Seth Raynor was an engineer by trade. The father of American golf, C.B.McDonald drafted him to assist with construction of some of his early courses starting with The National Golf Links. Seth was a quick learner and ended up designing and building a whole raft of courses ( 168 ) himself, including Fishers Island, Mid Ocean Club, Mountain Lake, Shoreacres....
In 1925 Seth Raynor was invited to design and construct Yeamans Hall just outside Charleston in South Carolina. At the same time the club employed noted landscape architect Frederick Olmsted ( of Central Park fame ) to design the landscape for the 1000 acre Yeamans Hall project - and noted architect James Gamble Rogers ( Yale ) to design and oversee the construction of the clubhouse, accommodation and other buildings...
The depression years held up the rapid development of Yeamans Hall, preserving the timeless quality of the original development through the years. What we experience now is basically the same as was experienced in 1925!
Seth Raynor's golf course is a joy to play.
As you would expect when playing a C.B.McDonald or Raynor course, the famous links holes from the UK are used as 'templates' for a wonderful array of holes including Redan, Eden, Alps, Short, Long, Biarrritz and many others..
Raynor, Olmstead & Rogers knew what they were doing and the resultant experience is enhanced by the wonderful southern hospitality that Yeamans Hall provides. The ambiance of the course is very much dictated by the collection of Live Oaks and Magnolia trees that Olmstead used to frame holes and add colour and structure to the routing.
But it is Raynor's wonderful course that takes centre stage. Based on a basically flat sandy terrain, each hole demands your attention with a variety of strategic decisions as you negotiate your way around the course.
The bunkering is well positioned but very basic , and plain visually- although some are remarkably deep. Greens are often square in shape , and large but certainly less wild and rolling than modern greens. But don't underestimate them! - these big greens usually have a knob or valley in play which can play havoc with the putting!
Maintenance is a little less intense here than many modern courses, but there were no complaints from us - the course was well presented.
Our favourite holes were 2 par 3's - the 2nd (Short), and the wonderful 6th (Redan) hole.
In 1997 Tom Doak was invited to renovate the greens and did so very much in keeping with the understated style of the original design. I thought the greens were wonderful!
And Tom Doak also suggested the club clean out the trees serving as a backdrop to the par 3 3rd hole, to give clear viewing of the magnificent vista we see today across the marshland. A masterstroke!
This is a course I could play every day. A real gem
The Travelling Golfer