Since I’m somewhat of a
mega dork golf history buff, I’ve compiled these facts from numerous books, newspapers, magazines, rumors, videos, wikis and other websites I’ve researched throughout the years. Some I’ve even constructed myself.
- According to William Quirin (author of America’s Linksland: A Century of Long Island Golf), Long Island is home to more than 160 courses. 67 of which are private (as of 2008…I did the math).
- Inwood Country club is the west-most golf course on the island.
- Montauk Downs State Park would be home to the east-most course on the island. It just so happens to be my favorite—though extremely grueling—track as well. Speaking of which…
- The Downs was featured in Chris Santella’s Fifty More Places to Play Golf Before You Die. SI senior scribe Damon Hack (formerly of the Times and Newsday) gives his recommendation. I would agree.
- Gene Sarazen was the first head professional at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success. (1925).
- Long Island is well represented in the 2009-10 edition of Golf Digest’s America’s Best Courses: No. 3 (Shinnecock Hills GC), No. 15 (National Golf Links of America), No. 29 (Bethpage Black), No. 53 (Garden City GC), No. 86 (Maidstone Club).
- Bethpage Black is ranked No. 5 in Golf Digest’s 2009-10 Best Public Courses.
- Of Golf Digest’s most recent rankings of the top-30 courses in New York, 13 Long Island tracks are included. All of which are in the top-20: No.1 (Shinnecock), No.3 (Fishers Island Club), No. 5 (National Golf Links of America), No.6 (Bethpage Black), No. 7 (Sebonack GC), No.8 (Garden City GC), No.11 (Maidstone Club), No. 13 (Piping Rock Club), No. 14 (Friar’s Head GC), No. 15 (Atlantic GC), No. 18 (The Bridge), No. 19 (Deepdale GC), No. 20 (The Creek Club).
- The inaugural Walker Cup matches were held at National Golf Links of America in 1922. In fact, Long Island would again host the Walker Cup in 1924 (Garden City Country Club) and 1977 (Shinnecock Hills). United States went 3-0.
- Seven U.S. Amateur Championships have taken place on Long Island: Shinnecock (1896), Nassau CC (1903), Garden City CC (1900, 1908, 1913, 1936, ), Engineers CC (1920).
- Four Women’s Amateur Championships: Meadow Brook Club (1895, the first ever played), Shinnecock (1900), Nassau CC (1914), Cherry Valley CC (1927
- Oh you know, we’ve only produced winners by the likes of your Tiger Woods’, Walter Hagens, Gene Sarazens Raymond Floyds, Tommy Armours, Corey Pavins and some handsome young southern amateur by the name of Bobby Jones. Which, coincidentally, leads me into my next bullet…
- Bobby Jones won his first major on Long Island. The 1923 U.S. Open at Inwood Country Club.
- In total, Long Island has hosted 13 Major Championships. Although if you go by the Jack Nicklaus/Dan Jenkins school of thought which includes Amateur Championships, then its hosted 24 (seven U.S. Amateurs, four Women’s Amateurs, see above).
- Nine U.S. Open Championships: Shinnecock (1896- second Open ever, 1986-Floyd, 1995-Pavin, 2004-Goosen), Garden City CC (1902), Inwood CC (1924- Bobby Jones), Fresh Meadow CC (1932-Gene Sarazen), Bethpage Black (2002-Tiger Woods, 2009-Lucas Glover).
- Four PGA Championships (all match-play era, which ended after 1957): Engineers CC (1916-First year after two year hiatus for WWI), Inwood CC (1921-Walter Hagen), Salisbury GC Red**Now known as Eisenhower Park Red (1926-Walter Hagen), Fresh Meadow CC (1930-Tommy Armour).
More to come…