Harbour Town is often bated around for such distinction but it lacks the key element of variety. For holes of various lengths that ask for a full range of shots, Cypress Point, Royal Melbourne (West), Shinnecock Hills, Merion and Pine Valley are the more obvious candidates. Obviously, these courses are among the greats and yet there is a lesser known gem that deserves to be included as well: Camargo Club located in the rolling countryside outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sterling examples of each of Seth Raynor’s four favorite one shotters are found here. That Camargo possesses the finest Eden and Short hole in this country is a defensible argument. The Redan version as well is of alarming excellence with its perfectly canted green. Finally, to the authors at least, perhaps the finest of the bunch is its impressive Biarritz hole. The golfer will be asked to hit (roughly) a five iron, a three wood, an eight iron and a three iron into these four holes, so the balance is exemplary.
Given the advantage of four superlative short holes, Camargo was always destined to be a course apart. Supporting this cast is an admirable group of two shot holes. Four pars like the 3rd, 9th, 12th, 13th and 14th attack the valleys that run through the property in different manners. Some like the 3rd and 14th play across the valleys, others like the 9th are at an angle, and still others like the 12th and 13th fairways skirt around the top of the valley. Given this land movement, a lesser architect could have well botched the opportunity. Instead, Raynor’s inspired routing created holes of immense variety.
And speaking of property, there is a lot to talk about. The course today still occupies 260 acres. The worn out and often inaccurate statement of being oblivious to other games does indeed hold true at Camargo. Of course, with an average of 13,000 rounds a year, the course is not exactly overrun.