Greenwich’s Tamarack Country Club celebrates 85th year

The first hole tee from Greenwich's Tamarack Country Club. The club is celebrating its 85th anniversary in 2014.

The first hole tee from Greenwich’s Tamarack Country Club. The club is celebrating its 85th anniversary in 2014.

Tamarack Country Club in Greenwich, which opened for play in 1929, is celebrating its 85th year as one of the premier clubs in the region and one of only a handful of original Banks designs.

It boasts a superb course designed by noted Golden Age architect Charles Banks.

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,” said its 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 hole aptly named “Big Bertha.”

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