Garden City Golf Club is very different to most courses that are regularly ranked in the World Top 100. The strict men-only policy of this exclusive club puts it in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
In 1897, when the course first opened for play on the Hempstead Plain in Long Island Village, it was in the middle of rural countryside. Today, Garden City Golf Club is an oasis in the middle of suburban sprawl.
Devereux Emmet originally designed the course in 1896. In 1902, the 9th US Open was staged here – Laurie Auchterlonie was the eventual winner. Walter Travis made some modifications to the course in the Roaring Twenties and he can probably claim to have turned Garden City into the fascinating layout that it is today.
The ground is ostensibly light loam so many people classify Garden City as an inland links or a heathland course. Classifying Garden City as either a links or heathland course would be wrong, even though it does possess many of their characteristics.
Garden City is a course for the minimalists, so it's just as well Tom Doak completed a restoration programme here in 2015. There’s nothing bold or brash about Garden City it’s just a simple, natural course which does everything in a reassured but understated way.
In the book Planet Golf USA, author Darius Oliver writes: “The topography at Garden City isn’t overly dramatic, but the course is beautifully routed and the designers did a superb job squeezing quality holes out of fairly unremarkable landforms. With plenty of half-par holes and hazards arranged to create genuine risk/reward dilemma, Garden City is particularly well suited to matchplay… Steeped in the traditions of early American golf, Garden City is an unpretentious treasure that continues to excite and delight.”
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Tom Doak studied Landscape Architecture at Cornell University where he won a scholarship to travel to the British Isles, he then spent seven months on the road, literally living on the links.