Fishers Island, N.Y. / Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1926) / Gil Hanse (2000)
Probably the consummate design of architect Seth Raynor, who died in early 1926, before the course had officially opened. His steeply-banked bunkers and geometric greens harmonize perfectly with the linear panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. The quality of the holes is also superb, with all Raynor’s usual suspects, including not one but two Redan greens, one on a par 4.
100 Greatest History: Ranked 1969-74 and since '01. Highest ranking: No. 9, 2009-10. Previous ranking: 11
“There may be no more spectacular setting for a golf course in the United States. Water views with an idyllic New England shoreline framing it: This defines exquisite in golf. Seth Raynor was a genius; this is truly one of a kind.”
“From the simple and effective Cape Cod-style clubhouse, to the subtle elegance of the water, this place oozes with traditional values of the game. The cart paths are fairly simple sand and pebbles, matching the local environment. While the summer “cottages” that adorn the property are quite spectacular, the structures of the club are quite austere: plain siding with clean paint, white trim and tucked away from the course itself. The natural faces to the bunkers with long grass and wide-tooth rakes made the bunkers difficult -- places to avoid rather than places to land.”
“This course has every bit of the aesthetic beauty within the course, not to mention outside the course. The lines of the fairway horizons contrast beautifully with the ocean lines in the background. On some holes, the cavernous bunkers and steep slopes down to the beach provide a depth that contrasts with the elevated greens and flat approaches. The use of native grasses to separate the golf course from cottages blends in beautifully with the surroundings, and some of the archaic trees that adorn the property put out a soothing white noise with the leaves rustling in the ocean breeze. The ocean enters the course and is a fantastic internal design feature on many holes, most notably the 18th.”
“Even though the Raynor template holes are different in their own unique ways, the collective continuity comes from the ocean, the bunkering, the undulating fairways, and the green complexes. Many of the greens appear almost flat, with subtle undulations that are very difficult to read. The beauty of the site can possibly mask some issues with a few weak holes (#1 and #17 spring to mind), but the stretch from 2-12 is about as good as it gets. Unquestionably the best Biarritz, best Alps/Punchbowl, and best Eden in the Raynor portfolio.”
“This is the most scenic course I have ever played with no other coming close. Couple the amazing views with some of the most architecturally interesting golf holes you’ll see, and you have an amazing place for golf. This is as good as it gets.”