Hole #12: In the Style of Charles Henry Banks (1883-1931)
Yale graduate Charles Banks taught English at his prep school, Hotchkiss in Connecticut, for 15 years until he met Seth Raynor, who was rebuilding the school’s golf course. After working on the project, Banks quit his job to join Raynor’s firm. He worked with Raynor and C.B. Macdonald for five years, supervising construction of Yale Golf Club and Mid-Ocean, among others. When Raynor died in 1926, Banks completed 10 of his unfinished project. He then designed and remodeled nearly 30 other courses over the next five years, before unexpectedly dying of a heart attack at age 48. His nickname was “Steam Shovel” Banks, for he often used steam shovels to move massive amounts of earth in creating huge elevated greens and deep bunkers. That style is most evident in his designs of Whippoorwill in New York, Forsgate and The Knoll in New Jersey, and Castle Harbour in Bermuda.
In his work, Banks continued the Macdonald-Raynor tradition of adapting famous holes in each project. One of his favorites was the Redan, the legendary par-3 15th of Scotland’s North Berwick Golf Links. We considered a Redan replica for our par-3 12th, but chose instead to simply bunker it like the original. The green is not a Redan. Instead of sloping front to back and right to left (as the real Redan does), it’s bowl-shaped, a tribute to a unique green style that Charles Banks often used. Our Banks hole, incidentally, sits just down the hill from our Raynor hole.