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Fox Chapel

Fox Chapel

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Patrick Koenig
01/06
Patrick Koenig
ArchitectBadgeSeth Raynor
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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The affluent Pittsburgh suburb of Fox Chapel is home to one of Seth Raynor’s best, yet least celebrated designs – perhaps the fact that Fox Chapel Golf Club lies a couple of miles across the Allegheny River from the mighty Oakmont Country Club has something to do with it being overlooked by many?

Nevertheless, the charm of Fox Chapel goes way beyond the stucco walls and red-tile roofs of its old clubhouse and – ever since its inception in 1923 – generations of golfers have fallen under the classic design spell of its esteemed architect.

GalleryPatrick Koenig
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Patrick Koenig
01/06

Many improvements have been made over the years to maintain the validity of the course in the modern era, with a recent program of tree removal a prime example of keeping the layout true to the Raynor vision; that of a course which “rewards the well struck golf shot while appropriately penalizing the ill-advised stroke”.

Measuring a challenging 6,706 yards from the championship tees with a lowly par of 70 (par 73 for women), Fox Chapel was an unqualified success as host course for the 32nd Curtis Cup match in 2002, with the ladies of the USA team winning the match against Great Britain and Ireland by 11 points to 7.

Rudo, aka Mr Top 100, commented as follows: "I played Fox Chapel for the first time in September 2013 and was looking forward to the return. It is a classic Raynor design with one of the great Biarritz holes anywhere (#17). Other great holes certainly include #2 (a short uphill par 5 to a punchbowl green), #3 (a downhill Eden par 3), #6 (a wonderful Redan par 3), #8 (a tough long par 4, uphill to a brilliantly situated green), as well as #11, 13, 16, and 18 on the back. Playing a course such as Fox Chapel reaffirms my belief that Seth Raynor is golf’s most brilliant course architect."

Fazio Design’s Tom Marzolf completed a restoration in 2020 using old aerial photographs. According to Golf Course Architecture, “ the project has included building 97 new bunkers to shapes as seen on the original 1923 course. Sand lines, mowing lines, green shapes, fairway widths have all been restored to how Raynor originally designed them.”

“In an era that rewards things new, this course will serve as the benchmark restoration on how to properly and historically preserve the game and recreate the flair of the 1920s golden era of golf course architecture,” said Tom Marzolf. “The golf course looks like a genuine walk back in time to the 1920s!”

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Course Architect

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Seth Raynor

Long Island-born Seth Raynor ran a successful surveying business before being hired by Charles Blair Macdonald in 1908 to inspect the property that would become The National Golf Links of America.

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