Best 18 Golf Holes at Westchester County’s Clubs and Courses in 2013
The pros’ picks: Westchester’s golf professionals reveal their favorite holes—and a few surprises!
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Every golfer has a favorite hole on his or her home course. It may be the one where they sank that clutch putt to win the club championship, or the par 3 where they made their one and only hole-in-one. Sometimes it’s the hole with that great view of the Hudson, or maybe it’s where the azaleas light up the landscape every spring. Regardless of the reason, we all have our personal favorites, which is really what makes our annual compilation of the “best” holes in Westchester so much fun.
This year, we asked the head pros of all the clubs in the county to identify their favorites on their home course. Some chose the signature hole—a few the most challenging. Most of them, though, picked favorite holes for the same reasons you and I do: because they enjoy playing them. They picked holes with multiple strategic choices and demanding approach shots, but very few of them picked the hardest holes on their course. A surprising number made their choice based on the natural beauty of the hole and its setting, which should serve as a reminder to us all to stop and smell the roses while we’re hacking away at par. If the pros were to put together a course, here’s what it would look like.
Wykagyl Country Club
New Rochelle • Hole 5 • 397 yards • Par 4
Ben Hoffhine: “The fifth hole requires not only an accurate but a strategic tee shot, because you have to be on the left side of the fairway for your best shot into the green. It’s also the hardest approach shot we have into any of the par 4s on our golf course. It’s a very narrow green from front to back, especially if the pin is on the right side of the green where you have to carry the bunker to get to it. If you hit a little long, you’re on the hill behind, which makes it very difficult. It’s also a very picturesque hole because the tee is elevated, and you get to look at the stream that runs parallel to the fairway and then across it. The view from the fairway to the green is also great, with the fescue on the hillside behind the green. Depending on the wind conditions, longer players will hit something other than a driver—because you have to keep it short of the creek—but you still have to be long enough to leave a lofted iron into the green. It’s the widest fairway on the course, but may play as the narrowest because the desirable landing area is so small.”
Century Country Club
Purchase • Hole 6 • 430 yards • Par 4
Nelson Long: “Our sixth hole sets so perfectly into the land-scape it looks like it just grew there. You don’t really need any direction on where to hit your ball since everything is right there in front of you. You can see the fairway bending a little left off the tee, so you know it would be good to hit a bit of a draw. You see the trees on the left, though, so you know you shouldn’t get too aggressive. Then you see the green perched on the hillside with bunkers down below on the left, so you know to hit your approach to the right side of the green. It just fits your eye.”
Trump National Golf Club Westchester
Briarcliff Manor • Hole 2 • 515 yards • Par 5
Carey Stephan: “It’s one of the prettier holes here, which is saying a lot since we have so many of them. Not only is it a great view from the tee, with water on the left and right, but it also has that risk and reward for a long hitter. The creek meanders all along the right-hand side, and it’s well bunkered, so it’s challenging even if you’re not going for the green. You can get on in two, but you have to navigate the pond and stream. It’s entirely possible to make anywhere from a three to an eight—or worse.”
Quaker Ridge Golf Club
Scarsdale • Hole 9 • 143 yards • Par 3
Rick Vershure: “Every great course that has great par 3s has a little one. Ours is number nine. It’s a little bitty hole and our tiniest green. It’s almost Redan-ish in that it slopes from right to left, and the ball will release from right to left in every instance. There are four really spectacular pin positions on that green. If you miss it long and right, you’re working to make bogey. The back center pin is the most difficult. In the Hochster every year, the guys will stand on the tee and see the yardage number then try to hit it. But if you’re above the hole or to the right, you almost can’t two-putt it. The guys who’ve played in the tournament before will play short and left of the flag. We have four par-3s and they’re all different clubs at 164, 185, 201, and 234—and they all face in different directions. Number nine is a little hole, but you can lose your lunch on it.”
Leewood Golf Club
Eastchester • Hole 18 • 408 yards • Par 4
Dean Johnson: “Eighteen has gone through a major transformation. It may now be one of the strongest holes on the course. In all my years playing in the Met Section, it’s definitely now one of the best finishing holes I’ve played. You have a shot coming into the green that has a creek down the right, and the green feeds down to the water. We put a trap left. If you aim right you’re pointed at trouble, and if you pull your shot left you’re going right at the bunker. We have tall fescue behind the green, so a little bit long and you’re in trouble there. It’s very hard but very fair. For the average player who hits a drive 210 yards, you’ll have 180 yards in there. There’s ample landing area in front of the green, and it’s a little bit bigger than most of the greens here at Leewood—but it’s your finishing hole, so you don’t want to end with anything worse than a par. That will put some butterflies in your gut.”
Winged Foot Golf Club, West Course
Mamaroneck • Hole 3 • 216 yards • Par 3
Mike Gilmore: “Even the pros rarely play from the back tees on the third hole because it’s such a severe shot. The narrow opening to the green gives it a visually intimidating view no matter which tee you’re using. And you should be intimidated! If you don’t hit the green, your chances of getting up and down are nil. If you land in one of the bunkers on either side of the green you’ve got a problem, because the green runs away from both of them. Even if you hit the green from the tee, it’s not an easy two-putt.”