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Forsgate (Banks)

Monroe Township, New Jersey
ArchitectCharles Banks
Monroe Township, New Jersey
Rankings
  • Address375 Forsgate Dr, Monroe Township, NJ 08831, USA

Scottish immigrant, John A. Forster, arrived in the US literally down on his uppers, but he went from rags to riches, becoming the chairman of Crum & Forster Insurance Company. He purchased 50 acres of land in Monroe Township just before the First World War and built a dairy farm which he named Forsgate – an amalgam of his surname and his wife’s maiden name of Gatenby.

Forster was a keen golfer, so he continued to acquire new land adjoining the farm with the objective of creating a golf and country club. In the late 1920s he commissioned Charles Banks to fashion the golf course and Clifford Wendehack to design the clubhouse.

Charles Banks, an associate of C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor in the 1920s, was nicknamed “Steam Shovel” and the former school teacher turned architect had an affection for constructing replica holes with deep greenside bunkers. Sadly Banks died aged 49 in 1931, just before Forsgate was finished.

Highlight holes on the Banks course include the 216-yard Eden at the 3rd; the reverse Redan at the 217-yard 7th; the 163-yard Short at the 12th (with wonderful horseshoe-shaped interior contouring on the raised putting surface); and the 239-yard 17th with its fabulous Biarritz green. This group of par three holes is as good as you will find anywhere in New Jersey outwith Pine Valley.

This Golden Age design is complemented at a highly contrasting 36-hole facility by the Palmer course, which Hal Purdy set out as 9-hole track in 1961. The architect returned a decade later to add another nine then this 18-hole layout was named in honour of Arnold Palmer after he renovated the course in 1995.

Scottish immigrant, John A. Forster, arrived in the US literally down on his uppers, but he went from rags to riches, becoming the chairman of Crum & Forster Insurance Company. He purchased 50 acres of land in Monroe Township just before the First World War and built a dairy farm which he named Forsgate – an amalgam of his surname and his wife’s maiden name of Gatenby.

Forster was a keen golfer, so he continued to acquire new land adjoining the farm with the objective of creating a golf and country club. In the late 1920s he commissioned Charles Banks to fashion the golf course and Clifford Wendehack to design the clubhouse.

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