Where I played: Pound Ridge Golf Club, a rare top-notch public course near NYC
Welcome to our “Where I played…” series, in which a resident GOLF staffer runs through a recent day at a course you might play in your future. On this occasion, Tim Reilly, our social media lead, visited Pound Ridge Golf Club in Pound Ridge, N.Y.
Pound Ridge Golf Course opened in 2008 and was designed by legendary course designer Pete Dye. If you didn’t know it was a Dye design, you would come to that realization by the time you arrived at the first green. It’s chock-full of his signature bag of tricks, in the best way possible. Located in Westchester County, Pound Ridge is a rare public course offering in the greater NYC area. While membership isn’t available, it offers country club-like playing conditions. It’s a great escape for golfers seeking a little peace and quiet just outside the shadow of New York City. Here’s what you should know about it.
Course: Pound Ridge Golf Club in Pound Ridge, NY
My tee time: Noon on Sunday, Aug. 16
Course type: Public
Price: The weekday rate is $150 before 1 p.m. and $125 after 1 p.m. The weekend rate is $235 before 1 p.m. and $150 after 1 p.m.
Difficulty: With a slope of 150, Pound Ridge is hard — but it’s fair. This isn’t a course to play if you’re looking to lower your handicap. Your full arsenal of shots will be put to the test. The contoured fairways make it tricky to find the short grass on a consistent basis and it’s not forgiving if you start spraying the ball. The rough is thick enough to punish you for not finding the fairway and there always seems to be a hazard in just the right spot to make you second guess shot selections.
Pound Ridge is one of those courses you walk away already thinking about how you will play a few holes differently the next time around.
How to get there: Given its hour drive proximity from my apartment in New York City, I was excited to come across a top-notch course I can actually drive to with relative ease. If a car isn’t available to you, there are two train station options within 15 minutes of the course.
Fast facts: To my surprise, Pound Ridge is Pete Dye’s first design in New York. You can play the course at just under 7,200 yards but there are five tee boxes available to offer something for golfers at all levels. Barstool Sports hosted a qualifying event for the 2019 Barstool Classic at Pound Ridge.
Notable/Favorite holes: The two holes that stand out are the par-5 13th and par-3 15th. On the 13th, there’s a giant boulder in the middle of the fairway. Now that’s something you don’t come across very often, if ever, at a New York golf course. My playing partner struck it dead-on and I couldn’t help but break a smile when he did.
I was warned about the 15th before I even arrived. I played it at only 144 yards, but it has a long and shallow green that’s protected by wetlands in the front, rocks around the perimeter and a giant hill along two sides to give the green a tucked-away feeling. But this is one of those greens that’s surprising larger than it appears from the tee box. Nonetheless, the setting got in my head and I chunked my ball into the wetlands.
I loved: First and foremost, I loved the convenience as a New York City golfer. It can be a challenge trying to find places to play around the Big Apple. And yeah, Pound Ridge is known for being hard. But once I’d arrived, I quickly grew to love the challenge. I found myself hitting an array of shots throughout my round rather than grabbing the same handful of clubs over and over again. I had to really think about where I was going to place to the ball and aiming for specific parts of the greens added an element you don’t always get at a public course.
There also aren’t many courses in the New York area with rugged mountainous feels to them. There is no shortage of rock outcroppings and the rocks actually came into play, adding a new element of challenges to several holes that I really enjoyed.
I didn’t love: Beside how I played on the front 9? I can see the price being an issue. I felt the same way initially, too. Once you play the course, though, you’ll realize that spending a few extra bucks is worth it to play a higher quality public course. If it falls outside of your typical price point, I’d encourage you to consider splurging.
Overall, Pound Ridge brought out a range of emotions and shots throughout my round. I’m already thinking about how I’m going to stick the green on 15 with my 8-iron next time…