The Eden Hole: Template Holes

History

“The Eden” is an absolutely spectacular par 3 design that hails from the 174 yard 11th (High-Hole-In) at the Old Course at St. Andrews. The Eden along with the Redan are often considered the two best par 3 designs ever. 

Characteristics

The Eden is a test of a player’s mid-irons, often measuring 160-180 yards.  It features a well protected and heavily sloping back-to-front green. The bunkering around an eden green include one on the left called the “Hill” bunker, a pot bunker on the right the “Strath”, the “Eden” bunker behind the green and the “Cockleshell” or “Shelly” bunker short and right of the green.  

Strategy

The eden’s challenging design requires a player to have excellent distance control because of the severely sloped green. Missing in the wrong spot on this green can lead to embarrassment, such as putting the ball off the green,  or worse into the “Strath”,  the  pot bunker that  is always in play.  A short miss is definitely preferred to a long one at this par 3 design. 

Chicago Golf Club - 13th - 149 yards

America’s first eden hole from C.B. Macdonald’s Chicago Golf Club has all of the characteristics of its predecessor. Notice how the “shelly” bunker in front frames the hole, while the “hill”, “strath” and “eden” bunkers guard the heavily sloped green from wayward shots.

The par 3 13th at Chicago Golf Club

National Golf Links of America - 13th - 174 yards

Many consider the 13th at NGLA as the best eden hole in the world. The 13th at Macdonald’s gem has all of the core features of it’s St. Andrew’s predecessor but also boasts a pond that adds to its beauty. 

The par 3 13th at National Golf Links of America.

Shoreacres - 8th - 197 yards

A beautiful example of the eden hole is at this  Chicago area Seth Raynor design. Last year, Shoreacres added yardage to the 8th to make the hole play closer to the original intention due to technology advances. Notice the deep “Strath” bunker on the right and extremely sloping back to front green.  

The last time I played this hole, I hit a tremendous shot that landed pin high, but due to the slope my  shot rolled back off the green and into the rough short of the green. This should give you some perspective on how challenging the green is. 

The 8th hole at Shoreacres, a Seth Raynor design.

Another look at Shoreacres 8th from the hill bunker a tough spot to get up and down from.

The par 3 8th at Shoreacres, a look at the green.

St. Louis C.C. - 3rd - 213 yards

The eden at St. Louis was lengthened to 200+ yards and much like Shoreacres now plays truer to its original intention. Raynor and Macdonald teamed up at St. Louis and the 3rd is one of the best holes on the golf course.  The fairway slope hides the “Hill” bunker a bit and the “Strath” bunker is a little bit larger than the original at St. Andrews.  

A look at the 3rd hole at St. Louis C.C. Photo Credit: Kyle Truax @TheTruArchitect

In this shot, you can see how deep and penal the right bunkers are to wayward shots.

A look at St. Louis C.C.'s eden hole. Photo Credit: Kyle Truax @TheTruArchitect

Fox Chapel Golf Club - 3rd - 197 yards

The Seth Raynor design outside of Pittsburgh features the eden early in the round. This version of the eden is heavily bunkered, featuring two “Hill” bunkers and a very deep and large “strath” bunker. Much like Shoreacres and St. Louis C.C., Fox Chapel too has been lengthened to adjust to modern technology.

The 3rd at Raynor's Fox Chapel Golf Club.

Fishers Island Club - 11th - 164 yards

Possibly the most scenic eden hole resides at Fishers Island where Raynor used the Long Island Sound as the backdrop for this gem. 

The one-shot 11th at Fishers Island Club

The 2nd hole at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort's Old Macdonald Course. Photo Credit: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort & Timothy Scahill.

Tom Doak was able to create a brilliant version of the eden at the Old Macdonald Course. This photo does a great job at showing the severe back to front slope of the green and the treacherous front right “strath” pot bunker.

Here is a closer look at the “Strath” bunker at Old Macdonald.

The strath bunker at Old Macdonald. Photo Credit: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort & Timothy Scahill.

Camargo Club - 5th - 179 yards

We were excited to get photos of Camargo, the great Seth Raynor design in Cincinnati, Ohio. Many believe that Camargo has the greatest collection of par 3 template holes of any course in the world. Here is their beautiful eden hole:

Camargo's 5th hole, the eden par 3. Photo Credit: An Ambulent Golfer

The Creek Club - 4th - 174 yards

Here is a shot of the Eden hole from The Creek Club, a Macdonald design on Long Island. This one has a very similar look to Camargo’s with all of the defining bunkers (“hill”, “strath”, “eden”, and “shelly”).

The 4th hole at the Creek Club. Photo Credit: An Ambulent Golfer

Midland Hills C.C. - 7th - 193 yards

Here’s a shot from high above the 7th hole at Midland Hills Country Club, a 1919 Seth Raynor design in Minneapolis, Mn. This aerial vantage point gives a great look at the bunkering of the eden hole. The green is framed by a the “hill”, “strath” and “eden” bunkers but doesn’t have a “shelly”. 

The 7th hole at Midland C.C. in Minneapolis. Photo Credit: 

 

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