3rd Hole / 216 Yards / Par-3
Architect: Charles “Steamshovel” Banks
Located roughly halfway between the cities of New York and Philadelphia is one of the most underrated of courses in the Garden State. Forsgate Country Club was the creation of John Forster — a Scottish immigrant who found wealth in the United States. Forster was intent in creating his own community — away from the hubbub of New York City. Forster found land in the central farmlands of New Jersey and decided to create a golf club of distinction.
Forster hired Clifford Wendehack to create the colonial clubhouse — the same man who created other noted clubhouses at Winged Foot, Ridgewood, North Jersey, to name just a few. On the golf course front — Forster hired Charles Banks — a noted protégé of architect Seth Raynor and both had worked under the guidance of Charles Blair Macdonald — the father of American golf. Banks was famously known for using steam shovels to dig deep and foreboding bunkers on his courses. His work at Forsgate featured creating massive green sites — flanked by deep bunkers and bolstered by rolling fairways that called upon top tier shotmaking.
One of the primary strengths found at Forsgate is the four par-3 holes — each has specific characteristics and shot demands. Together, they are only matched in New Jersey by the famed quartet at Pine Valley Golf Club. The first par-3 played is the 3rd — reminiscent of the Eden Hole — the 11th at The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland. The 3rd is played to an elevated green site — with deep bunker flanking both sides. The elevated nature of the hole often requires a keen awareness on club selection.
Complicating matters is a devilish “spine” splitting left and right sides of the hole. Pity the player who lands on the wrong side as two-putting will be anything but an easy chore. The green is also tilted slightly from back-to-front and any long approach will be severely tested to escape with par. Banks, like Forsgate, never received much attention given the limited number of courses he created and the fact he died from a heart attack at 48 in 1931. In recent years the course has been considerably helped by new ownership and a rediscovery of the architecture Banks so skillfully employed.
The 3rd at Forsgate is like an honest judge — no bribes accepted — the verdict you receive comes only from the play the golfer provides.
(Cover Photo: Hole#3-Courtesy Forsgate Country Club)