GREENWICH, Conn. -- Tamarack Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, boasts a superb course designed by noted Golden Age architect Charles Banks. Tamarack, which opened for play in 1929, is celebrating 85 years as one of the premier clubs in the region and one of only a handful of original Banks designs.
Tamarack is enjoying something of a renaissance since the completion of a Master Plan implemented by architect Brian Silva that improved and enhanced the golf course's playing conditions without altering Banks' original design intent. Silva's work included the enlargement of Tamarack's putting green surfaces, the leveling and increase in size of all tees with the inclusion of new forward and championship back tees on certain holes, and a comprehensive bunker restoration program. All existing fairway bunkers were rebuilt and 24 additional bunkers were installed, while a small number of greenside bunkers were rejuvenated.
As one of eight distinguished golf clubs in Greenwich, Tamarack long has been viewed as the club that was content to underplay its pedigree and stature as one of the area's finest examples of classic golf course architecture. "While the moniker 'hidden gem' may sound somewhat pedestrian today, it is true that Tamarack has been just that," says president Jeff Young. "We have a rich history that actually dates back to 1909 at another site, and the club is proud to have hosted some important Met area tournaments."
Tamarack gained local fame as co-host of the popular Ike Championship during its formative years from 1953 to 1962. The Ike was named in honor of former President Eisenhower, who personally approved the competition, and many of the top name amateurs of the day who were affiliated with Met area clubs competed for this prestigious title.
Architect Banks learned his craft from his association with legendary designers Seth Raynor and C.B. MacDonald. His first project was the Yale Golf Course, which opened in 1926. When Raynor died the same year, he left some 30 unfinished projects which Banks gradually completed over the next five years. Nicknamed "Steam Shovel Charley" because of his use of the new machine in moving massive amounts of earth to create elevated greens and deep greenside bunkers, Banks left an exquisite signature sandy footprint on Tamarack's par-5 17th hole aptly named "Big Bertha."
Also, in continuing the MacDonald/Raynor tradition of adapting famous European hole designs into their projects, Tamarack boasts an incredible number of these recognizable holes, including: the stunning long "Biarritz" par-3 (the 12th); a "Redan" (the 7th); the "Eden" (the 3rd) and the "Short" (the 15th). Other famous features found at Tamarack are a "Punchbowl" green (the 11th ), a "Double Plateau" (the 13th), "Alps" (the 6th), "Moat" (the 9th) and a "Road Hole" (the 14th).
Tamarack, named after a species of pine indigenous to the region, has a reputation as a friendly, family-oriented club. There are many children's activities such as kids cooking classes, karaoke, tennis, swim meets, junior golf programs, summer day and sports camps, and the annual Family Fun Day.
About Tamarack Country Club
Tamarack's historic Charles Banks course offers five sets of tees, including two forward tee boxes. In addition to golf, the club has a state of the art pool complex inclusive of a restaurant and locker facilities, plus tennis with five Har-Tru HydroCourts. The gracious clubhouse presents a number of indoor and outdoor dining options for members, as well as for weddings and other special events or parties. Tamarack enjoys an enviable reputation for its culinary excellence. There is a fitness center, a dedicated indoor golf training room and spa services all offered as popular amenities in the clubhouse. For more information about Tamarack Country Club, visit www.tamarackcountryclub.com or call (203) 531-7300.
On Course Strategies
Pat Norton/Jane Dally