Geeked on Golf

A Celebration of the People & Places that Make Golf the Greatest Game

Now & Then – Great Holes Through the Years


To paraphrase something I heard Jim Urbina say, a golf course is a living thing, and will therefore evolve.  I find the evolution fascinating, particularly when illustrated in pictures.

Every geek loves Jon Cavalier’s photos (@linksgems), and recently, Simon Haines (@hainsey76) has been adding a twist by piggybacking historical photos of some of the holes, often from the same vantage point.  Genius.  A repository to compile these one-two punches of glorious geekery seemed like the thing to do.  Jon and Simon agreed, so here they are.

Check back periodically for updates, and enjoy!


CYPRESS POINT CLUB #17 – Par 4 – 374 yard


Astounding that a course should have such beautiful views, perfect terrain, amazing landscapes & abundant wildlife.


“OVER THE GULF OR ROUND THE COAST? – A KNOTTY PROBLEM ON A NEW CALIFORNIAN COAST.  The 17th hole on the Cypress Point course, in California, is one of those places where discretion is at constant war with valour.  Whether to take the long way round the group of Cypress trees shown towards the left across the water, or attempt the drive straight across the gulf, with its attendant dangers – that is the question that faces all the visitors.  Cypress Point is a new course, designed by Dr. A. Mackenzie, and there is already agitation afoot for the American Amateur Championship to be played there, instead of at Pebble Beach, which is situated round the promontory in the background of the above picture.  Cypress Point is on the Del Monte peninsula, about 100 miles south of San Francisco, and was only laid out in November of last year.  It has soon settled down and already provides very fine golf.”

NATIONAL GOLF LINKS #4 – Par 3 – 195 yards


The 4th at National Golf Links – C.B. Macdonald’s homage to the 15th at North Berwick is the first, and still the best, Redan in America.


PINE VALLEY #5 – Par 3 – 219 yards


The par-3 5th, with newly cleared and bunkered areas around the green, is perhaps the greatest uphill par-3 in the world.


‘THE FAMOUS FIFTH AT PINE VALLEY.  A 205 yard iron shot which is considered one of the finest golfing tests in America.  This is the first satisfactory picture showing the complete play from tee to green, as Pine Valley is very difficult to photograph.”

CHICAGO GC #7 – Par 3 – 207 yards



“THE SEVENTH HOLE.  A full mid-iron shot and a very fine short hole.  The back edge of the green is twenty feet high.  On special occasions the pin is placed behind the left-hand sand pit which makes a most exacting shot to get close to the hole.”

PINE VALLEY #8 – Par 4 – 314 yards


The 8th at Pine Valley, the first of back-to-back double-greened par-4s, and a high stress half-wedge to one of two extremely small greens.


“OUR PHOTO SHOWS THE MESA-LIKE GREEN OF THE EIGHTH HOLE AT PINE VALLEY.  A good tee-shot carries one down into the hollow with a short niblick pitch to reach the green.  But how different from the usual niblick pitch!  Here one has not only to throw a ball over a hazard but on to a green that stands out in all its loneliness, beckoning a risk of fate.”

SLEEPY HOLLOW CC #16 – Par 3 – 155 yards



A single sailboat enjoys an evening run on the Hudson River, between the Palisades on the west, and Sleepy Hollow Country Club on the east.


NATIONAL GOLF LINKS #1 – Par 4 – 330 yards


Peconic Bay, the Home hole, the famed clubhouse, and the iconic windmill – my favorite opener in golf.


“THE CLUBHOUSE AT THE NATIONAL LINKS.  Taken from the first tee.  The first hole is over the bunker in the distance and the eighteenth is off to the left.  In the clubhouse the dining porch looks over the eighteenth fairway.  The lounge faces the first tee.  Both overlook Peconic Bay.”

CYPRESS POINT CLUB #9 – Par 4 – 283 yards


Options abound from the tee and on approach to the 9th, one of the best and most visually stunning short par-4s in the world.


Alister MacKenzie teeing off on 9 in 1928…

NATIONAL GOLF LINKS #6 – Par 3 – 141 yards


No conversation about great greens is complete without mention of the “Short” par-3 6th at National Golf Links of America.


“The fearsome 6th hole at the National Golf Links of America, Southampton, Long Island.  More than 500 bushels of Carter’s tested Grass Seed were sown on this golf course.”

PASATIEMPO GC #16 – Par 4 – 387 yards


The infamous 16th at Pasatiempo drops some five vertical feet from back-to-front across three tiers.  Some love it, all fear it.


“SIXTEENTH GREEN AT PASATIEMPO.  One of California’s famous courses.  Dr. MacKenzie, who designed the course, cites it as a shining example of what can be done to reduce the cost of golf and so greatly increase the number of people who can continue to play golf, even in times of economic stress.”

PINE VALLEY GC #2 – Par 4 – 355 yards


At Pine Valley’s 2nd, one of the greatest greens in golf awaits those who navigate a church-pew-lined fairway & a wall of sand.


NATIONAL GOLF LINKS #16 – Par 4 – 415 yards


Punchbowl – the 16th at National Golf Links of America, begins with an uphill tee shot to a fairway that falls off hard to both sides.  The approach is blind over a large knob to a bowled green under the iconic windmill.  As fun a hole as there is.


“THE SIXTEENTH HOLE FROM THE TEE.  This is the Punch Bowl and is a splendid hole – the lake replacing the old marsh will be noticed in the foreground.  The second must carry to the green as there is a whole group of mounds and bunkers in front of it.”


MERION GC #9 – Par 3 – 183 yards




“ON THE THOROUGHLY TRAPPED NINTH GREEN AT MERION DURING THE EVANS-GARDNER MATCH.  New champion watching the ex-champion putt, and one of the biggest crowds that ever followed a golf game in America watching both.  And there were twice as many waiting at the next green, gone ahead to get the first place along the lines.”

CYPRESS POINT CLUB #3 – Par 3 – 151 yards


The underrated par-3 3rd at Cypress Point Club.  As I’ve said many times before, the thing that stunned me most about CPC was the quality of the less-famous holes (1-14), which are all excellent.


Awesome hole and looked even better with the blow-out dune exposed on the left…

CYPRESS POINT CLUB #11 – Par 3 – 427 yards


The par-4 11th at Cypress Point Club plays down a fairway guarded by bunkers on both sides to a green backed by an enormous dune.  So many great holes like this at CPC, which don’t receive their full measure of credit due to the long, heavy shadow of the 15th, 16th & 17th holes.


Alister Mackenzie attempting a large carry over sandy waste on the same hole shortly after opening.

CYPRESS POINT CLUB #13 – Par 3 – 344 yards



“A THIRTEENTH HOLE THAT WILL PROVE MORE THAN A ‘HOODOO’ FOR DUFFERS.  This great golf hole is one of the seaside holes of the new Cypress Point course.  No trouble at all for a ball driven straight.”

CYPRESS POINT CLUB #16 – Par 3 – 218 yards


A peek through the forest at the 16th at Cypress Point Club.  A breathtakingly beautiful place, CPC is as magical as it gets for a golfer; a true natural and architectural wonder.


SOMERSET HILLS CC #2 – Par 3 – 205 yards


Tilly’s Redan – the par-3 2nd at Somerset Hills – my personal favorite from among Tillinghast’s many designs.


“The second hole at Somerset Hills, is a reproduction of the Redan at North Berwick.”

BALTUSROL GC (LOWER) #18 – Par 5 – 553 yards


Built by Tillinghast and opened for play in 1922, the Lower is the club’s championship venue, and has hosted 7 majors and a host of other significant events.


SAN FRANCISCO GC #18 – Par 5 – 512 yards


Among the finest of Tillinghast’s designs, SFGC has a decidedly west coast flavor, with bunkering of a style that appears more MacKenzie than typical Tillinghast, who was expert in designing courses to suit the surrounding terrain.


“SCENE AT THE CALIFORNIA LADIES’ CHAMPIONSHIP.  The clubhouse and eighteenth green at the San Francisco Golf and Country Club,  Here Mrs. Leona Pressler won her third consecutive state championship from a very strong field after a hard thirty-six hole match with Mrs. Roy Green in the finals.”

PINE VALLEY GC #3 – Par 3 – 181 yards



SOMERSET HILLS CC #12 – Par 3 – 151 yards



PINE VALLEY GC #10 – Par 3 – 142 yards


This shot of the iconic 10th and the Devil’s Asshole at Pine Valley Golf Club was taken on a truly perfect day. The big, fluffy white clouds and crystal blue sky are beautifully contrasted by the greens and browns of the golf course.


I’m not usually one for black & white photography, but the lack of color gives this hole a bit of a throwback vibe.




True perfection: the clubhouse at Shinnecock Hills, designed & built by legendary architect Stanford White in 1892, is the oldest in the US.


PASATIEMPO GC #18 – Par 3 – 169 yards


There are few courses that finish with a par-3, and far fewer still that finish with a great one.


PEBBLE BEACH GOLF LINKS #7 – Par 3 – 98 yards


An iconic short par-3 with a truly incomparable view.  Ernie Els bogeyed the 7th in the 2000 US Open, allowing Tiger Woods to nip him by 12 shots.


OAKMONT CC #18 – Par 4 – 484 yards


The well-defended par-4 18th at Oakmont Country Club, site of Dustin Johnson’s stone cold 6-iron to cap his 2016 U.S. Open Championship.


YALE UNIVERSITY GC #9 – Par 3 – 213 yards


The famous par-3 9th at Yale.  Many say that the Biarritz template no longer has a place in the modern game, but I always enjoy seeing one.


“THE FAMOUS WATER HOLE.  This is considered one of the greatest water holes ever built.  The carry from the back tee is 168 yards to the double green, divided in the middle by a trench, which, in itself, is a part of the green.  This picture, from the front tee, shows a water carry of 155 yards.”

PINE VALLEY GC #9 – Par 4 – 422 yards


The approach to the famous dual-greened 9th at Pine Valley Golf Club – the left, built by Perry Maxwell, is generally agreed to be the better of the two, and with the removal of the trees behind, the shot into this skyline green is one of the best on the course.



PEBBLE BEACH GOLF LINKS #8 – Par 4 – 400 yards


The iconic par-4 8th at Pebble Beach – the difficulty of the approach overshadows that of the small, sloped green.


CYPRESS POINT CLUB #15 – Par 3 – 120 yards


MacKenzie’s masterpiece, Cypress Point is the most beautiful course I’ve ever seen and one of the best I’ve played. A day here is a magical experience and a seminal moment in a golfer’s life.


BEL-AIR CC #10 – Par 3 – 200 yards


This brilliant George Thomas design, routed through canyons connected by a series of tunnels, an elevator and the aforementioned bridge, is being restored by Tom Doak.


“THE BEAUTIFUL BEL-AIR GOLF CLUB AT BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA.  This is probably the most pretentious of the new Spanish Club buildings that reflect the mode of the moment in club house designs.  The course at Bel-Air is spread over hills and picturesque canyons.  The approach to the club house is via a suspension bridge which spans a fairway.”

ENGINEERS CC #11 – Par 3 – 160 yards



“Eleventh Green Engineers Country Club, Roslyn, L.I., where 1920 Amateur Championship will be played.  All materials supplied by Carters Tested Seeds, Inc.”






NATIONAL GOLF LINKS #17 – Par 4 – 375 yards


Peconic – the 17th at National Golf Links of America. Preeminent golf writer and hall-of-famer Bernard Darwin said that the view from the tee on this par-4 out “over Peconic Bay is one of the loveliest in the world.” Wise man, Sir Bernard.


‘VIEW FROM THE SEVENTEENTH TEE.  This is a particularly fine hole of its length.  The sand bunkers and sea grass extend all the way down on the left so that the carry to get closest to the green may be chosen.  The Peconic Bay in the distance gives its name to the hole.”

MID OCEAN CLUB #13 – Par 3 – 238 yards



“THE CASTLE HARBOUR GOLF CLUB.  A splendid new course, designed by the late Mr. Charles H. Banks, in connection with the magnificent Castle Harbour Hotel, situated right next to the Mid-Ocean Club at Tuckerstown, Bermuda.  Well away from the more populous areas, the surroundings are most delightful by land and water.”

WILSHIRE CC #10 – Par 3 – 156 yards



RIVIERA CC #6 – Par 3 – 175 yards



CYPRESS POINT CLUB #5 – Par 5 – 472 yards


The wonderful par-5 5th provides an architectural clinic on using deception as a design feature.  As MacKenzie himself said, “It is an important thing in golf to make holes look much more difficult than they really are.”  Well said, and well done here.


PEBBLE BEACH GOLF LINKS #8 – Par 4 – 400 yards


The par-4 8th at Pebble Beach Golf Links. From the top of the cliff, players face a 200 yard approach over Stillwater Cove to a tiny, sloping, well-guarded green – the heart of one of the best stretches in the game, and one of the best holes in golf.


HOLLYWOOD GOLF CLUB #4 – Par 3 – 135 yards


The par-3 4th at Hollywood Golf Club features huge mounding on both sides of the green with bunkers cut into their faces, a wicked false front, and the smallest green on the course. This Water Travis gem may be the most underrated course in New Jersey, and is terrific throughout.






Copyright 2017 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf

8 thoughts on “Now & Then – Great Holes Through the Years

  1. Thanks for an interesting look and look back.

  2. This is an awesome post. I follow both Jon and Simon on Twitter and for you to put these together in one place is just fabulous. Kudos!

  3. Great post! Have an high school acquaintance who played PV as his home course. I’m sending him your link to have a look. Thanks.

  4. That was a “blast from the past.” An early Christmas present. Thoroughly enjoyable post. Thank you.

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