Long Island is a haven for golf fanatics. The New York Times stated it was one of the first places in the United States to appreciate the sport in the late 19th century. It also currently holds the highest concentration of courses in the country. Additionally, Long Island is home to an array of courses created by some of the world’s best course designers.
While a lot of the old courses in Long Island follow the classic Scottish links style, classic examples of the parklands style—much in vogue in the 20th century—can also be found here, as well as a variety of approaches that take the best elements from both. Given its huge significance to golf history, Long Island provides all the beauty, tradition and values that the game has to offer—and could easily be the best place to play in the country.
That being said, here’s a look at three of Long Island’s most beautifully designed courses.
National Golf Links of America | For more than a century, National has retained Charles Bailey Macdonald’s vision. The course was named such because all 67 of its founding members would come together to celebrate the game from different parts of America.
When it was established in 1911, Macdonald described it as a “God-endowed stretch of blessed seclusion”. It remains extremely exclusive to this day, keeping a remarkably low tournament profile; although it often figures among the 20 finest courses in the country, its size (at 6,779 yards and par 73) has kept it from accommodating a major event since it hosted the 1922 Walker Cup.
Shinnecock Hills | First by Willie Davis in 1895, and then by William Flyn in 1931, this course was designed to enhance the natural topography of the Shinnecock Hills and resembles a number of courses on the British Isles.
Opened in 1891, Shinnecock is the oldest formalized golf club in the country along with being the first club to have admitted women into its ranks. Known for being ultra-elite, the course at Shinnecock has a rich history of staging major championships. Play Your Course states that Shinnecock has hosted four US Opens “in three different centuries” and is set to hold another one in 2018.
Fishers Island Club | What it lacks in size, Fishers Island Golf Club makes up for with its breath-taking views – one of the greatest pleasures in playing the sport. Characterized by steeply bunkers and geometric greens along with water views framed by the beautiful shoreline, it’s definitely among the most spectacular settings for golf not only in Long Island or New York but in America. It has ranked number 11 on Golf Digest’s list of the best courses.
Designer Seth Raynor who was mentored by course design legend Charles B. Macdonald, died only months before the course had opened in 1926.
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