Owned and operated by the city of Rye, the 18-hole layout at Rye Golf Club is a Devereux Emmet design from 1921 which occupies 126 acres of the former George C. Park and Allen estates in Westchester County.
One can only have imagined what Rye was like after its opening. The layout provides a genuine meandering between interior land bracketed by trees to holes along the waterway with the Long Island Sound beckoning in the nearby distance.
The Rye of today is still worth a look but the totality of the course is a clear notch or two behind the gems Devereux Emmet created.
The flow of the routing is still present but the course is in need of a makeover which would resurrect the heart and soul of the layout.
The outward nine is the better of the two sides. Plenty of ground movement, bolstered by a routing that never falls into a predictable routine. The opening hole sends a clear message that one needs to be ready to go right from the outset. The par-4 of 439 yards does not suffer fools gladly. The par-5 2nd reverses direction and it's here you can appreciate the characteristics of the land.
The next few holes take a step back but matters return front and center with the demanding long par-4 7th which ends with a green nestled immediately in front of the adjoining waterway. At the 8th and 9th, you play alongside the waterway area and the juxtaposition of the terrain switch is clearly memorable.
The inward side, sadly, retreats a good step or two from the front. The 10th and 17th holes, are facsimile par-3s that don't really differentiate from one another. The positioning along the waterway is a good touch but having the holes play in a similar direction is hardly innovative.
The two noteworthy holes include the long par-5 11th which climbs to a green on the far end of the property. The par-4 16th is also worth mentioning. The hole works well with a greensite well-protected and interestingly contoured.
Rye could be so much more via a carefully thought-out renovation plan, however, being a municipally-owned layout can prove hard to do in tight budgetary climate. Rye has a few moments of note and if such an updating does take place the vision of Emmet can once again come to life for more than just a handful of holes.
M. James Ward