Built on only 126 acres in the affluent seaside hamlet of East Hampton, the East Hampton Golf Club is a beautifully intimate and intricate challenge created by design partners Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The course starts within an open pasture, the first seven holes tumbling gently across softly rolling ground and featuring plenty of subtle design, strategic bunkers, clever greens and engrossing holes. The final 11 holes are through wooded areas, with the terrain dramatically more undulating and noted for some terrific bunkering cut into steep slopes and intimidating approach shots across wasteland hazards.
The club itself was initially founded by a wealthy landowner who had first laid out a rudimentary 9-hole course for personal use and looked to expand into a golf club when an adjacent property became available for sale. Coore and Crenshaw were apparently restricted in a way by the clearing of trees that had already been done, but they were able to totally rebuild the existing parts of the layout into a new course of their own.
As with all their courses, here Coore and Crenshaw have created a fine, memorable golf experience by sticking to all the base design elements that make our game great. The putting surfaces are on the small side and heavily contoured, but effectively shaped within the surrounding terrain. The bunkering is great and the standout holes are both fantastic to look at and great fun to play.
Best parts of the front nine include the approach into the 1st green, beautiful driving hole at the par five 5th along a great diagonal fairway bunker and the steep back-to-front plateau green on the 9th. The drivable par four 2nd is also very good and encourages golfers use their driver despite a central bunker complicating the approach for those in the wrong area. On the more undulating back nine one of the highlights is the spectacularly bunkered ridge leading to the 12th green, other quality moments include the waste area left of the 15th and the double bunkered ridge on the par five 16th.
East Hampton is a real charmer, many will see it as being a little short but the holes are fun to play and there are enough quality bunkers and greens to keep all players on their toes.