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Hole #14 "Knoll"

Hole #14 “Knoll”

365 Yards, 343 Yards, 331 Yards, Par 4

Charles Banks in 1925Number 14 offers in its first shot three different attacks on the playing ground for the second shot. The first of these from the back tee plays for a kick in to the right from a knoll on the left side of the fairway at the angle of the dog leg with a consequent roll to low ground in front of the green. The shot from the regular tee offers the same shot with a distance to the target of 37 yards less, or if desired, a straight shot to the playing ground over thetrees. The shot from the short tee is a straightaway down the fairway with the green in sight all the way. All of these shots lead to the same playing ground for the second shot. The second shot is a lift and hold. The green is elevated on all sides and slopes to the left. There is a large bunker at the back.”

This is a deceptively compact par-four, made challenging by its tilts, angles, and uneven lies. The most prominent feature in the sight line from the tees is the knoll that defines the left side of the fairway as it sweeps around a bend from left to right. The knoll begins a low lateral ridge that allows the player to bank drives off the left side of the fairway forward and towards the green, although misses to the left will push errant balls towards the woods. A well-shaped drive — or bold drive that cuts the near corner to the right — will find itself below an elevated green that slopes steeply away on all sides. The original bunker in back has been replaced with a greater hazard, a swamp played as a lateral hazard. The effects of Scott Ramsay’s tree-clearing are seen here, too, to dramatic effect. Their removal at the fairway bend opens up a view of the green, and cutting back the trees to the right of the green further enhances the dogleg effect as well as improving the health of the green.

It is the fairway knoll that gives the hole its name, and appropriately, although coincidentally, it is based originally on the fourth hole at Scotscraig Golf Course, the course where the young Robert Pryde learned his golfing craft in the 1880s before emigrating to New Haven. As George Bahto noted, Macdonald and Raynor used this design at their famous Piping Rock and Lido courses before applying it here. As noted earlier, the memory of Harry Meusel is also present in the form of the forest elf carved by his daughter and still standing in the woods to the right of the dogleg.

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