Though they had three holes closed last year after Hurricane Sandy tore through the Mid-Atlantic, North Shore Country Club rallied nicely and has been firing on all cylinders this year, even while other clubs have suffered greatly from the torrential rains, North Shore has been pristine.
“What a place,” admired a duly impressed design expert Rodney Zilla. “The restoration work was marvelous and the holes Tom Doak designed fit perfectly with the rest of the golf course. If you didn’t know what holes he designed beforehand, you’d be hard pressed to pick out what was his and what was Raynor’s!”
Zilla is absolutely correct. We wrote about North Shore last year in this article. Doak’s Sahara hole (the par-4 second), features terrific ground contours and angles. You can make eagle with a great drive and a long putt or you can miss the fairway and struggle to make bogey. The par-4 seventh was another major improvement.
“On the old 7th, they were fighting and fighting to keep people from trying to drive the green even though it was a very short hole. I just thought ‘Why fight it? Why not build a hole which challenges the player to be aggressive and lure him into the greenside bunkers if he misses the shot?’” explained Doak. “The only hole that’s based on my own template instead of Raynor’s, it’s based on the sixth at Pacific Dunes, but the green and bunkers are built to look like Raynor’s.”
You can challenge the deep bunker and try to drive the green or play safely to the wide part of the fairway and face a frighteningly narrow green to approach – scary even with a wedge in your hands.
“I also love what he did at 17,” adds Zilla. “It’s Doak’s version of a “Short,” but it’s every bit as difficult as the Biarritz at number 5!” With the green surrounded by trouble and featuring heaving internal contours, it’s much harder than the length stated on the scorecard.”
Though Hurricane Sandy closed holes 10, 11, and 15 last year, the club reopened those holes shortly thereafter. Moreover, the drenchings that plagued every major course from Oak Hill to Congressional – even Merion and Winged Foot weren’t spared – the torrential rains didn’t negatively impact North Shore at all. The course was in mint condition, the greens were perfect, and the turf was as healthy as we’ve ever seen it.
“It’s no wonder the club is enjoying such a resurgence. They trusted the right guy, (Doak), and he did his usual outstanding job,” said Zilla.