Westhampton - New York - USA

Westhampton Country Club,
35 Potunk Lane,
Westhampton Beach,
New York (NY) 11978,

  • +1 631 288 1148

There are so many classic examples of Golden Age architecture on Long Island that even quality entries from Seth Raynor can be overlooked. Westhampton Country Club is one such example. It features several of the classic MacRaynor templates.

No. 9 is a stiff version of the “Bottle” template, playing more than 440 yards from the back tees. The riskier target from the tee, the thinner, rightward fairway, is also blocked at the front by a burn that flows across the fairway. And, despite the course playing a relatively short 6,350 yards, the Biarritz at No. 17 plays the full 205 yards to its up-and-down putting surface.

There are certainly, as at the majority of Raynor courses, a handful of original concepts that deserve equal attention. No. 9 is on, which seems to imitate the No. 14 hole at the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Wissahickon course, with a flying-vee of bunkers pointing away from the green, and challenging players who choose to lay up short of the bunkers that tighten the fairway.

The club does a quality job of feeling wide open despite being fit into a very tight piece of property along the Atlantic coast. Gil Hanse conducted a restoration during 2009.

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Reviews for Westhampton

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Description: Featuring the usual Seth Raynor array of replica holes, such as a Redan at the 7th and a Short at the 11th, the course at Westhampton Country Club is one of the architect’s earliest solo designs, dating back to 1915, which was restored by Gil Hanse in 2009. Rating: 6.8 out of 10 Reviews: 4
Steve MacQuarrie

Over a century ago, before courses were irrigated, architects often built topped shot bunkers across an entire fairway. These were intended to penalize topped shots that could run as far as well struck ones on the dry fairways of the day. Most courses have eliminated their topped shot bunkers as they tend to penalize only shorter hitters. (One of my courses, Wanumetonomy, eliminated theirs years ago and when our current architect suggested restoring them, the members would have none of it.) Westhampton has chosen to retain their topped shot bunkers, and while they are not hazardous to long hitters, I counted half a dozen holes where their presence would be problematic for shorter players…..and another four holes where only an aerial shot will find the green.

There are some nicely contoured greens, notably the three Seth Raynor templates—7 (Redan), 11 (Short, though the scorecard calls it Island) and 17 (Biarritz)—along with 14 (a single Plateau) 15, and 16.

Westhampton, one of Raynor’s earliest individual commissions, is a fun course. His work got better as he did more of it.

May 16, 2022
6 / 10
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John Sabino

The mark of a great golf course architect is how they can design a great course on a flat piece of property. Most certainly it is easier to design an interesting and varied course with hilly terrain and landforms that move about. The land at Westhampton Country Club is flat and sandy, although there are water features that come into play.

Westhampton, located in the town by the same name on Eastern Long Island has one of the better starting holes in the world of golf. It is Merionesque. You tee off in a little enclosed area bounded by the clubhouse on the left side and behind you and with a tall hedge on the right. It is a cozy little alcove that is both fun to start your round with and shelters you from the wind, creating a false sense of where to aim. As a course located near the seaside wind is always a factor at Westhampton.

The course plays 6,548 from the tips and has a gentle start with par fours of 300 and 322 yards. There are only two par fives. The real challenges are the collection of long par fours: there are five that play longer than 434 yards, with the longest (the 10th) playing 471. The third hole is a one-of-a-kind example which is a combination Eden/Punchbowl hole playing 130 yards.

One of the more interesting holes is the short par four 13th hole, which plays only 321 yards on a flat piece of land. To make the hole challenging Raynor put in a very large, make that a massive, mound in front of the green. It is roughly 75 feet long and 25 feet high and covered in grass. Behind the green is a smaller mound. This creates a neat little hole where any tee shot played to the right side of the fairway leaves a completely blind shot to the green. Only tee shots hit to the left third of the fairway give a peak at the green. It’s brilliant.

The other design feature Raynor employed to make the flat course challenging is the use of diagonal cross bunkers. Many of the holes have them and they are strategically placed to come into play on any mishit shot. Two of the more difficult holes are the 8th and 9th, which play into the prevailing wind. They are par fours of 434 and 451 respectively so you need to hit crisp and straight shots and avoid the difficult bunkers to have any chance of par.

The Redan and Biarritz holes are particularly good examples of these prototype holes. The seventh hole, the Redan, plays a healthy 211 yards and the bunkers left and right are deep. No, make that very deep. The green on the Biarritz, the 17th, is 60 sixty yards back to front(!) with the requisite deep swale in the middle.

I get it that Long Island has stiff competition when it comes to rating and ranking golf courses. There are few places that have better golf collectively. Even with that, though, I don’t understand how such a brilliant Raynor course doesn’t rank alongside Piping Rock and the Creek as a much higher rated course as it is a really good routing and a fun day’s golf.

December 07, 2021
7 / 10
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M. James Ward

When the top tier courses on Long Island are mentioned you won't find the herd of people touting the likes of Westhampton and that's surely because of the individual's ignorance. The first original Seth Raynor design has much to celebrate.

First, Fergal's earlier comments are spot on. Raynor took a fairly ordinary piece of terrain and the juxtaposition of marvelous green sites, the array / shape and positioning of the bunkers in concert with a routing on such small acreage makes for a stellar golf experience. Often times, people will bemoan flat sites, and more often than not, they are correct. Just check out the claptrap of layouts calling itself golf in the State of Florida! Flat sites require a keen sense of knowing how to blend things into the canvass without resorting to a heavy-handed approach that screams artificiality.

The key when playing Westhampton is getting off to a good start. The first three holes play cumulatively 806 yards with a breakdown of 300, 332 and 174 respectively. Sounds fairly simple -- right?

Plenty of golfers on their first visit to Westhampton see the stretch as easy fodder waiting to plunder at-will. Such hubris can be easily thwarted. The opening hole is utterly crafty. At 300 yards, strong players may attempt a go at the green if the prevailing wind cooperates, but such audacity will receive a swift kick in the butt if the brave effort is not executed with Robin Hood archer-like proficiency from the tee. A creek runs perpendicular to the line of play. The smart play is laying up short of the creek and opting for the short pitch. Having the wind at one's back may provide too much temptation to resist but patience should be the guiding thought.

The 2nd and 3rd are also birdie opportunities but Raynor crafted engaging green complexes and there is a slew of bunkers to avoid at both holes.

As I said earlier -- score early because when reaching the 4th tee the pushback from the course starts. And remains that way through the completion of the 12th hole. The 4th is 446 yards and when an all-star grouping of holes is mentioned from Long Island the 4th is a strong candidate for mention.

The 4th bends ever so slightly to the right and the fairway narrows as golfers seek to achieve max distance. The first bunker to avoid is a "donut" on the right side. Another follows on the same side just a few yards up. Should you pull the tee shot left -- a water penalty area lurks. The green is quite discerning on the type of approach shot that will be accepted -- and rejected.

One then crosses South Road to play holes 5 thru 8 and each is quite thought provoking. Westhampton only has two par-5 holes and the 5th can be reached in two shots when prevailing winds are assisting but the bold play has to be done with a safe cracker's touch because the slightest misfire and the alarm bells will be ringing.

The tee shot much escape the clutches of bunkers placed perfectly to snare the hapless play. Even after a well-placed tee shot is stuck when the pin is placed behind a devilish bunker on the front right the golfer has to show respect or pay the price. Yes, there is an opening on the left side but that opening is quite narrow to attain successfully.

The par-4 6th can usually play in a crosswind and the insertion of cross bunkers -- both near the tee and closer to the green make for a clear outcome to avoid. The par-3 7th is a strong hole -- usually with a crosswind and the featuring a deep green protected fiercely on either side by deep bunkers.

When reaching the par-4 8th you then play in succession three stout two-shot holes playing 434, 451 and 471 yards respectively. Generally, they are into the prevailing wind and each requires the best of plays in order to secure success. A player walking away with a grand total of 12 strokes for the 8th thru 10th holes has golfed their ball.

Westhampton then changes gears when you arrive at the short par-3 11th. Being able to flight a short iron when the wind is in one's face is no small feat to the well-bunkered hole. The mid-length par-4 12th that follows is a grand hole for strategic calculations. The hole turns right and narrows considerably. One has to decide is the risk worth the effort to get through such a perilous pathway. A pulled tee shot can reach the out-of-bounds. Go too far righty and a water penalty area awaits. There's also a massive bunker complex that eats up the right side beyond the water penalty area. The operative word for the 12th is think carefully and execute smartly.

The weakest hole on the inward side comes with the short par-4 13th. However, having a hole to recoup the hemorrhaging of scores from the preceding holes is not such a bad thing.

The second par-5 one encounters comes with the 14th. The hole turns back in a southerly direction and that usually means a headwind faced. The green is defended well with bunkers and a pesky water penalty area just to the right of the green.

The finishing four holes cement the day in fine fashion. The par-4 15th mandates precision off the tee and with the approach. At the short par-4 16th the possibility of birdie is there but it's not given away. The penultimate hole is a long par-3 -- 212 yards -- and one must deal with a massive length green flanked by deep bunkers. Club selection is no small matter when also encountering a hard to discern crosswind.

The finale is a good ender to the day. The hole's length at 400 yards is long enough to test all levels and the fairway is well-bunkered on both sides with offset bunkers. The green has enough internal riddles to solve and is encircled by bunkers.

Westhampton will not be placed in the same class as its nearby illustrious neighbors but the fun provided by the Raynor design is unmistakable. Matters are helped considerably by the turf preparation allowing golfers to use a ground game option when needed. So much talk is spent on the other Raynor designs but for those who are true aficionados it pays to see his original effort here.

What's interesting about Westhampton historically is that member Eugene Homans was the final match play conquest for Bobby Jones when claiming the 1930 U.S. Amateur at Merion and that triumph also meant securing the Grand Slam.

The other fascinating element about Westhampton was the club's desire to add to its golf total with a second 18. The layout was to be called Oneck Point and designed by Charles "steam shovel" Banks. However, because of the Great Depression the project was abandoned. One can only imagine what a 36-hole facility would have been given the handiwork of Raynor and Banks together.

M. James Ward

December 05, 2021
7 / 10
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Fergal O'Leary

This course gets a lot of well-deserved high praise subsequent to the most recent restoration by Gil Hanse in 2009. It is one of Raynor’s first efforts from 1915 and could easily be on the short list of favourites on Long Island.

The opening tee shot has somewhat of an intimate feeling to it being immediately adjacent to the clubhouse and surrounded by hedges. While the first two holes are short on paper, the location of the cross-bunkers will gobble up any tee shot that does not pay them enough respect.

The ‘punchbowl’ comes as the par 3 3rd hole, which was beautifully presented with mowing lines to die for and bunkers put back in at the back of the green by Hanse. We don’t often get the punchbowl as a par 3 (The Everglades Club in Palm Beach is another example), but when we do, it just adds to the excitement at what is my personal favourite template rendition.

Once you step on the par 4 4th tee box, the course takes on a ruthless personality for the rest of the opening half and beyond. With a stiff breeze, I faced a merciless string of long par 4s into unsympathetic greens that were gorgeous to look at but will break your heart at the flick of a switch. With one par 5 on the front side along with the Punchbowl and a tough Redan, the six par 4s on the outward nine will bring you to your knees when the wind blows. I loved the challenge and felt that I was on a serious golf course.

The back nine opens with a 470-yard par 4 which played into the wind for me that took all my might to reach in regulation. I was informed that a couple of the longer holes at Westhampton were converted from par 5s to par 4s. While “par’ is just a concept, it’s more the psychological impact it has on you knowing how many shots it takes to get the ball in the hole without making bogey.

The short par 3 is called “Island” rather than the typical “short” reference due to its location at the bay and is really the only point where you get close to the coast. Choose your club wisely on the 11th tee as the surrounding bunkers will ruin your afternoon. It is a common architectural characteristic for Raynor’s bunkers to be sunken below the elevated greens and wrap themselves around the putting surfaces almost like a horseshoe.

The journey you navigate on the back nine offers more opportunities to score, but with such firm greens that sometimes don’t hold the ball, the challenge with your approach shots on a windy day multiplies greatly. I frequently was in awe of the playing conditions and the sheer challenge that a 6,400-yard course throws at you. The fairway bunkers are perfectly placed depending on which way the wind blows, but I would say the bigger challenge is knowing where to land your approach shots. It’s a shot-makers paradise and we all walked off the 18th green wanting more. You can’t put a price on local-knowledge, but you can count the number of shots you wish you had back.

Westhampton CC is a truly wonderful layout with plenty of fun for good measure. Once again, Seth Raynor produced a brilliant golf course that members of esteemed clubs all over the region worship with high respect.

August 13, 2019
7 / 10
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