The five boroughs of New York City are home to nearly 8.5 million people, with many diverse neighborhoods affording residents and tourists enough to do to last a lifetime. Among those options—and lesser known—are public courses to meet the needs of golfers of all skills. Tee times are typically at a premium, but the prices to get in a round are quite good—better if you’re a resident of the city. The opportunities for sightseeing in NYC are limitless, but golfers should definitely make time to check out some of these city links.
Yes, this is New York City. Van Cortlandt Golf Course, photo by Shannon McGee/Flickr.
Marine Park Golf Course
A quick trip into southern Brooklyn will get you to the Marine Park Golf Course. This 18-hole Championship Course opened in 1964 and was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. With panoramic water views, the course features country club-quality fairways and greens and offers fours sets of tees to challenge golfers of all levels of play. The longest of all NYC courses, the links-style tract measures over 7,000 yards and is open to the public year-round.
Dyker Beach Golf Course
Right across the street from the Manhattan Express bus stop, the Dyker Beach Golf Course was originally designed in 1897 by Tom Bendelow, then redesigned by John van Kleek in 1935. The course combines historic style with modern convenience and features immaculate greens led to by lush fairways. It's set between the Belt Parkway and the BQE, just beyond the bustle of Brooklyn's daily routine. The Par 72 course runs just 6,438 yards and is the closest course to Manhattan Island.
Silver Lakes Golf Club
Set along the North Shore in Staten Island, the Silver Lake Golf Course provides golfers an arrangement with scenic views along the way. A classic layout that features narrow fairways and postage-stamp-sized greens, accuracy with a wedge will be a must. While not very long, just over 6,000 yards from the back tees, the tract gives the appearance of being shorter than the course actually plays. Holes #12 and #14 are set up with classic risk-reward opportunities, earning them the reputation of being the “Amen Corner” of the North by the locals who play there every day.
La Tourette Golf Course
Home to the annual New York City Amateur Championship, the La Tourette Golf Course features views of the rolling hills and valleys around Richmond Town. The restored manor serves as the clubhouse and gives the sense of the rich history and high caliber of service the course provides guests. The Par 72, 6,708-yard tract is known for its exceptional playing conditions and offers the only practice facility on the island.
Trump Ferry Point
The Trump Ferry Point Club was created by Jack Nicklaus to be a unique public golf experience to add to New York City’s global reputation for tournament-quality golf. The course takes advantage of its location to provide spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline, East River, and Whitestone and Throggs Neck Bridges. For those up to the challenge, and strong with their driver, the back tees run just over 7,400 yards for the Par 72 course.
Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course
Located near the Yonkers border in the North Bronx, the Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course is the oldest public golf course in the United States. Vanny, as the locals call it, has played host to famous guests like Babe Ruth, Joe Lewis, Willie Mays, and even the Three Stooges. The course has gone through some renovations, with seven new greens, new tee boxes, improved bunkers and drainage and additional cart paths, under the direction of architect Stephen Kay. The park-like setting and relatively short tract, just over 6,000 yards from the back tees with a par 70, is a welcoming setting for even the most casual of golfers.
Bethpage State Park Golf Course—Black
Farmington, Long Island
While not located within the city limits of New York City, no discussion of NYC courses could be complete without the inclusion of the historic Black Course at Bethpage State Park. Located in nearby suburban Farmington, the 18-hole championship course has played host to U.S. Open Championships, The 2019 PGA Championship, and will host the 2024 Ryder Cup. When the Pros are done with their rounds, everyday players are left with a 7,468-yard monster of a course that is sure to test every shot. Even from the middle tees, the run of 6,700 yards is nearly as long or longer than many full-length courses on the island.
Other Courses Around NYC to Consider (Private)
Garden City Golf Club, Garden City
Garden City Golf Club is a slightly controversial one, being a men-only, members-only club. However, it's extremely unique in that it’s old-school through-and-through, so if you’re a male golfer who’s able to join a member for a round at this unusual club, it’s worth the visit.
It’s traditional in every way. The clubhouse is decked out with vintage doors and lockers, and old photos adorn the walls. You’ll also be required to wear a jacket when visiting this club, in true gentlemanly style.
The course is a bit of a hybrid, styled like a links course but lacking the ocean proximity and sandy soil. Another old-school throwback, Garden City is a walking-only course, taking golfers back to a simpler time.
The course is fairly flat, featuring gentle curves throughout. But it does have some deep, tricky bunkers and deceivingly fast greens, so don’t judge the entire course by the wide, flat fairways!
Interestingly, the signature hole at this unique club is the final one, the 18th. Garden City is one of the few courses in the world that finishes on a par-3, and it’s a more challenging one than you may realize!
Featuring a carry of a pond to a severely sloped green, there’s no time to relax until your very last shot!
Rockaway Hunting Club, Lawrence. Photo by zhukovsky on Depositphotos.
Rockaway Hunting Club, Lawrence
Rockaway Hunting Club may not be the place you immediately think of when looking for a good round of golf. It’s the oldest “country club” in the US, although it has its origins in fox hunting, steeplechase, and polo.
But the members-only club features a Scottish-style links course that’s made all the more challenging by prevailing winds.
Take note that while this is a private club, they’ve extended an invitation to certain historic clubs across the country. If you belong to a club that has received an invite, you’ll be welcomed with open arms at Rockaway.
The renowned 9th hole is a long par-4, one of 5 holes that feature natural water hazards. It runs right alongside Brosewere Bay, close enough for wayward drives to be punished by water to the right and rough or bunkers to the left.
The rest of the course is also challenging, requiring every club in your bag. Golfers will need to stay on their toes and fight against the often-present wind, which can make the course even more tricky.
If you are lucky enough to spend a day here, take advantage of the other facilities too. Spend some time working on your game on the practice range or play a game of tennis while you’re there.
Need some tips to improve your game? Check out Golf Influence and become a better golfer.