Plan your next trip with our new Dream Weekend series, which gives you the best recommendations for golf courses, hotels, restaurants, and sightseeing – so you can relax and focus on your round instead of your itinerary. Now on the tee: New York’s Long Island.
New York is home to some of the most stunning and renowned courses in the country. In fact, four of the top 20 courses in the world are based here. Unfortunately, access to these exclusive enclaves tends to be limited, because many of them are, sigh, private.
But that shouldn’t preclude you from planning a super-fun golf weekend in New York! I’ve been living in Huntington on Long Island’s north shore for the past eight years, and I can personally vouch for the access you have to quality public-access facilities in the area. Here are my picks for three days worth of eating, drinking and good golf on Long Island.
Since this is New York, you have several airport options. JFK, LGA or even Long Island’s MacArthur airport (ISP) are all within a reasonable proximity to the courses on this itinerary. Avoid Newark (EWR) at all costs! You do not want to have to cross a bridge when you’re racing to make your tee time. And speaking of tee times, a quick note on my recommendations: New York municipal courses generally require your driver’s license to be on file before you can make a tee time in advance (you can often send it via fax or email), so plan accordingly! Also, you’ll also definitely need to rent a car.
11:00 AM: After landing, drive approximately 40 miles to my favorite local muni, Crab Meadow Golf Course in Northport on Long Island’s North Shore. While the course isn’t long (6,574 yards from the tips), it plays tough, with a rating of 71.6 and a slope of 125. Rates range from $45-$50 for non-residents, plus a cart fee of $18. The clubhouse is pretty basic—no frills—but I’ve always thought the course was a super value given the sweeping views of Long Island Sound you can enjoy from several vantage points around the course. And it’s especially lovely in the late afternoon.
4:30 PM: After completing your round at Crab Meadow, there’s no better place to enjoy a Long Island sunset than Prime, 7.5 miles west of the course, in Huntington. Enjoy fabulous views of Huntington Harbor as you sip on a specialty cocktail from the bar (I recommend the pineapple mojito). Insider tip: avoid the crowd of revelers at the Wave Bar on the lower level by ordering your drink at the main bar inside, then head outside to the Fantail deck area and enjoy the comfy Adirondack chairs arranged around a fire pit instead.
6:00 PM: Dinner is just a short drive away in Huntington Village. A plethora of options abound in what is often referred to as the dining capital of Long Island. My two absolute favorite recommendations are Ichiz, an Asian fusion and tapas restaurant with dozens of delectable varieties of dumplings on the menu, and Cassis, a warm and cozy French bistro where mussels have their own category on the dinner menu. My fave: the Moules Mariniere. Bon appetit!
8:00 PM: After dinner, check in to your home base for the next two nights in Melville, 10 miles south of Huntington. I’m partial to the Hilton, but there are plenty of chain hotel options, all with easy access to the highway.
Get ready for an adventure. You’re heading east—WAY east. All the way to Montauk, the easternmost point in Long Island. It’s home to one of my favorite courses: Montauk Point. It’s a bit of a drive, but whoever said a day trip to the Hamptons is a bad idea? That’s right, no one!
7:30 AM: Get on the road! Take the 495 East to the 27 East and don’t stop until you reach Newtown Lane in East Hampton.
9:00 AM: Breakfast at Babette’s. Yes, it’s pricey, but you’re paying for the ambiance (and excellent people-watching). It is East Hampton, after all! If you’re in the mood for something more grab-and-go, the Golden Pear is a block down the street and has all the usual breakfast staples (and a few specialties) readily available for a quick pick up.
11:00 AM: Get back on the 27 East for another 15 miles to reach Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course. This fabulous muni dates back to 1927, but was redesigned in 1968 by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and his son, Rees, and offers a stern test from the tips: 6,976 yards, a rating of 73.3 and a slope of 135. Add in a reliable stiff and changeable ocean breeze, and you’ve got a recipe for an absolutely awesome day of golf. Green fees range from $86-$96 (plus an extra $20 for a cart).
3:30 PM: Take advantage of the late afternoon sunlight and enjoy a stroll around the Montauk Point Lighthouse. You can’t leave the East End without visiting the oldest lighthouse in the state of New York, dating all the way back to 1796. Admission is only $10 (plus an extra $8 for parking), but you might want to change out of your soft spikes before trekking up those lighthouse stairs.
5:30 PM: You’ve had a long day—and still have an hour and 20 minute drive back to the hotel—so take in an early dinner by stopping back in East Hampton at Rowdy Hall, home of the best darn cheeseburger (the “Rowdy Burger”) and best-tasting pint of Stella Artois I’ve ever had in Long Island. Seriously! It’s warm, cozy and casual, and a favorite of locals and visitors alike.
3:00 AM – 6:00 AM Wake up! It’s decision time. Do you feel ready to take on the iconic Bethpage Black course? If you didn’t make a tee time in advance, there’s still hope! You can join the pre-dawn patrol in the parking lot. The good news? It’s only a 10-minute drive from your Melville-area hotel. The bad news? Only the first six foursomes of the day are reserved for walk-ups. Thereafter, it’s one foursome an hour mixed in with reserved tee times for the remainder of the day. While you don’t necessarily have to sleep overnight in your car to get out early (though many do), you probably want to arrive in the wee hours of the morning to be safe. Of course, Bethpage is home to five courses total: the Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and Black. All are worthy, but the Black is the crown jewel, having hosted two U.S. Open championships and several Barclays, in addition to being tapped for the upcoming PGA Championship in 2019 and the 2024 Ryder Cup. The non-resident fees at the Blue, Yellow and Green courses range from $38-$43, while the Red is $86-$96 and the Black is $130-$150. Golf carts are $37 (not applicable at the Black, which is walking only).
11:30 AM: Regardless of which course you play, lunch at the clubhouse at Taste 99 is a must. Traditional golf course fare like burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches is balanced by higher-end options like a sirloin steak entrée, an assortment of salads, crab cakes and lobster bisque. The prices are reasonable and the ambiance can’t be beat: An expansive outdoor patio seating area offers a great view of players finishing their rounds on multiple courses.
12:30 PM: Sadly, this marks the end of your New York golf weekend. Thankfully, you’re only about 30 miles away from your departure airport (JFK, LGA or ISP), so an early evening flight home is feasible. But the ever-present Long Island traffic may lengthen your drive to an hour or more, so be sure to leave plenty of time before your flight.