- Scarsdale, New York
- A.W. Tillinghast (1924)
- 75th best classic golf course in the US (Golfweek)
We weren’t planning to play Fenway Golf Club. My group had Merion lined up on Thursday, and Shinnecock Hills on Saturday. This left us with a dilemma: where do we play in between?
There’s not many courses that could be sandwiched between those two heavy hitters and not feel underwhelming, but with so many options in Philadelphia, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, we started figuring out the best place to go.
We unfortunately did not manage to find anything until the last minute, where we ended up looking to Fenway Golf Club. In the neighborhood of Winged Foot, Wykagyl, and Quaker Ridge, it’s a Tillinghast heaven.
Needless to say, we were not disappointed with the course we ended up playing!
The opening hole is one of the quirkiest I’ve ever seen: 285 yards, with a chance to drive the green. Certainly interesting!
The green is elevated, with bunkering both left & right.
The 1st green is exceptional. There is a ton of movement and a roller coaster of putts await. Hopefully this photo gives you an ideal of some of the contouring.
The 2nd is a meaty par 4 working up the slope. At 455, playing into the teeth of the wind, it’s long. A bunker left, and O.B. left loom for those who are draw-biased.
The approach shot plays to a green complex working its way to the left. Falling off on the left, if you aim at the right edge of the green it should work down the slope.
The third is a short par 5 that’s reachable in two. At 520 yards, it’s a fairly mundane yardage. However, in order to score, you must avoid Tillinghast’s Great Hazard.
A closer look at the Great Hazard:
The green is pushed up again, and features some really interesting, heavy movement. Don’t be short here!
The fourth is a wonderful short 4 in the corner of the property. 143 yards, it’s a short iron or wedge for the majority of players. The green is divided into two by a ridge running west-east, making it difficult to get close to the back flag. To a front pin, it’s a big enough ridge that the player can utilize it to get closer.
The 5th is a long par 4, clocking in at 480 yards. Without a bunker, this slow-turning dogleg left is a perfect place to hit a big tee ball.
This green’s main feature is the insane slope to the front of the green, which you could easily putt off of the front. At the base of the clubhouse, there could be a gallery here on a warm summers day!
The 6th is a monster par 3. 234 yards, up the hill, a bunker short left seemingly has a magnet in it.
The 7th turns into the main portion of the property. 1 through 6 is routed through its own portion, while the rest of the golf course starts at the 7th. 390 yards, it’s a beautiful downhill dogleg left par 4.
The green merges beautifully into the land. A bunker left is death, especially with the green moving to the right.
The 8th is a really, really good golf hole. 353 yards, it’s not overly long, but the topography slopes so hard to the right. The routing here becomes really strong as the majority of the golf course is cut into the hill sideways instead of working up & down.
You can see the interesting topography in the fairway below.
The green complex is so small and devilish, there’s a lot of movement. Flanked by a bunker in the front & wrapping around to the left, it requires some good iron or wedge play.
A closer look at the green complex:
The 9th is a wonderful downhill par 4 at 400 yards. A creek runs up the left before crossing to the right side of the hole at about 275 off the tee. Something less than driver to be safe is the play.
To a green cut into the top of the hill, it’s a difficult looking shot. Take a club to a club and a half more.
Starting the back nine, the 10th runs down the left side of hole 6. O.B. left is the main driving hazard here, but a bunker complex at about 330 does look intimidating. A draw off the tee is ideal.
The approach shot is one of my favorites on the golf course. A low profile green complex has some real gracious movement.
The 11th is another strong par 3 directly up the hill. It’s an interesting hole that actually might be a redan template. An uphill redan!
The 12th is another strong par 4 at 454 yards. Swinging to the left, with two bunkers on the outside corner, turning it over is a must.
To a smaller green complex, this is my vote for the hardest 4 on the golf course. You also come back to the shared bunker complex that is shared with the 8th green complex.
Some wonderful Tillinghast green movement illustrated below:
The 13th is a slightly uphill dogleg left 424 yard par 4.
From a draw-biased lie, the green complex moves to the left as well. Missing low and left is fairly common as all signs indicate left.
Finishing off the very strong start to the back nine is the 14th atop the property. At 447 yards, O.B. is all down the left to a blind landing area. A good drive here is needed.
Bunkering some 100 yards short can cause some visual difficulty. It can be really tough to access what’s green-side and whats not.
As you get closer, you notice what is and what isn’t near the green:
A closer look at the green complex shows some of the movement awaiting.
The uphill, drivable par 4 15th is one of the worlds best holes. 301 yards on the card, it’s a big drive to get there (but possible these days!). For those who elect to layup, a bunker complex on the left corner waits.
The green complex is a wonderful example of Tillie’s creativity. Small and narrowing towards the back, it slopes towards the front fairly heavily. Bunkering left and right are the main defence here, but with a wedge, you could spin it off the front.
A closer look at this all-world green complex.
The 16th works its way down the hill to the right. No bunkering is in play, and at a healthy yardage of 434 yards—let it rip here!
With a sunken green complex, it’s a pretty difficult shot to understand what’s around the green.
As you walk up, you see there’s two bunkers right and one left, while the front remains open.
The 17th is a 190 yard drop shot par 3. With a pond short, and a relatively small green, it’s a demanding penultimate hole.
Fenway ends on an uphill, mid length (555 yards) par 5. A bunker complex left is the main defence on the tee shot.
The second shot is blind going uphill. It can be tough to gauge where to hit it!
The final approach plays over the maintenance road to a green that rolls towards the middle. With a couple interesting pin positions, it’s a good green. If I had to pick, though, this might be the weakest hole at Fenway.
Fenway was a wonderful surprise and a worthy golf course to sit between Merion and Shinne. Sure, it’s not the world top 20 either of those are, but it was a great surprise. It’s insane to think of how under the radar Fenway is!
I would suggest if you get Quaker Ridge or Winged Foot lined up, see if you can find a way onto Fenway. It’s a magnificent golf course, a wonderful walk, and quite challenging for 6700 yards. An absolute hidden gem.