Hole #11 “Valley”
379 yards, 340 yards, 324 yards, Par 4
Charles Banks in 1925 “As contrasted with number ten which is practically all up hill, number 11 is practically all down hill. The tee is high above the green and the fairway immediately in front. From the tee, Long Island and the Sound are readily visible when not covered by fog. The play to this hole is to reach the second knoll and catch a roll over the far shoulder when there is an easy pitch to the green. The green is a reversed Redan and the hole is a two shot Redan. Play to the left of the line of play direct to the green gives a little better facing to the green for the kick-in play to which the green is best adapted. The green is backed on the left by a long bunker and has a long bunker on the right. The hole is essentially a drive and a pitch hole.”
Most Redan holes are par-3s, which is why Banks specified this par-4 as a two-shot Redan. And the classic Redan green is a banked curve from front right to back left, but here the green is curved from left to right. The hole plays all downhill, from the high tees looking down a fairway below that is bisected by a low saddle. A good drive will clear the saddle and feed into the landing area in front of the green. Long hitters will need to avoid the large bunker on the side slope to the left of the fairway, which is backed by a rock face.
Scott Ramsay removed tree growth behind the green, which returned the original look of the hole and also makes it more difficult to judge the distance of one’s second shot. He extended the already long green even further in the front, encouraging running approach shots. The green itself is relatively level, but it still requires a delicate approach because it falls away subtly to the right side bunker and to the back.
The bench on this tee was a gift of Fritz Meusel, Harry Meusel’s brother. Fritz is the same age as the course, and he has been playing it since 1951. He selected this spot so that those who had made the strenuous walk from the ninth green to the tenth tee and then over the hills and up to the tenth green and eleventh tee would have a place to rest. This is the hole on which Fritz has had two eagles (so far)!
In 1995 Dick Tettelbach’s family spread his ashes near the left fairway bunker and along the trail behind the ledge that leads to the home of Dick’s golfing friend, Arnie Whitten. The plantings behind the bunker reminded him of places that he liked to go hiking in western Massachusetts and Vermont.
Tettlebach played left field on the Yale baseball team, including two years as a teammate of George H.W. Bush. He captained the 1950 squad and went on to spend five years in the New York Yankees’ minor league organization. He played two games for the Yankees in 1955 before he was traded to the Washington Senators. On opening day in 1956, against the Yankees, and with President Eisenhower in the stands, he hit his only major league home run off ace Don Larsen. (David Paterson relates that as a young Scottish golf professional, new to the States, the very first baseball game he ever saw was the perfect game that Don Larsen threw in the World Series later in 1956. He admits that he couldn’t figure out what everyone was so excited about!) Because of his friendship with Whitey Herzog from their minor league days, Tettlebach was invited to spring training with the St Louis Cardinals for several years while Whitey was the manager. Tettelbach returned to Connecticut and was very active in the Connecticut State Golf Association as a tournament official, course rater, and president. The csga now awards the Tettelbach Award to its “Amateur of the Year.” For forty years, he was the president and the guiding spirit of the Eli Club at the Yale course. He was six times the Yale Club champion. In 2006, he was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame.