of the 4th green calls for a tee shot played to the green’s right edge. The tilt also makes navigating the Biarritz swale doubly difficult, as the golfer must judge not only the pace through the swale (the usual concern in putting such greens), but also the deeply sloping line.

Combined with the mounds to the right, the right-to-left tilt of the 4th green calls for a tee shot played to the green’s right edge. The tilt also makes navigating the Biarritz swale doubly difficult, as the golfer must judge not only the pace through the swale (the usual concern in putting such greens), but also the deeply sloping line.

The 4th’s Biarritz swale and Redan slope are most apparent from behind the green.

The 4th’s Biarritz swale and Redan slope are most apparent from behind the green.

Hole 5 (“The Narrows”): 412 yards, par 4 / Hole 14 (“Canal”): 470 yards, par 5

This brutal par-4 back into the prevailing wind plays more like a short par-5, asking a great deal of the golfer from tee to green. (From the “back nine” tee, the hole is a much more manageable par-5.) Because the 5th is the closest one gets to the bay and ocean at QFC, the wind is also at its strongest.

The most demanding tee shot on the course must avoid not only the reeds and bay and infamous convex bunkers to the right...

The most demanding tee shot on the course must avoid not only the reeds and bay and infamous convex bunkers to the right…

...but also the inlet from the bay on the left, invisible from the tee, that separates the 5th from the 6th.

…but also the inlet from the bay on the left, invisible from the tee, that separates the 5th from the 6th.

Quogue’s enviable turf—here, looking back down the 5th—shines as sunset approaches.

Quogue’s enviable turf—here, looking back down the 5th—shines as sunset approaches.

The battle isn’t over once the golfer reaches the green, where a small false front, as well as a bisecting ridge, must be navigated. Approach shots hit long or right have a chance of being kept from the bay by another well-positioned rear-guard moat bunker.

The battle isn’t over once the golfer reaches the green, where a small false front, as well as a bisecting ridge, must be navigated. Approach shots hit long or right have a chance of being kept from the bay by another well-positioned rear-guard moat bunker.

Hole 6 (“The Marshes”): 281 yards, par 4 / Hole 15 (“Bridge Hole”): 245 yards, par 4

After the inevitable beatdown administered by the 5th, where a bogey often feels like a good score, the drivable par-4 6th provides a welcome respite. The golfer still confronts obstacles, however, albeit on a smaller scale than on the 5th, as the tee shot at the 6th is guarded on the right by reeds and marsh and on the left by the burn-like inlet that meanders the length of the hole. The 6th’s petite nature means the golfer can navigate these hazards with as little as a mid-iron. But even with a mid-iron in hand, the prevailing left-to-right wind brings the reeds more into play than one might imagine, often requiring a starting line uncomfortably close to the inlet on the left. As late as 1980, according to an aerial from that year, there were two bunkers short of the green at the end of the fairway; their subsequent removal has simplified gauging depth on the approach.

A wooden bridge connects the teeing ground to the fairway at the 6th, adding to Quogue’s walkable charm.

A wooden bridge connects the teeing ground to the fairway at the 6th, adding to Quogue’s walkable charm.

The slightly domed green is the 6th’s best defense. A back-left hole location, atop the dark-green strip of grass three-quarters of the way into the green on the left, is the green’s most devilish.

The slightly domed green is the 6th’s best defense. A back-left hole location, atop the dark-green strip of grass three-quarters of the way into the green on the left, is the green’s most devilish.

Looking back down the 6th, with the subtle rolls of Quogue’s greens.

Looking back down the 6th, with the subtle rolls of Quogue’s greens.

Hole 7 (“Cherry Grove”): 414 yards, par 4 / Hole 16 (“The Stretch”): 434 yards, par 4

Playing in the same direction as the 6th, the 7th hole is Quogue’s longest par-4, a slight dogleg-right with out of bounds lining the entire right side. A wide fairway and large, receptive green—as well as a downwind orientation—combine to make the 7th play easier than the 5th, the course’s second-longest par-4 by only two yards.

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Though the 7th fairway is wide enough to make the out of bounds an afterthought, bunkers on the inside right corner (in the foreground of this reverse view) and the outside left corner tend to exert a gravitational pull on even a slightly mishit drive.

The wide, open-front green allows golfers of all abilities and lengths off the tee to play an approach shot to suit their individual style on this mid-length par-4. Note the high-lipped bunker guarding the fairway’s right side, similar to several at Garden City.

The wide, open-front green allows golfers of all abilities and lengths off the tee to play an approach shot to suit their individual style on this mid-length par-4. Note the high-lipped bunker guarding the fairway’s right side, similar to several at Garden City.

The 7th features more moat bunkering—this time to prevent overly bold shots from reaching Quaquanantuck Road. This reverse view highlights the width and playability that are foremost among Quogue’s characteristics.

The 7th features more moat bunkering—this time to prevent overly bold shots from reaching Quaquanantuck Road. This reverse view highlights the width and playability that are foremost among Quogue’s characteristics.

Hole 8 (“Quaquanantuck”): 379 yards, par 4 / Hole 17 (“The Stadium”): 347 yards, par 4

Though measured as a short par-4 on the scorecard, the 8th often plays like a mid-length hole into the wind, as it doglegs slightly to the right. After the simplest of par-4 tee shots at QFC, the golfer is faced with a mid-iron or wedge to the largest green on the course—one that used to be even deeper, as the front third was recently converted to fairway-height grass.

A series of three strip bunkers guards the right side of this wide fairway. Some have noted the resemblance to those at Pine Valley’s 2nd hole. According to historical aerials, these bunkers appear to have been added for the first time in the 1970s (and, then, only as two before eventually becoming three).

A series of three strip bunkers guards the right side of this wide fairway. Some have noted the resemblance to those at Pine Valley’s 2nd hole. According to historical aerials, these bunkers appear to have been added for the first time in the 1970s (and, then, only as two before eventually becoming three).

The difficulty on the approach comes in gauging distance to the flagstick, as mounds and spectacle-like bunkers well short of the green, and newly revealed openness behind the green, complicate depth perception.

The difficulty on the approach comes in gauging distance to the flagstick, as mounds and spectacle-like bunkers well short of the green, and newly revealed openness behind the green, complicate depth perception.

From behind the 8th green earlier in the evening, the high back lips of the three spectacle bunkers short of the green are readily visible, as is the fall off at the back of the green into another rear-guard moat bunker.

From behind the 8th green earlier in the evening, the high back lips of the three spectacle bunkers short of the green are readily visible, as is the fall off at the back of the green into another rear-guard moat bunker.

Hole 9 (“Long”): 534 yards, par 5 / Hole 18 (“Home”): 408 yards, par 4

The 9th plays slightly right to left, mirroring the par-5 1st, and across Quaquanantuck Road, only this time back home to the clubhouse. Because the hole is often downwind, reaching it in two shots is possible for the long hitter—especially due to one final inviting open-front green. But a hedgerow set menacingly close to the right-hand bunkers separates the green from the driving range and out of bounds.

The recent replacement of trees with bunkers and mounds between the 9th (right) and 1st (left) fairways gives Quogue a more expansive feel.

The recent replacement of trees with bunkers and mounds between the 9th (right) and 1st (left) fairways gives Quogue a more expansive feel.

The proximity of the clubhouse and pro shop to the final, two-tiered green evokes a timeless tradition and ensures that efforts not to misplay an approach on the home hole will be closely watched.

The proximity of the clubhouse and pro shop to the final, two-tiered green evokes a timeless tradition and ensures that efforts not to misplay an approach on the home hole will be closely watched.

After the round, golfers can enjoy drinks with broad views from the balcony atop the new clubhouse, immediately behind the 1st tee.

After the round, golfers can enjoy drinks with broad views from the balcony atop the new clubhouse, immediately behind the 1st tee.

One final glance over the shoulder on the way out reminds the golfer that flat can indeed be beautiful.

One final glance over the shoulder on the way out reminds the golfer that flat can indeed be beautiful.

A round at QFC should take no more than 90 minutes—and can easily last only 60. It is therefore the perfect course for weekends spent with families, the heart of Quogue’s low-key culture. One can manage a round at QFC every day, even twice a day, without interfering with, or missing out on, family plans. The flatness of the course means that the walk is easy at any age; refreshingly, push carts abound at QFC.

In my introductory post on this site, I mentioned learning at Yale not only the game but “the architecture that animates it.” What is more obvious is that land animates architecture, and that is especially true at Quogue, led by its rightfully recognized architect, Tom Bendelow. Simplicity—in the land, in the design, and in the culture of play—is what sets QFC apart. Golfers fortunate enough to play it will encounter the game’s timeless essence: Hitting a ball across an open field, finding it, and repeating the process over and over again. The name “Quogue Field Club” says it all.

THE END