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Fox Chapel Golf Club

May 03, 2021

Jon Cavalier

147. Fox Chapel Golf Club

Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1925)

When Fox Chapel hosted the 1985 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship (won by Michiko Hattori), some observers were disappointed that its Seth Raynor design seemed so ordinary. Greens had become circular, many bunkers were overgrown and those that still existed bore fancy modern shapes. Most alarming, the Fox’s 17th, originally a Biarritz hole, had the front portion of the green and trench mowed as fairway. In the early 1990s, architect Brian Silva was called in to restore Raynor’s features. He reclaimed green dimensions, including the Biarritz, and recaptured original bunkers, particularly the necklace wrapped around the front of the 11th (“Short”) green. Tom Marzolf, of Tom Fazio Design, has continued to refine and draw forth more Raynor-inspired shaping and bunkering--this latest work debuted in the fall of 2020.

100 Greatest History: Ranked on original 1966 ranking. Second 100: Ranked 2017 through current. Highest ranking: No. 128, 2017-2018. Previous ranking: No. 160.

Watch Golf Digest’s latest “Every Hole At” course videos below:

Panelist comments, Fox Chapel Golf Club:

"All the classic templates plus rare variations of them: #2 a punchbowl green on a par 5; #4 reverse road hole; #6 reverse redan; #7 a drivable Alps hole; and #17 middle of the green Biarritz, which might have the deepest swale outside of Yale. Classic green complexes all around the course. The course has withstood the test of time in spite of it not having the additional real estate needed to extend the course to combat modern technology. Nonetheless, the par 3s are really good—one short, two medium, and one long—all challenging."

"This Seth Raynor is so very good and is a restoration away from competing for our 100 Greatest. The property is set upon rolling hills and creeks that cut across the property, creating an interesting canvas for the master architect in Raynor."

"The course was so wonderful from start to finish. I could not believe how quickly the template holes came up. This is a ton of fun from start to finish."

"The Biarritz at the 17th is something that every golfer should experience: the swale is six feet deep!"

"I've played it in firm and fast conditions, but I've also seen it wet on several occasions, which lengthens it but also does not offer a firm and fast turn which detracts from the intention of the aforementioned design elements. And there are three holes (third hole, sixth and 10th) whose original design is impacted by overgrown trees."

Jon Cavalier

Jon Cavalier

Jon Cavalier

Jon Cavalier

Jon Cavalier

Jon Cavalier