Royce Brook features 36 holes designed by Steve Smyers, and the West course is reserved exclusively for the club’s members. Those who have played the public-access East course know that it is no pushover, at more than 6,900 yards and featuring large bunkers.
The architect takes both elements to further extremes on the west side of the property, extending the back yardage to nearly 7,200 yards with exaggerated sand hazards. Players will get a quick idea for what to expect when they arrive at the No. 2 tee and see three colossal bunkers in an amoeboid style that Smyers has used elsewhere in his portfolio. The green at this hole is almost as well-armored as its fairway.
These huge sand complexes take on a more intriguing role at No. 13 where Smyers pursues a “Bottle” strategy...those who choose to fly the bunkers and arrive at the left fairway will have a short and straight look at the green. Those who take the opposite approach will need quite the accurate fade to find themselves putting for birdie.
To get through a round at the Royce Brook West Course without finding a single bunker is worth celebrating, regardless of score; almost every green is well-defended.