The Templates: Eden

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



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


This par 3 is designed to test a player’s mid-iron game, typically measuring between 160-180 yards. In recent years, technological advances have led to some courses lengthening the hole to restore the original intent. The Eden’s green is well protected and slopes heavily from back to front. Green complexes will also feature distinct, deep bunkering protecting. 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 13th hole to Chicago Golf Club during his 1920’s redesign. The par 3 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 of the green 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 short of the green 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. In 2015, Shoreacres added yardage to the 8th hole to make it play closer to the original intention. Notice the deep Strath bunker on the right and extremely sloped 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. The hole even more of a challenge when the wind blows off Lake Michigan and into the face of the players.

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 SLCC was lengthened to 200+ yards and much like Shoreacres, now plays truer to how Macdonald intended. The green at St. Louis’s 3rd hole is vicious. A 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. 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 an immense 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 is a menacing test. The green is severe and requires a stellar golf shot just to find the putting surface when the wind blows. Bunkers on either side of the green are treacherously deep, and the right-to-left slope of the green makes the shallower right bunker play deeper than it seems.

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 wild stretch from the 7th-14th holes at Yale bring you to some of the property’s flattest land and the 15th hole. The green has a severe pitch from right-to-left and back-to-front makes finding an uphill putt a difficult task. Players are also forced to take on the risk of the front right bunkers to find a chance at birdie. 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 on many of his designs. Any miss to the left will find 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 at The Creek, a Macdonald design on Long Island, has a very similar look to Camargo’s and possesses 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 7th green at MHCC is an Eden hole that is framed by the Hill, Strath and Shelly bunkers, but it doesn’t have an Eden bunker. Instead, the Midland version has water extended behind the green.

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