Forsgate Country Club’s historic Banks Course showcases one of the most distinctive template holes imported from Europe during the Golden Age of golf course architecture in America– the Biarritz. This year marks the 135th anniversary of the famous hole design that presents a unique challenge to golfers.
The original Biarritz was created in 1888 by Willie Dunn, Jr. at its namesake club in France. C.B. Macdonald, considered the father of American golf course architecture, and his disciples Seth Raynor and Charles Banks introduced the classic hole design into a number of their most notable projects.
Of the several courses in the U.S. that include a Biarritz, Forsgate’s majestic par three No. 17 on its Charles Banks designed course, which opened in 1931, is recognized as one of the best architectural examples of this hole design. The existing hole from the tournament tees is 239 yards but can be stretched to 260 yards to the deepest pin placement. The green, which is considered one of the greatest in American golf, is roughly 84 yards deep from front to back with the swale running 25 yards across and just under six feet in depth.
A Biarritz typically stretches between 210 and 240 yards to a long green that includes a deep three to five foot swale that bisects the green into two parts, with narrow bunkers usually flanking each side of the green. A misjudged tee shot that lands in the swale often can be purgatory to escape.
“Our Banks Course is an architectural treasure and we take seriously our stewardship role in preserving this classic gem,” said Chris Schiavone, Forsgate’s Managing Partner. ”The club is proud of the 17th hole’s reputation as a superb example of a Biarritz and we’re celebrating the 135th anniversary with a number of competitions on the hole to highlight its history so golfers appreciate the genius of this famed design.”
Forsgate’s Banks Course was the last design in the continental United States by Charles “Steam Shovel” Banks. The distinguished course is renowned for its challenging and exaggerated features, such as the steep and deeply recessed bunkers and enormous, undulating greens. The course recreates some of the historic and famous holes found at the great courses of Scotland and Europe. The Banks Course has hosted several LPGA, PGA TOUR and NJ state championships.