New York City is about to get a brand new championship-calibre golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus.
And, anyone is going to be able to play it.
Donald Trump is opening Trump Golf Links in Ferry Point, New York, next April. The course is already done, and I got a chance to play a round with our sports writer Tony Manfred.
It’s a great course. It blows away all the other public courses in New York City, which isn’t saying much because most of the city’s courses are pretty beat up and uninspired. (There are a surprising number of courses in New York City. Of all the courses I’ve played in New York, here are my city rankings: 1. Pelham Bay; 2. La Tourette; 3. Split Rock; 4. Marine Park; 5. Dyker Beach; 6. South Shore; 7. Silver Lake; 8. Douglaston; 9. Moshulu; 10. Van Cortlandt.)
More impressively, Trump Golf Links is in contention to be a top five public course in the New York metro area. My list of the best courses in the New York Metro area (which means ~1 hour drive out of the city) before Trump Links goes like this: 1. Bethpage Black; 2. Pound Ridge; 3. Neshanic Valley; 4. Ballyowen; 5. Bethpage Red.
The new Trump course could compete with those last three on the list, though as a friend of mine said of the course, it’s best to wait until the spring when it is in full bloom.
There are only two downsides to the course:
1. It’s going to be expensive when it opens. Trump’s group hasn’t announced a price, but in 2013, Golf Magazine speculated that it could cost $US125 per round. An average round at a public city course is ~$US40.
2. It’s in the Bronx, but not near any train lines, so it’s not the most convenient place to get to.
Still! It’s a fun time, and it will be on every New York golfer’s list next year.
When I played I took some photos of the course so you can get a sense of the course. This is not a perfect representation because the course will have tall fescue grown in when it’s warmer, but this is an idea of what it will be like.
This is what the course will look like when it's in its glory next summer. The fescue will be up; the city will be in the background.
There is a generous putting green to warm up on. There is also a great chipping area to work on short-game shots. It feels like a high-quality course.
This is a view from the back tees of the first hole. At the tips, the course can play over 7,400 yards. The average golfer should play ~6,000 yards. Professionals play 7,400 and up.
Anyway, the course is fun. It's not too hard, either. I played nine holes from the front, nine holes from the middle, and eight holes from the back. My score was roughly the same from each tee group, which illustrates how fair the course is.
The downside to no trees is that you don't really feel as if you're escaping the city. You feel as if you're on this funny parcel of land surrounded by the Bronx.
There are, of course, some tough holes, like this short par 4 that has water down the right side. It's drivable, which makes it a fantastic risk/reward hole. It also also a lovely view of the city.
Right now, the fescue is cut. But in the spring and summer it will be all grown in. This looks awesome now -- imagine how it will look with towering grass on all those hills.
The greens are in good shape. They're nice and firm, like a links course. (It's not a true links course.)
You can get a sense of how expansive and open the course feels, but at the same time, it is situated in the city.
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