2013 Daily Fee Golf Courses in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, Upstate, NY
No membership? Not a problem! Here are daily fee courses that welcome — and challenge — every golfer
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The Lazy Swan Golf and Country Club Village
Saugerties, 845-247-0075, thelazyswan.com
6,184 yards • Par 70 • Greens fee: $45
The best news out of Ulster County last year was the opening of nine new holes at the Lazy Swan Golf and Country Club Village in Saugerties. Architect Barry Jordan designed the new holes and tweaked some of the existing ones to create a challenging, scenic layout. The new Lazy Swan plays to par 70 at 6,184 yards. It’s a player-friendly layout, but no pushover, with water, elevation changes, and well-contoured greens to keep you on your toes.
The opening three holes are among the most interesting on the course. Number one is a 310-yard dogleg where a smart player will hit a mid-iron 185 yards off the tee rather than try the 230-yards-as-the-crow-flies carry over the pond between the tee and the green. The second hole is a 155-yard one-shotter to a Biarritz green bisected by a deep swale. Complicating your strategy is the fact that the shot is blind from the tee. The third hole, a 485-yard par 5, is the signature hole on the course. Be sure to stop to enjoy the views from the tee of Kaaterskill High Peak on the horizon.
Each of the par 3s at Lazy Swan is different. In addition to the unique second hole, there are five others ranging from 155 to 203 yards. The fourth is over water; the sixth, 203 yards up an intimidating hill; the 10th, 197 yards over water; the 12th has a long, deep green; and the 16th is a downhill tester with a potato-chip green that makes recovery chips and pitches particularly fun.
The Lazy Swan is a bit of a drive from lower Westchester, but it’s worth the trip. The Country Club Village has good food and drink options, so you can make a great day of it.
Hudson Hills Golf Course
Ossining, 914-864-3000, hudsonhillsgolf.com
6,935 yards • Par 71 • Greens fee: $65 with park pass; $85 without park pass
The crown jewel of the six golf courses operated by Westchester County is Hudson Hills, nearly 7,000 yards of impeccably maintained fairways and greens woven into rugged hilltop terrain in Ossining. From the stone pillars marking the entrance to the cheerful attendant who greets you at the bag drop to the smooth and fast-rolling greens, your experience at Hudson Hills resembles nothing so much as a round at one of the county’s many top-notch private clubs.
The quality of play ranks up there, too. Hudson Hills stretches 6,935 yards from the tips, although the green tees at 6,323 with a 71.0 rating and 129 slope provide plenty of challenge. There are two other sets of tees to make the course enjoyable for players of all levels. The course is laid out up, down, around, and about one of the highest hills in the county, making your travels around the course an exercise in distance control through elevation management as well as shot direction. And here’s a tip if in doubt about the line of your putt: It will always break away from the huge white water tower in view from just about everywhere.
Hudson Hills offers a steady diet of risk and reward, although you’ll want to bring an extra sleeve of balls if you’re an aggressive player, because the rough can be gnarly, and there are more than a few blind shots where it comes into play. The five par-3s range from 127 to 174 yards, and elevation, as you might expect, plays a big role in club selection. Five of the nine par-4s are 400 yards or more. Most of them offer generous fairways, although the short 4s demand high precision off the tee.
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