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Free Golf is Great Golf
http://www.publinksgolfer.net/articles/786/1/Free-Golf-is-Great-Golf/Page1.html
Golfing Magazine Staff
 
By Golfing Magazine Staff
Published on 06/28/2010
 

Brentwood Country Club

Pennsylvania Avenue, Brentwood
631-436-6060
BrentwoodCCgolf.com
Head Pro: Doug Jansen
6,173 yards, Par 72

When most golf-knowledgeable people hear the name of course designer Devereux Emmet, their thoughts immediately go to the many private courses and tournament courses he developed in the early 1900s: Garden City CC, Cherry Valley CC, Rockaway Hunting Club, Seawane Club, Huntington Crescent Club, Leatherstocking GC, and frequent U.S. Open host Congressional CC outside Washington D.C. But there is another gem of his that’s available for play by the public golfer, and it’s centrally located for anyone living on Long Island: Brentwood Country Club.
With tree-lined fairways and smallish greens, the course at Brentwood CC is both picturesque and challenging—its 6,173-yard length should not be taken by players as a hint that the course won’t play tough. As Emmet intended, course management is paramount here. In other words, players hoping to make par or better on any hole will have to think about the placement of every shot before stepping up to the tee.
Once the round is over, the lounge and restaurant facilities treat players to a relaxing yet classy atmosphere. The facility also does many weddings and special events during the year, so the food at Brentwood CC is up to par with the finest restaurants on Long Island. And although there is not a driving range on premises, Head Pro Doug Jansen recently created a high-tech swing lab where players can come to have their game evaluated by him and his well-trained staff, using the latest technology. Their clubfitting skills are sure to help any player who is looking for a set of clubs that’s just right for their swing path and swing speed.
As one of the more affordable 18-hole rounds on Long Island, Brentwood CC is a special treat for players who appreciate the history of the game and a traditional golf experience.


Dix Hills Park Golf Course

Vanderbilt Parkway, Dix Hills
631-499-8005
Head Pro: George Dixon
1,940 yards, Par 31


This 9-hole course is known as an enjoyable walk in the park for those who want to work on their game, or bring along the kids for some “together time.” Dix Hills Park’s layout is fairly wide open, and has no water hazards. But while the course is designed with two par-4 holes and seven par-3 holes, some of those seven holes can be set up as long 240 yards from the back tees, making the layout a considerable challenge. The fairways are tree-lined and the greens are well bunkered, with a few of them elevated. Player reviews are quite positive; many say that the course is always well maintained, and that a sub-two-hour round makes it possible to play more times each season, versus spending four and half hours on a championship course. What’s more, the waiting time even on weekends is usually less than 30 minutes from when you arrive.
Dix Hills Park also has a 20-stall driving range with brand-new balls, and there is a staff of teaching professionals who offer different lesson packages and clinics for all skill levels. Call the pro shop to learn more about the junior summer camps offered by the facility. This 9-hole course is known as an enjoyable walk in the park for those who want to work on their game, or bring along the kids for some “together time.” Dix Hills Park’s layout is fairly wide open, and has no water hazards. But while the course is designed with two par-4 holes and seven par-3 holes, some of those seven holes can be set up as long 240 yards from the back tees, making the layout a considerable challenge. The fairways are tree-lined and the greens are well bunkered, with a few of them elevated. Player reviews are quite positive; many say that the course is always well maintained, and that a sub-two-hour round makes it possible to play more times each season, versus spending four and half hours on a championship course. What’s more, the waiting time even on weekends is usually less than 30 minutes from when you arrive.
Dix Hills Park also has a 20-stall driving range with brand-new balls, and there is a staff of teaching professionals who offer different lesson packages and clinics for all skill levels. Call the pro shop to learn more about the junior summer camps offered by the facility.


Gull Haven Golf Course

Carleton Avenue, Central Islip
631-436-6059
GullHavenGolf.com
Head Pro: Vincent Cirino Jr.
2,727 yards, Par 35


Gull Haven Golf Club is a 9-hole executive course that has a few different tee boxes on each hole, which allows players to enjoy an 18-hole round that offers plenty of shot variety. The condition of the course has been recently improved, as the Town of Islip has focused more attention on this course. It is a sister layout to two other 18-hole courses in the town: Brentwood CC and Holbrook CC.
Gull Haven is a beginner-friendly course, with several flat, open holes and no water hazards. Then again, the small greens provide a serious challenge for any golfer, so accuracy on approach shots is the only way to score well here. The par-35 layout ranges in yardage from 2,400 to 2,727 yards, so it is perfect for juniors, ladies, and family play too.

Individual and small-group lessons are available from the course’s group of experienced pros, with instruction in all areas of the game: driving, iron play, wedges, bunker shots, chipping, and putting. What’s more, the facility has made a specialty of pre-teen and adolescent lesson packages, which is perfect for summer vacation. For large-group classes that are less expensive but still provide considerable personal time with an instructor, contact the sports office at 631-224-5404.


Great Rock Golf Club

Sound Avenue, Wading River
631-929-1200
GreatRockGolfClub.com
Head Pro: Tim McAuley
6,193 yards, Par 71


Great Rock Golf Club is snuggled among the trees, hills and boulders at the edge of Long Island’s wine country. Its very first hole, a risk/reward par 5, was named one of Golfing Magazine’s “Dream 18” holes on Long Island for 2009.
     The natural terrain across Great Rock’s layout—on the North Shore of the East End—is reminiscent of the outstanding courses of Westchester County and New England. Although not one of the longer courses on the Island, Great Rock demands proper club selection and precise shot-making all around its bending, rising, sinking layout. Course views include orchards, fields, and far-off  hills, while most holes are framed by mature trees.
Many players consider the greens at Great Rock to be among the fastest on Long Island, and their diversity in size and complexity provide non-stop decision-making challenges. The greens consist of super-smooth Bent grass, while the fairways and tee boxes offer a Bluegrass-Rye mix.
Both before and after your round, the pro shop at Great Rock is ready to fulfill all your playing needs. It stocks cutting-edge equipment and apparel at competitive prices, including products from Titleist, TaylorMade, Cobra, Callaway, Mizuno, Cutter & Buck, Fairway & Greene, and FootJoy. And if you don’t see what you need, special orders from any company can be accommodated. Lastly, the teaching pros on site use the Mizuno Fitting System for custom clubfitting.
Next to the pro shop, Blackwells Restaurant is one of the North Fork's premier dining venues. Its rich mahogany accents, perfect dining lighting, and gorgeous surroundings—both the dining room and the casual patio area overlook the the 18th fairway and green—make Blackwells one of Long Island’s most memorable spots for golfers and non-golfers alike.


Harbor Links Golf Club

Fairway Drive, Port Washington
516-767-4816
HarborLinks.com
Head Pro: Guna Kunjan
6,927 yards, Par 72


On what was a working sand mine set on the west shore of Glen Cove Harbor, the championship course at Harbor Links is a truly unique Long Island layout. Its most interesting feature is a huge bluff on the west side of the course that was stabilized with teeing areas, fairways, and greens that gently step up the slope from the clubhouse on the front nine, then cascade back down the slope on the back nine. Three holes have split fairways, allowing exciting risk-reward choices off the tee. Holes 12 and 13 sit in an area that looks very similar to a course in the western U.S., while hole 6—a mentally and physically challenging par-5 with its split fairway and its entire right side bordered by the tall bluff—was named one of Golfing Magazine’s “Dream 18” for 2009. There is also the well-manicured 9-hole executive course that’s perfect for a leisurely walking round, a top-notch driving range, an outstanding junior-golf program overseen by acclaimed teacher James Hong, and excellent and scenic dining and special-event facilities.
On both layouts, course architect Michael Hurdzan was respectful of the environment by working around wetlands, adding tall fescues, and adding habitat boxes for birds. Harbor Links is a member of the Audubon Signature Program, and is just the 29th golf facility worldwide to receive Signature designation. Audubon International certifies a course only after it implements a Natural Resource Management Plan that addresses wildlife conservation/habitat enhancement; water-quality monitoring/management; water conservation, pest management; energy efficiency; and waste management.
Besides doing such things to keep the course in harmony with the surrounding land and waterways, Harbor Links has hired Tess, a Border Collie, to keep the course in fine playing shape. Tess not only keeps the local geese out of the way of carts, golfers, and golf balls, but this specially-trained dog also gently chases them from playing areas without causing distress to other wildlife, or to golfers.


Holbrook Country Club

Patchogue-Holbrook Rd., Holbrook
631-467-3417
HolbrookCCgolf.com
Head Pro: Bill Leposa
6,252 yards, Par 71


Holbrook Country Club is a truly enjoyable public course that opened in 1992
in a convenient location: Just one mile south of exit 61 on the Long Island Expressway. Set on a terrific piece of land, the course is a demanding, tree-lined layout with elevated greens. The championship tees have a slope of 133, which makes it a perfect challenge for low-handicappers yet still very enjoyable for higher handicappers who play from the other tee boxes.
Like its sister club Brentwood CC, Holbrook CC does not protect par with course length. Rather, its 6,252 yards are protected by tighter-than-average fairways, doglegs, a few water hazards, and those elevated greens. For average players, hitting the ball in the fairway is a must if they hope to score well versus par, because players simply won’t be able to hold the greens with approach shots from the rough that won’t have backspin on them.
There is a nice driving range and well-maintained practice green for players to use before they play. As for the pro shop, Head Pro Bill Leposa has run the show there since the course opened 18 years ago. Leposa’s teaching philosophy is simple and effective for amateur golfers: “Your golf swing is not everyone else’s. So let’s make better the things you already do, and change only what is essential.”  His playing pedigree surely backs up his reputation as a fine instructor: He has qualified and played in every major Metropolitan PGA section event.
Once your round of golf ends, you should be in no hurry to leave Holbrook CC. There are excellent food and beverage facilities for either casual or formal dining. And a recent renovation has made the ballroom ready to become known around Long Island as a premier special-event venue for up to 150 people.


Island's End Golf & Country Club

Route 25, Greenport
631-477-0777
IslandsEndGolf.com
Head Pro: Bill Fish
6,700 yards, Par 72

Island’s End is a semi-private course located in the heart of wine country, on the North Fork of Long Island. The signature par-3 16th hole is regularly one of Golfing Magazine’s “Dream 18” holes—it lies high on a breezy bluff, running parallel to Long Island Sound, with stunning views of pleasure boats, ferries, and the rocky Long Island and Connecticut coastlines.
Don’t let the view distract you too much, though—there’s a huge ravine between tee and green that swallows up short shots, never to be found. And once on the rolling, right-to-left green, two puts is no sure thing either. The rest of the course is in fine condition, and  dotted with small moguls, bunkers, doglegs, trees and abundant foliage that announces the seasons in colorful splendor. 
Although semi-private, the course hosts mostly public players. Tee times can be reserved up to seven days in advance and walk-on play for singles or doubles is often available. Small groups and outings are always welcome. The facility features a driving range, practice putting green, and sand- and chipping-practice areas. As for the course itself, there are four tee boxes to accommodate every level of golfer. The clubhouse has showers, a lounge, a restaurant, and group-catering capabilities as well. The lounge area has an adjacent patio that offers views of numbers 10 and 18, plus the driving range and practice green. It’s as relaxing a spot as you will find at any Long Island course.
The pro shop has gifts that both the golfer and non-golfer will enjoy. It also offers gift certificates for golf play and equipment, Speaking of equipment, club rentals are available if you are on the East End for the day but didn’t bring your sticks. Also, woods and iron sets from Titleist, Cobra, TaylorMade, and Ping, plus shoes for FootJoy, are available for sale, as are lessons from the veteran teaching staff.