Garden City

9th hole, 325 yards; This hole is a fine example of how golf at Garden City is about angles. And often times, what seems theobviousroute proves not to be ideal. In this case, the visible flag lures golfers further right offthe tee than is wise. Not only do they increase the distance they must carry across a valley of broken ground and bunkers, but the resultingstance in thefairway will likely be from a hanging lie. The flatter part of the fairway is well left and the golfer still only has a pitch to the green. A forty yard wide crossbunker fronts the green and it has helped this modest length hole retain its challenge despite advances in technology for almost a century.

This cross bunker is just as effective today as it was 100 years ago.

10th hole, 415 yards; One of our favorite holes in golf, this hole featuresboth fairway bunkers and a green thatis titledfrom front to back and from right to left. The golfer must first try to position his ball down the left hand side of the fairway (ie flirt with the fairway bunkers) in order to better hold his approach against the right to left green slope. In a dry summer, the play is to land the approach a full 20 yards short of the green and watch as it just trickles toward the forward hole locations. Of course, the rub with all such greens is that it is better to miss it long than short – any approach shot that goeslong leaves a relatively straightforward putt, chip, or bunker shot back up the green.

These fairway bunkers guard the best angle into the green.

The tilt of the green from front to back and from right to left is evident in this photograph, which was taken from the behind the left of the green.

11th hole, 425 yards; Visually one of the more dramatic holes on the course, the preferred angle into the green is from the right side of the fairway. To achieve that spot, the golfer must carry a row of diagonal bunkers. Conversely, should he pull his tee ball left, the approach is likely to be blind over broken ground.

A cautious tee ball to the left must carry across broken ground that includes this bunker.

14th hole, 345 yards; Around the same time that Trent Jones altered the 12th hole, he also performed work on the 14th green. Fortunately, the Club Board hired Tom Doak as the course consultant in 1987 and by 1994, this green had been restored to its original design. Considering its length, this is a hit the green or else proposition. The small pot bunkers won’t necessarily afford the golfer the desired stance or swing, and are best to be avoided!

Tom Doak's greenside bunkers replicate Travis' s favored form of pot bunkers.

Over the 14th green is no bargain either. The mighty 15th looms in the distance.

15th hole, 445 yards; The widest fairway on the course is of small consolation to the golfer because something is going to go wrong before this – the hardest hole on the course- is finished. An immense 10 foot deep cross fairway cuts across the entire fairway at the 300 yard mark from the tee. The green itself is the picture of innocence and has no bunkers around it but is severely titled from left to right. At all costs, the golfer must leave the ball to the right and below the hole.

Job #1 is to clear this crossbunker.

16th hole, 405 yards; Ben Crenshaw’s favorite hole on the course, the configuration of the fairway again lures the golfer to head straight for the green. In reality, the better angle of approach is from the right hand side of the fairway, away from the general direction of the green. From there, the golfer has a clear look down the green and can more readily chase his approach ontoit.

The approach from the left hand side of the fairway must carry this cluster of bunkers in the foreground, avoid the water hazard further on the left before then taking the slope down onto the green.

18th hole, 190 yards; One of the appealing features of the course is that the 1st tee leaves directly from the clubhouse and the 18th green almost appears enveloped by the clubhouse. This is sense of going andreturning is rarely found in the United States. St. Andrews is the quintessential course in this regards andspeaking of which Travis paid her Eden hole a complimentby rebuilding this green complex after it with two deep frontbunkers, a steeply pitched green from back to front and a deep pit across the back which replicates the fear of going over at St. Andrews. (Ironically, this back pit is named the Travis as it proved to be TheOld Man’sfinal undoing in a semi-final match duringthe 1908 U.S. Amateur Championship).Neither Charles Blair Macdonald nor Seth Raynor ever built a superior Eden hole, try as they might.

The start with a drivable par fourfollowed by a short iron par three is unusual andto end with two non-par four holes isequally unusual.Such pacing is a sure sign that the architects took what the lands gave them and that they never tried to make the configuration of holesconform to someimaginary ideal.

Since the late 1980s, much has been made about a return to minimalism. Hundreds of courses have been built under the banner of’following nature’s lead’and yet, other than Sand Hills, none of these courses is a match forGarden City. In fact, so many architects now claim to be minimalists that it gets confusing. However, one thingremains quiteclear: whensaid architectsuse the word minimalism, and all the good that it connotates in regards to course design, they are only hoping that they can begin to build a coursethat achieves so many of thetimeless idealsas the one found atGarden City.

The End