Rye Golf Club
Rye Golf Club, in Rye New York, is my home course. Designed by Devereux Emmett in 1921, the club has gone through periods of success and failure financially. In 1965 it was purchased by the city of Rye, to be used by the denizens as a “town course.” This arrangement, fairly unique for its time, has grown over the years and become a popular way for many communities to own a course, and Rye was one of the earliest to do so in the United States. Set up as a “self funding, self liquidating” enterprise fund, the Rye Golf Club, which also has a community pool, is a town treasure.
Dev Emmet was very active in the Westchester, NY vicinity in the 1920’s, and while many of his more famous designs include venerable courses including Garden City, Congressional, Pelham and Leather Stocking ), many of his New York area courses have stood the test of time. In fact, no fewer than twenty eight courses in the MGA alone bear his name Emmet.
Emmet’s work at Rye employed many of his noted design techniques. He emphasized aerial carry and smaller greens, requiring precision on the approach. Rye’s greens are typically on the small side with the a consistent tilt to them- a rotating saucer feel to most of them. Rye is not an overly long course at 6,500 yards, and while Rye has added yardage wherever it has been able to, it relies heavily on its natural topography. The course sits on property that slopes from the land down to the Long Island Sound. Many of its holes employ this slope effectively, adding both to the Emmet concept of aerial carry and adding ‘effective length’ on many of the uphill running holes.
Rye also has a group of blind shots throughout. Blind shots come into play on seven holes, with one, the eleventh, having two (for most humans). While blind shots have their detractors, it is noted by the author, recently returned from Northern Ireland, that blind shots in fact are part and parcel of the deal. There are several seaside holes that are aesthetically pleasing, visually enhanced by recent tree-clearing that has brought into view LI Sound into view on nine holes, including seven of nine on the inward holes. Walking this course as the sun sets with Milton Harbor and the Long Island Sound in view, you really feel as though you have gotten away easy.