Wykagyl Country Club
New Rochelle, New York
United States of America
Seventh hole, 170 yards; This original Van Etten hole plays across a valley to a green benched into the far hillside. As green speeds increased, so did the hole’s infamy as it enjoyed more back to front cant than any green on the course. In recent times though, the green had become a caricature of itself with only three viable hole locations. Coore & Crenshaw worked as hard on this green as any to a point where some members voiced concern that its character might be too muted. Coore smiles because this remains the single toughest green on which to consistently get down in two putts.
Eighth hole, 445 yards; As was common in the early 1900s when Van Etten built the course, the playing corridors were mostly straight with a only few that featured attractive bends. By today’s standards, Van Etten’s design was deficient of playing angles, save for today’s fourteenth. Ross’s bunkers and Tillinghast’s work and the fine-tuning by Coore & Crenshaw corrected that. Holes five, six, fifteen and this one provide testimony. Ross abolished Van Etten’s consecutive par 3’s in favor of this superb dogleg left. It is a contender for the best hole on the course and is certainly among the very best in Westchester.
Ninth hole, 495 yards; The most unusual aspect of Van Etten’s remaining work is embodied here. Fans of the Home hole at Yale Golf Club will appreciate Van Etten’s gumption in his take-no-prisoners approach of having this fairway scale a small mountain. He did something similarly at the last which prompted Harry Vardon to remark, ‘It is only by remembering that the clubhouse is at the top of this mountain that the portly Member even summons up courage to attempt the ascent.’ While Ross left the Home hole intact, Tillinghast did not but both men were thankfully content to leave the 9th as Van Etten routed it.
Tenth hole, 515 yards; How holes interact with those around them offers a good barometer of a course’s variety. At the three-shot tenth, the approach is uphill to a three-tiered putting surface that is generally out of view. The next is a one-shotter, steeply downhill and everything is apparent while standing on the tee. Even more impressive is the juxtaposition of the 9th and 10th holes. The former features a flattish green well below the fairway while the latter possesses one of the course’s most severe greens situated well above the golfer. So it goes, throughout the round there are ever-shifting challenges. At the end, an inescapable conclusion is reached that everything has been asked of the golfer in a most delightful manner.
Twelfth hole, 500 yards; Laid across a high section of the property, the 12th fairway actually enjoys the best micro undulations courtesy of boulders buried beneath. The course’s largest hazard pares the fairway width in half at the hitting zone and does what it should: make some members sob with regret, which is another way of saying that it is well-placed! Combined with the knob green perched at the edge of a ravine, the thinking golfer has to consider if a driver is the prudent play. It is a marvelous case study of how a spacious hole remains tactical.