Ben Hogan purportedly said that The Apawamis Club was the “toughest short course” he ever played.
One of the oldest courses in America, Gene Sarazen began his career there as a caddy at the age of ten.
The Metropolitan Open, one of the oldest Open championships in America, was played there in 1909.
In 1911, the club hosted the US Amateur, where one of the most controversial finishes resulted when an errant approach ricocheted off a rock and determined Harold Hilton, the winner in a sudden death playoff.
“Hiltons Rock” remains a talking point, situated just to the right of the first green and scarred by many other wayward strokes since then – though none, as yet, reported being as memorable as Hiltons.
Willie Dunn arrived from Scotland in the early 1900s to design Shinnecock Hills and, in the same year, designed Apawamis. Quite a year for the legendary Scotsman.
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The Apawamis Club Features & Layout
This “short course”, only 6,473 yards from the tips, comprised of tight fairways, small, undulating greens, and protected by deep bunkering, has frustrated the most complete players.
The most notable hole is the treacherous fourth, a short par four with two layers of deep sand traps fronting the green, and christened “Eleanor’s Teeth” during the 1930s. An unmistakable reference to the toothy smile of the legendary First Lady.
During the 1970s, tour players who entered the Westchester Classic nearby played practice rounds at Apawamis and didn’t fare as expected.
Although at the top of his game and in his prime, Tom Weiskopf never shot a round in the 60s, nor did Tom Watson during a visit in the 1980s. Even the great Sergio Garcia, albeit only a world-class junior then, never shot a round in the 60s.
It’s hard to know if the tour players today, with their extraordinary length, would be able to dominate the course, as many of the par fours are under 400 yards.
But many of these short holes require irons off the tee due to dramatic changes in elevation. On the others, drivers would be difficult to hold on to the severely undulating surfaces or might lodge in the rugged terrain that surrounds them, challenging even the most accomplished short games.
The tiny greens provide for only a few pin positions and are usually cropped to a 12 on the stimpmeter.
Although changes have been made to the original design through the years, the revisions are consistent with the course’s original character and history.
The Apawamis mystique remains intact since Ben Hogan played there many decades ago. Golfers, playing there for the first time, can often be seen shaking their heads as they review their scorecard, usually several strokes above their adjusted handicaps.
It’s a frustrating golf course, like facing a knuckleball pitcher and returning to the bench after striking out on a 40-mile-an-hour pitch.
The Apawamis Club Scorecard & Hole by Hole
The Apawamis Club Slope Rating
Apawamis has a slope rating of 146 from the Knowles tees and a course rating is 73.4.
The Apawamis Membership Cost
Golf membership at The Apawamis is not revealed. Contact the club for more information.
The Apawamis Club Address
2 Club Rd, Rye,
Phone: +1 914 967 2100
Jack Holden retired from business and returned to writing full time about his lifelong passion for the game of golf. He was introduced to the game as a caddy in Westchester County, NY, where golf clubs and great golf courses proliferate. He provides unique golf course reviews, commentary, opinions, tales and other interesting tid-bits about the game he loves.