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Hole #6 “Burnside”

Hole #6 “Burnside”

421 yards, 349 yards, 317 yards, Par 4

Charles Banks in 1925On April 1, 1924, this whole hole was a large swamp impassable except with high top boots. Filling and drainage have brought it to its present pleasant contours. The surface of the present green is six feet above the original land surface. A sharp angle of the swamp remaining on the left cuts in on the left more than half way up the fairway. This angle is guarded by a sand dune. The safest shot is close to this dune and yet clearing it. Safety and distance increase with play to the right. The second shot is a pitch to the green possibly over a broad bunker on the right or avoiding a sand dune on the left. An over-shot is dangerous.”

The original notation of this hole was a “natural” design, meaning Raynor designed it to the terrain, not to a Macdonald prototype. The two “sand dunes” mentioned by Banks are gone, but the hole still plays as a dogleg that runs alongside a narrow “burn” (a Scottish word for small stream) on the left. The burn skirts the woods within which you can see and hear a small waterfall. Above the waterfall, deeper in the woods, remain the fish-hatchery ponds from the old Greist estate.

At the elbow of dogleg are the first of the course’s three sets of rare dawn redwoods. These are fast-growing trees in the conifer family, also known as meta-sequoias (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). They were long thought to be extinct until a small grove was discovered in southwest China in the 1940s and identified by a Chinese paleo-botanist. Samples were collected by an expedition from Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum in 1948, and they were distributed to other arboretums and universities for propagation. Several years later, Harry Meusel received a dozen, eighteen-inch seed­lings from Dean Mergan of Yale’s School of Forestry. Meusel planted three of them along No. 6, one on No. 10, and two on No.18 fairways as part of a 150-yard marker program and placed the remaining six around the maintenance barn. Only the fairway dawn redwoods remain, and what we see today is the mature growth of these distinctive trees.

Sometime between 1926 and 1950, a new long tee was added behind and to the left of the fifth green, which greatly raised the challenge for long hitters trying to shade the dogleg. Recently, Scott Ramsay has cleaned up the burn, improved fairway drainage, and confined the hazard lines on the left of the dogleg to the open watercourse itself (rather than the entire area from burn to woods). This now tempts players even more to risk the “line of charm” across the burn.


The fairway slopes up to the green, and the second shot is deceptively long, often requiring a long iron approach. A tricky forty-yard bunker guards the right side of green, which punishes those who push or slice their approaches. An over-shot is even more dangerous today because the contour of the green was altered in the 1960s. The back of the green was lowered so that an approach shot landing beyond center may not hold the green and roll off the back.

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