The Templates: Eden

A history and analysis of C. B. Macdonald's Eden template hole



“The Eden” is a spectacular par-3 design that hails from the 174 yard 11th (High-Hole-In) at the Old Course at St. Andrews. The Eden, along with the Redan, are often considered the two best par-3 designs in golf.


The Eden is designed to test a player’s mid-iron game. Typically an Eden hole measures between 160-180 yards. In recent years, technological advances have led to some courses lengthening the hole to restore the original intent. The green is well protected and slopes heavily from back to front. Eden holes have distinct, deep bunkering protecting the green complex. This bunkering includes a left bunker called the “Hill”, a pot bunker on the right the “Strath”, the “Eden” bunker behind the green and the “Cockleshell” or “Shelly” bunker short and right of the green.


The severe green challenges both accuracy and distance control. The putting surface is canted, often leaving a great deal of break. Misses long of a pin will leave a quick putt. Missing in the wrong spot on this green can lead to embarrassment, such as putting the ball off the green,  or worse into the Strath bunker.  The place to miss on an Eden hole is short, which leaves an uphill chip or putt.

St. Andrews Links Old Course – 11th – 174 yards

One of the most famous holes in golf, the 11th at St. Andrews has given golfers fits for years. The severe green complex has been the scene of numerous implosions during the Open Championship.

The view from the tee on St. Andrews 11th - Photo Credit: DJ Piehowski

In the Strath bunker - Photo Credit: DJ Piehowski

Long of the 11th - Photo Credit: Zac Blair

Chicago Golf Club – 13th – 149 yards

Seth Raynor added the Eden hole to Chicago Golf Club during his 1920’s redesign. The 13th sits on the high point of Chicago Golf’s property and is a shot that looms in players minds throughout the round. The green pitches severely from back to front and has a spine that cuts on a diagonal across the center of the green. The most challenging pin is the back right location where any miss long faces a near impossible up and down.

The view from the above the elevated green on the par-3 13th at Chicago Golf Club

Short of the well defended green

National Golf Links of America – 13th – 174 yards

Many consider the 13th at NGLA to be the best Eden hole in the world. Macdonald’s gem has all of the core features of its St. Andrews predecessor but also boasts a pond that adds to its beauty.

From the tee on the par-3 13th at National Golf Links of America.

Shoreacres – 8th – 197 yards

A beautiful example of the Eden hole is at this Chicago area Seth Raynor design. Last year, Shoreacres added yardage to the 8th to make the hole play closer to the original intention due to technology advances. Notice the deep Strath bunker on the right and extremely sloping back to front green. The shot becomes more difficult the more the hole is played as the green and its severe contours place tremendous pressure on the tee shot. On a day when the wind blows off Lake Michigan, the 8th at Shoreacres is particularly difficult

The 8th hole at Shoreacres, a Seth Raynor design.

View from the Hill bunker - a tough spot for an up and down

St. Louis C.C. – 3rd – 213 yards

The Eden at St. Louis was lengthened to 200+ yards and much like Shoreacres now plays truer to its original intention. The green at St. Louis’s 3rd is vicious. The severe slope from back to front and left to right makes finding the right side of the green and staying below the hole a necessity to make par or better. Any miss at the 3rd almost ensures a bogey or worse.

The imposing tee shot at the 3rd hole at St. Louis C.C. - Photo Credit: Kyle Truax

Deep bunkers surround the green at SLCC's Eden

Fox Chapel Golf Club – 3rd – 197 yards

The Seth Raynor design outside of Pittsburgh features the Eden early in the round. This version is heavily bunkered, featuring two Hill bunkers and a very deep and large Strath bunker. Much like Shoreacres and St. Louis C.C., Fox Chapel too has been lengthened to adjust to modern technology.

The 3rd at Raynor's Fox Chapel Golf Club.

Fishers Island Club – 11th – 164 yards

Even on the calmest of days, the 11th at Fishers Island provides a menacing test. The green is severe and a great golf shot is required to find the surface when it’s windy. The bunkers on either side of the green are treacherously deep. The green slopes from right to left which makes the shallower right bunker play deeper.

The Eden green at Fisher's Island's 11th floats in a sea of water and sand

The deep bunker left, with the canted green running away

Pars or better are well earned on this Eden

Yale Golf Club – 15th – 190 yards

The 15th at Yale follows a wild stretch of golf from 7-14 and sits on some of the site’s flatest land. The green has a severe pitch from right to left and back to front. It makes finding an uphill putt to the hole difficult and forces players to take on the risk of the front right bunkers. The bunkering at this Macdonald – Raynor design are in need of a rework that recaptures the original depth and aesthetic.

Bandon Dunes – Old Macdonald – 2nd – 181 yards

Tom Doak & Jim Urbina were able to create a brilliant version of the Eden at Old Macdonald. The green is sloped severely back to front and the Strath pot bunker is as deep as any you’ll find anywhere.

The Strath bunker at Old Macdonald - Photo Credit: Bandon Dunes Golf Resort & Timothy Scahill.

Camargo Club – 5th – 179 yards

Many believe that Camargo has the greatest collection of par-3 template holes of any course in the world. The Eden hole shows off the incredible scale that Raynor used at his designs. Misses to the left fins a greenside bunker that is some 20′ deep.

Camargo's stunning Eden 5th - Photo Credit: Michael Blackham

The Creek Club – 4th – 174 yards

The Eden hole from The Creek Club, a Macdonald design on Long Island, has a very similar look to Camargo’s with all of the defining bunkers.

The 4th hole at the Creek Club - Photo Credit: Michael Blackham

Midland Hills C.C. – 7th – 193 yards

Midland Hills Country Club is a 1919 Seth Raynor design in Minneapolis. The green is framed by the Hill, Strath and Shelly bunkers but doesn’t have an Eden. Instead, the Midland version has water extended behind the green.

The view from above Midland's Eden, with water very much in play