Review for Fox Chapel

Reviewer Score:


I've played most Macdonald, Banks and Raynor courses, this my most recent. I need to catch up on my reviews here so I'll offer this one. Recently updated (Earlier some Silva bunker work - I do not know its status now) by Marzolf of the Fazio group, I did not know what to expect nor did I know what was here before. This is an unusual oeuvre for several reasons. Several template holes just don't fit (Road being the most apparent) and there are many holes with local names not of the template character which are unique to collections of 'the usual suspects'. Old Macdonald at Bandon Dunes while not a MBR course is a great example just as NGLA or Chicago Golf for having most of the more familiar hole designs or at least their features. Combining features is prevalent such as at Fisher’s Island with the sublime Punchbowl-Alps hole. Shoreacres has many unique holes as does Fox Chapel but on far better land with superior results (save the so-so redan). There for example the Road is superb.

So at the Fox, The Biarritz! (evoking the best I’ve seen - Forsgate Banks) and Short are absolutely classic executions. The Eden (IMHO, the most difficult to reproduce old-world-links-inspired to do well) is quite good. The Redan (reverse) is excellent as well, but the club had called #7 Alps, they have properly re-named it Leven. A recent “Invert Bunker” added make it more clearly a Leven (17 NGLA e.g.) see photo. The Par 3 holes generally do come out the best in these courses.

They are land-locked at Fox Chapel and many holes will be difficult for the modern player to appreciate; as there is no room for lengthening many become a drive-pitch. The course is perhaps the lowest physical profile (Features low lying to the ground) MBR course I have encountered. The bunker work is very mechanical (I do not believe that this is how Brian left them) and leave me a bit cold. The excellent 16th (Bottle) a template that I particularly love, especially at NGLA, is extremely well done but the bunkering is very cookie-cutter and unimaginative. Ending on an odd note: The Club’s own site shows the road hole as having “Spectacle Bunkers when they are clearly a Principal’s Nose of quality.

Two more of note: #1 Away is of great character. #5 Cape is a concept poorly understand, it has nothing to do with the tee shot (and this one is peculiar) in naming the hold but the shape and position of trouble around the putting surface (Think CAPE in a bunker of “Capes & Bays”.

Overall Fox Chapel came a bit of a relative disappointment to me, yet it is a great round of golf and I would play there happily.

Unfortunately I had a camera death so a paltry few photos to show. I've added Leven, Bottle and Biarritz.

Date: October 06, 2021

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