Public Courses from Macdonald School Designers

Charles Blair Macdonald, Seth Raynor, and Charles Banks designed courses using what came to be called Template holes. Few of these courses exist and even fewer are open to the public. This is a list of all the public courses designed by those three, plus a few other courses designed to be tributes to the work of these designers.

CB Macdonald
Downers Grove Park District Golf Course, Downers Grove, IL (9 holes)
Greenbrier (Old White)

Seth Raynor
Greenbrier (Old White), White Sulphur Springs, WV
Hotchkiss School Golf Course, Lakeville, CT
Thousand Islands Country Club (Old), Wellesley Island, NY

Charles Banks
Francis Byrne Golf Course, West Orange, NJ
Hendricks Field Golf Course, Belleville, NJ
Hotchkiss School Golf Course, Lakeville, CT (9 holes)
Knoll Country Club (West), Parsippany, NJ (Limited Public Accessibility)

Of these, The Old White is by far the best.

Downers Grove is pretty much Macdonald in name only at this point, having most of the classic features stripped away according to reports.

Thousand Islands claims to be Raynor, but this is disputed by the Raynor Society.

Hotchkiss School has degraded over time, but still makes the Top 25 nine holes courses in Anthony Pioppi's book indicating its quality.

Francis Byrne is degraded but still has a number of excellent Template variations. The Road, Biarritz, Bottle, and Raynor Prize Dogleg holes are all stellar. There's also a Cape hole that could be incredible with a relatively inexpensive restoration. This course could be incredible with just an inexpensive restoration of original bunkering.


Bethpage (Black) - Farmingdale, NY

This is a high quality course that deserves all the accolades that it gets. Always maintained in great condition, great variety, not much that hasn't been said about this course.

Variety of Design: Very good. The par 5s have great variety with two being close to reachable and one requiring two excellent shots to put in position to hit to the green. The par 3s also have solid variety, one being a long iron/hybrid, two with mid/long irons, and one short iron. The par 4s, while good holes, lack variety...they're all either long or longer. Directionally, 4 holes dogleg Right, 3 holes dogleg left, and 7 are straight, excluding par 3s. 7 out of 10

Flow of the Course: While no hole on the Black can be called easy, some are easier than others, some offer the opportunity to score, and some require the player to play conservative. The first two holes are relatively easy, 3 is difficult, 4 gives a birdie chance, 5 is extremely difficult, 6 and 7 offer birdie chances if one hits quality shots, the stretch from 8 to 12 are unrelenting, 13 and 14 offer scoring chances, 15-17 are difficult, and 18 offers a decent scoring chance to close out the round. 8 out of 10

Course Conditioning: Excellent. Fairways and greens are near perfect. 9.5 out of 10

Walkability: Course is walking-only. That said, the walk is not easy. There are some substantial hills, but the green-to-tee transitions are usually short. 6.5 out of 10

Atmosphere: Incredible. Everyone going to the tee feels a bit of anxiety and excitement. 9 out of 10.

Total: 79.5 out of 100


The Club at Viniterra - New Kent, VA

This course is quality. I certainly think it's one of best courses designed by Rees Jones. The course has awesome scale, everything is very large. The course is very long, topping out over 7,600 yards from the longest markers (which aren't on the scorecard). This course never goes over the top, which is a criticism I've had of some of the ultra long courses on the RTJ Trail. That said...the lack of an "over-the-top" feature leads to holes very close in yardage. The par 4s range from 400 to 489, but only the lone 400 yard hole is less than 427 yards. The par 5s are also very tight in yardage range, 560, 570, 573, and 612. The par 3s do have decent variety. While I don't know the mandate given to Mr. Jones by the original owners, but it seems to me that greater variety could be obtained by taking two holes that are 489 and 429 and bumping one to 529 and dropping the other to 389; or making 444/427 into 504/367. This way, the total yardage can remain the same but the holes have much more variety in the yardages. Really though, while I have gone on about that for a while, it's not that big a deal. The course still has great feel and atmosphere. Definitely recommend playing here. 6 out of 10.

Holes of Note
Hole #2: Par 4, 489 yards
This hole is a solid dogleg to the right with a cluster of bunkers on the inside of the dogleg. The outside of the dogleg is wide open.

A look from the tee:

Looking from the fairway towards a green that sits nicely into the hill.

Hole 3: Par 4, 429 yards
This hole requires a great tee shot. There is a severe fall-off down the left side that will penalize anyone who misses there. The green also has a significant fall-off for shots going beyond the green. In my play of the hole, I proved both of these to be the case; this is a quality hole, it certainly doesn't forgive poor shots.

Hole 16: Par 3 167 yards
The best par 3 on the course, in my view, is also the shortest. The front is well defended by a huge bunker and there is a fall off beyond the green. Even though it is short, the hole requires a precise shot in order to make a good score.

The tee shot:

Variety of Design: Fair. I detailed this above. The par 4s are limited in distance variety with only 89 yards of difference between them. Par 5s are also limited with just 52 yards; also 3 of the 4 dogleg to the right. The par 3s have good variety since two of them have a large number of tee boxes, but for total yardage, only 43 yards difference. For direction, 5 holes dogleg right, 2 dogleg left, and 7 are straight, excluding par 3s. 6 out of 10

Flow of the Course: Very good. The course starts with a relatively easy par 5, goes to a hard par 4, a par 4 that requires a great tee shot, some ups and downs in the middle before a closing 3 hole stretch that can allow for a great finish. 7 out of 10

Course Conditions: Fairways were very, very good. Greens were as good as could be expected given the terrible weather that Virginia experienced during the summer. 7 out of 10

Walkability: Not very good. The course is routed on hill tops with some lowlands in between and would be extremely difficult to walk. 3 out of 10

Atmosphere: The course has a great feel. The overall atmosphere will improve once the new clubhouse is finished. 6 out of 10.

62 out of 100; certainly an elite public course.