Following college, for 15 years he taught English at his prep school, Hotchkiss in Connecticut. It was there that he met Seth Raynor, who was rebuilding the school's golf course. After working on the project, Banks quit his job to join Raynor's firm.
He worked with Raynor and C.B. Macdonald for five years, supervising construction of Yale Golf Club and Mid-Ocean, among others. When Raynor died in 1926, Banks completed 10 unfinished projects. He then designed or remodeled several dozen other courses in the next five years, before he prematurely died of a heart attack at age 48.
His nickname was "Steam Shovel" Banks, because he often used steam shovels to move massive amounts of earth in creating huge elevated greens and deep bunkers. That style is most evident at his designs of Whippoorwill in New York , Forsgate and The Knoll in New Jersey and Castle Harbour in Bermuda.
In his work, Banks continued the Macdonald/Raynor tradition of adapting famous holes in each project. One of his favorites was the Redan, the legendary par-3 15 th of Scotland's North Berwick Golf Links.