News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Jon Cavalier

  • Karma: +0/-0
Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« on: December 05, 2014, 03:29:11 PM »
Several of you have requested a photo tour of Whippoorwill Club, and I will do my best to accomodate those requests here, because Whippoorwill, in my view, is one of the most underrated clubs in the United States.  Ran has previously profiled this course here - http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/usa/whippoorwill-club/ (in fact, it was this excellent profile that originally put Whippoorwill on my radar) and his profile contains many outstanding photos of the course in summer.  I played Whippoorwill in the fall, and I found the course to have a distinctly different flavor, and one worth the time to display.
 
The 6th at Whippoorwill - surely one of the great par 5s on the East Coast

 
As you'll see in these photos, I played Whippoorwill on a cloudy October day on which the remnants of a carribean hurricane were scheduled to blow through the area, hence the cloud cover.  Nevertheless, there were Whippoorwill members out trying to sneak their rounds in, and I found them all to be very welcoming.  Though I played solo, I played several holes with three different members each, and all were very hospitable and justifiably proud of their golf course.

Fall at Whippoorwill

 
As most of you probably know, Whippoorwill is a Charles Banks design and is generally considered to be his masterpiece.  I've had the great pleasure of playing several Banks courses, including Forsgate, The Knoll, Rock Spring, Essex County, Cavalier, the fourth nine at Montclair and the excellent Tamarack (which is minutes from Whippoorwill and possesses some of the boldest templates I've seen), and Whippoorwill is in a class by itself.  While this course is smack in the middle of one of the most golf rich areas in the world, the degree to which it is overshadowed by its neighbors borders on criminal.  This is simply a fantastic golf course, and it contains one of the most dramatic and memorable stretches of holes that I've seen.  I have yet to meet anyone who has played Whippoorwill and who does not rate it among their favorite places to play golf.

Whippoorwill's Biarritz

 
I hope you enjoy the tour.
 
 
Whippoorwill Club
Although the original course at Whippoorwill was designed by Donald Ross, the present iteration was built in 1928 by Charles Banks, using the principles and templates he learned from Seth Raynor, passed down by C.B. Macdonald.  The four template par-3s (redan, short, eden and biarritz) are present.  Banks moved a great deal of earth to get this course built, but the result feels natural, and the course suits its surrounds.  You can read about Whippoorwill's history here - http://www.whippoorwillclub.org/About_Us.aspx .


Though I actually teed off on 10 and played the back nine first (which some might argue is a more interesting way to play the course), I'll run the tour through the layout from 1 to 18.



Hole 1 - 377yds - Par 4
Whippoorwill opens rather gently, given the contrast of what is to come.  Much like The Creek's first few holes hide the drama that begins with the 6th, Whippoorwill's first three holes play over more gently rolling parkland.  The dogleg left first hole provides a generous fairway for the player's opening ball, with only a miss right exacting a high price.


The horizon green at the first is typical banks, with a deep bunker front and left, and a steep falloff behind.


The further left the tee shot, the more open the approach to the green becomes.


This view from behind the left side of the green shows that even the more subtle holes at Whippoorwill have elevation change.



Hole 2 - 346yds - Par 4
Most consider the second, a short, downhill par 4, to be the easiest hole on the course.  And agressive tee shot will attempt to carry the right fairway bunkers, while the conservative play will be short of the left hand bunker.


A short approach to a pushed up and attractively bunkered green is all that remains after a solid tee shot.  This is the smallest green on the course.


The view from behind the second green.



Hole 3 - 485yds - Par 5
This short, uphill dogleg left par 5 is the last of the "easy" opening holes at Whippoorwill.  The courses does a fine job of allowing the player to find his swing over these holes before entering the gauntlet.


The uphill approach to this half-par hole.


The third fairway bleeds seamlessly into the green, encouraging long second shots and running third shots.



Hole 4 - 159yds - Par 3
And so it begins.  This "short" template par three begins one of the most exciting stretches of golf I've played.  It's downhill, and the continuous bunkering is reminiscent of other "short" templates, including the 16th at Sleepy Hollow.


Misses left at 4 can end up anywhere.



Hole 5 - 453yds - Par 4
This is a truly gorgeous hole, and a standout par 4 at Whippoorwill.  The ideal line is left of center, where a well struck ball will take the slope and bound down the fairway and around the dogleg.  Anything to the right of center typically ends up in the right rough, or worse, as the dropoff to the right of the playing corridor is extreme.


The approach on 5 is typically a mid iron back up to a raised green, or a long-iron or hybrid from a downhill lie.  The front left bunker is HUGE.


Looking back up the fairway on 5 illustrates the magnificent terrain that Banks had to work with, and tame, to construct this course.



Hole 6 - 556yds - Par 5
One of my favorite par 5s in golf, and one of the most spectacular holes in this region.  The 6th starts off rather innocuously, with a tee shot over a steep rise in the fairway.  After climbing this hill, the golfer is treated to ... 


... an amazing sight.  The size of the rolls and banks in this fairway and the steepness of the decline down to the green are, quite frankly, shocking.  This hole is simply a blast to play.


A long view to the green from left of the fairway.


They called him Steamshovel for a reason.  This green appears carved from stone.  That Banks built this hole nearly 90 years ago is amazing.  Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this hole is that despite its extreme nature, it remains very playable for all skill levels.


The 5th green is sloped back to front and is bisected by a ridge running laterally across the green.  This pin placement comes with a backstop, but the hole becomes more difficult if the pin is back.



Hole 7 - 427yds - Par 4
This is Banks' version of the punchbowl template, but with his own twists, the first of which comes in the form of a downhill tee shot over a pond to a fairway that bends nearly 90 degrees left.  The 7th tee at Whippoorwill, with the 6th green and fairway behind and above you, and the 7th fairway below, is one of the more picturesque spots in golf.


The approach on 7 is uphill and narrows considerably as the fairway climbs to the punchbowl green.  The granite walls press inward and make for an intimidating, but exciting, shot.


The mouth to Banks' punchbowl green is open in the front but guarded closely by two large mounds that will deflect low or running shots.


Having scaled the 7th hole, a look back down the fairway brings a sense of accomplishment.



Hole 8 - 226yds - Par 3
I've long thought that Banks' bold style was most suited to the adaptation of the biarritz, and the 8th at Whippoorwill is a fine example of that.  This hole calls for a long tee shot over a road to one of the most beautiful green sites on the golf course.  In terms of sheer beauty, this biarritz ranks behind only the 5th at Fishers Island among those I've played.


The long biarritz green, with waterfall behind for effect.



Hole 9 - 373yds - Par 4
The 9th hole closes the dramatic stretch that began with the 4th, and this steeply uphill two shotter is no slouch.


This wide shot from below the 9th tee illustrates the steepness of the terrain.


Even the green is elevated, requiring one last climb.


The 9th green, with the tee box far below.



Lucky's Run
After crossing the road to the 10th tee, we see this marker, dedicated to Lucky the bird dog, who "kept the geese from Whippoorwill."  Lucky must have been quite a beloved pooch, and the membership is to be commended for honoring their pooch in this way (disclosure - I am a sucker for dogs).



Hole 10 - 405yds - Par 4
Another gorgeous view from the elevated 10th tee.  What you see is what you get.


The hill to the left was recently cleared and exposed.  Even from this spot in the fairway, the 10th green's many undulations are apparent.  Don't miss long - the area behind the green drops 15 feet straight down.


This view back up 10 shows the elevated tee box and the rolling nature of the ground.



Hole 11 - 196yds - Par 3
A rare redan playing over a pond (like the second at Fishers, though Whippoorwill's 11th plays downhill), the typical redan characteristics of this hole are more subtle than normal, but this is still quite an enjoyable hole to play, and a pretty setting for a par 3 of any type.


The mound to the right of the green provides a welcoming target to this pin, but the right bunkers are not the ideal miss.


The view from behind, showing the right to left tilt of the green.



Hole 12 - 422yds - Par 4
The first straightaway par 4 at Whippoorwill comes at 12.  The ideal tee shot will depend heavily on the day's pin position, as this green extremely wide and split front-to-back by a mound.


This view from the fairway shows the green's defenses, which include the fronting mound and the internal contours of the green itself.


The view back up the fairway.



Hole 13 - 336yds - Par 4
One of my favorite holes on the back 9, this short par 4 comes with plenty of options off the tee.  Bite off what you dare.


The short, uphill approach to the 12th green.


The view from behind 12.  The dual tee boxes are visible in the upper right of the frame.



Hole 14 - 466yds - Par 4
Ran does a wonderful job illustrating the options available off the tee on this fantastic half-par hole.  Make the safe play to the left and the hole essentially becomes a par 5.  Pull off the agressive play down the right, and the green is both reachable and accessible. 


Whippoorwill's incredible rolling terrain makes this an exciting hole.


The large, undulating 14th green.


The one-of-a-kind 14th hole at Whippoorwill.



Hole 15 - 372yds - Par 4
A throwback hole, the 15th plays blind over a crest of a hill.  A directional flag behind the green gives a general idea on where to aim.


The approach to the incredibly deep 15th green.  I imagine that this green sees more three putts than any other on the back 9.


Not an ideal miss.



Hole 16 - 546yds - Par 5
On this three shotter, Banks' skill for placing fairway bunkers is on display.  This is tame ground for Whippoorwill, and the fairway bunkers lend interest to the longest hole on the back side.


The approach to 16. 


This view from the right side of the 16th green shows the climb, which starts gradually and becomes steeper.


The view back down the sprawling 16th.



Hole 17 - 158yds - Par 3
Banks' eden template, and a good one, if a bit short. 




The bunker to the rear of 17.



Hole 18 - 435yds - Par 4
An outstanding and beautiful closing hole, and typical for Whippoorwill in that it presents options off the tee.  The ideal position in the fairway varies substantially based on the day's hole location (which, on this hole, with its massive green, are plentiful) and the wide fairway can accommodate many types of tee shots.


The uphill approach to 18.  Nothing behind the green or pin to provide a sense of distance or scale.


The beautiful setting of the 18th green.


The view back down the excellent 18th hole.



I've been raving about Whippoorwill since I played there, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the architechure of Charles Banks (or Macdonald/Raynor).  Banks fans could do worse than a 36-hole day at Whippoorwill and Tamarack. 


I hope you enjoyed the tour.
Golf Photos via
Twitter: @linksgems
Instagram: @linksgems

Joe Bausch

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2014, 03:38:07 PM »
I sure did enjoy the tour.  Many thanks.
@jwbausch (for new photo albums)
The site for the Cobb's Creek project:
https://cobbscreek.org/
Nearly all Delaware Valley golf courses in photo albums: Bausch Collection

jeffwarne

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2014, 03:47:54 PM »
Jon,
great photos of a great course.
The stretch of 5-8 is about as white knuckle as it gets.

Normally when one looks at photos the holes look dramatically tighter than they actually are.
In this case you've captured the soul of #6 a true white knuckle hole for all five shots(or more)
In an event one year, after a day before practice round debacle on #6, I carefully placed a perfect 5 wood, a solid 6 iron, then proceeded to shank two consecutive 9 irons out of bounds off the the sidehill lie to the diabolical green.
The next day I ripped driver and 3 wood from a standing on my head lie on the green in an out of contention, devil may care moment-and proceeded to five putt for double.
The next hole is no picnic either. ;)
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

PPallotta

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2014, 03:51:13 PM »
Jon - my thanks too for an excellent tour. It brought to mind an idea I get whenever I see a CBM/Raynor/Banks course, which is that if you're going to move earth to create drop-offs around greens, make those drop-offs big, bold, dramatic and steep! Like the rivetted/sod-faced/circular bunkers you see on some links courses, it's the very boldness and directness of that approach that transmutes the obvious artifice/artificiality of a steep drop-off or perfectly round hazard into something both lovely and fitting.

Peter

Morgan Clawson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2014, 05:15:49 PM »
Stunning course and photography.

I think it would look even better if the fairways were pushed out a little wider.

Pat Burke

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2014, 10:06:19 PM »
Another thank you for this.
I played a Met Boys Championship there in the 70's.
I qualified for my first big tournament ever.
I won 2 matches, including against the medalist with my dad following me.
I still remember my dad saying he had no idea I could play that well!

It's a very cool memory from a very special course.
Thanks

Malcolm Mckinnon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2014, 12:44:25 AM »
Jon,

You are on a roll!!

One of the sportiest golf courses in Westchester County, NY.

I may have to look at a Leica but I still think that your colors are a bit too vivid.

Thanks for the tour. I know how much effort it takes both to photogragh and also to post these tours.

Best,

Malcolm

RDecker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2014, 06:26:19 AM »
Any club that'd memorialize their dog has got to be a great place.

Ronald Montesano

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2014, 06:30:23 AM »
Only fall colors can save a grey, cloudy sky.

Nice framing.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Mark McKeever

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2014, 08:25:19 AM »
Wow, course looks excellent, great pictures!

Mark
Best MGA showers - Bayonne

"Dude, he's a total d***"

Todd Melrose

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2014, 12:53:46 PM »
Spectacular photos, they really compliment the course well

Sean McCue

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2014, 06:44:31 PM »
Jon,

Amazing pictures on all of your tours, your photos capture the amazing features found on each property.
Be sure to visit my blog at www.cccpgcm.blogspot.com and follow me on twitter @skmqu

Greg Gilson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2014, 07:17:31 PM »
Jon, thanks for another great tour full of lovely words & photos.

I played this course in the early 90's when I really did not have the same appreciation for GCA that (I think) I do now. I need to get back there.

Thanks again

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2014, 07:21:40 PM »
Very nice and great tour.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Bret Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2014, 10:37:19 AM »
Jon,  

These pictures are great.  I really enjoyed the tour.  I was lucky enough to play Whipoorwill in May and the course is truly Amazing!  I agree that the 6th hole is one of the best Par 5's I have ever played.  I felt like this course had a lot of inspiration from Yale!

I have a question regarding the 7th Hole.  The Whipoorwill website and both of the photo tours on GCA labeled the 7th hole as a Punchbowl Hole.  I had the feeling when I played the 7th hole,  that I was playing an Alps Hole.  I felt like the shot to green was very similar to the 12th at Yale and very similar to the 17th at Wyantenuck (also Banks).  I am a newbie, so I am trying to grasp the fundamental understanding for the templates.  

So, my questions regarding this hole would be:

Is the surface of the 7th green at Whipoorwill considered a Punchbowl?
or
Are the mounds surrounding the green considered to be the Punchbowl?
and
Were these mounds created by Banks to create a hidden pocket?

I only ask this question, because in the local Yale newspaper in August 1925, Charles Banks was asked to describe the 12th Hole at Yale "The Alps".  Bank's description of the 12th hole at Yale began with:  "This hole is intended in its original form to give the player the feeling of playing up on the side of a mountain to a hidden pocket."

I felt like this hole fit that description to a tee, but then again, I am a newbie, so I would like to hear more experienced thoughts.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2014, 11:43:39 AM by Bret Lawrence »

Steve_ Shaffer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2014, 11:28:49 AM »
Jon,

Thanks for the tour. I wish we had a MacRaynorBanks  course here in the desert. The best "old guy" course here is the recently renovated Red Lawrence gem of Desert Forest.

By the way, does Whippoorwill need a tree thinning program? Looks  like a  lot of trees to me. Is each hole framed by the trees and not visible to others?
"Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, some on golf courses ... "  Adlai Stevenson
Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone: "We're bigger than US Steel."
Ben Hogan “The most important shot in golf is the next one”

Jon Cavalier

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2014, 11:51:59 AM »
Jon,

Thanks for the tour. I wish we had a MacRaynorBanks  course here in the desert. The best "old guy" course here is the recently renovated Red Lawrence gem of Desert Forest.

By the way, does Whippoorwill need a tree thinning program? Looks  like a  lot of trees to me. Is each hole framed by the trees and not visible to others?

Steve:

It's my understanding that the club has been thinning trees lately in order to widen some playing corridors and open up views.

However, the way the course is laid out doesn't really lend itself to multi-hole views. The first, second and third holes are in a cluster, and you can see 3 from 1 and 2. Holes 4-9 more or less run in a wide loop and each hole is isolated. On the back, 10 and 18 run parallel to each other but are separated by a ridge. From 11 and 15, you can see parts of 16.

Here's an overhead view - the front 9 runs north and east; the easternmost holes are the 4-9 loop I mentioned above:
Golf Photos via
Twitter: @linksgems
Instagram: @linksgems

Tim Martin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2014, 12:09:29 PM »
My understanding is that the nines were flipped a number of years ago to accommodate a walking culture that suffered a spate of heart attacks on 18 after a particularly grueling finish. There is no question that it is a stout walk.

Robert Mercer Deruntz

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2014, 02:46:45 PM »
After a disastrous bunker rebuilding in the mid-90's,  they have been slowly restoring the course with Tripp Davis.  Looks like they are close to being finished compared to my photo tour from 5 years ago.

Jon Cavalier

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2014, 04:19:24 PM »
My understanding is that the nines were flipped a number of years ago to accommodate a walking culture that suffered a spate of heart attacks on 18 after a particularly grueling finish. There is no question that it is a stout walk.

I can't confirm or deny that they switched the 9s, although as I noted in my initial post, I played the back 9 first and it does make sense that way. It saves the drama for the back side, if nothing else.

The course is walkable no matter what order you play it, but the walk up from the fairway on 7 to the 9th green is a hefty one, especially if you've already played most of the round. Must be a couple hundred vertical feet. I certainly felt it.
Golf Photos via
Twitter: @linksgems
Instagram: @linksgems

Colin Macqueen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Whippoorwill Club - A Fall Photo Tour
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2014, 04:19:30 PM »
Jon,

An enchanting tour indeed!  We are a lucky mob in so far as we can while away our time in such glorious surroundings …… and clearly  linksland is not the sole provider of such, as you demonstrate.

I particularly like the photo tours that depict the courses in autumn (and yours is a beauty if a wee bit saturated) as here, for the last 25 years, in Queensland, Oz I have not experienced the blaze of colour and hue provided by that "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…."

Thanks for that.

Cheers Colin
"Golf, thou art a gentle sprite, I owe thee much"
The Hielander

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back