Devereux Emmet (1899)/ Walter Travis (R. 1906, 1913)/Tom Doak (R. 1988, 1996, 2001)
Minimalist in its design (you can still see the faint traces of old roadbeds over which the course was routed) and natural in its upkeep, Garden City G.C. is one of the great early tournament venues in the U.S. Before the 1908 U.S. Amateur, Walter Travis remodeled the course into what it is today, its strategies dictated by many deep pot bunkers. Travis installed them to promote "thinking golf," but one player soon dubbed Garden City the home of the "God-fearing approach shot."
100 Greatest History: Ranked 1966 and since 1981. Highest ranking: No. 25, 1997-1998. Previous ranking: No. 49
“Old-school and throwback in every way. Short walks from greens to tee boxes. The ground game can be an effective strategy at Garden City. The key is holding these smallish greens, and not leaving yourself with a tough up-and-down coming back.”
“Every serious architect should be required to play here to see how it is done properly and to see what NATURAL looks like.”
“The new sand-capping project to restore the course to its original design looks great! It will take a couple years before it takes hold, and plays the way it is supposed to play, but they have done a great job implementing this.”
“I don't think you can classify Garden City as a particular style of course, which speaks to its uniqueness. It's built on that sandy loam soil, but it's not by the water, so it isn't really a links. It looks kind of like a heathland course but it isn't, and I wouldn't call it a parkland course either. I can almost compare this course to Kingston Heath down in Australia in that the land acreage is tight but there is a fair amount of small ground movement that keeps the entire course interesting for everyday play.”
“Feels like a course in England rather than New York. This Walter Travis classic is steeped in history, as evidenced by the pictures, books and memorabilia that is throughout the clubhouse. The requirement of wearing loafers and a blazer inside anywhere out of the locker room adds to the mystique of the place. The finishing holes are not particular stout, but it finishes with a long par 3 to the green that backs into the clubhouse, and shares the putting green like Oakmont. This gives the onlookers a great opportunity to watch and bet on those coming in, adding to the ambiance of the place.”