quaker ridge - 17 points
There is a very good chance that you have never heard of Quaker Ridge golf course, although if you have played it you will remember it for a long time. Set in the golf-rich, affluent area just north of Manhattan, this is one of the real old-school American golf courses.
It currently just sneaks into our top 100 in the world at 99= and this is probably one of the least famous courses in the top 100. It is a club which originated with the German Jewish community and this Tillinghast designed course has a very proud heritage. Playing at the US Open at nearby Winged Foot in 1974, according to the Quaker Ridge website Jack Nicklaus, was asked whether he thought that Winged Foot was the greatest course in the world. Nicklaus replied: "That may be, but there is quite a golf course down the street." Our caddies had translated this to ‘there’s one just as good’ by the time they told that story!
This is a great place. The course has a really serene feel to it. We started early in the morning when the fairways were still dew covered and the shadows long as it felt like we were totally cut off from the rest of the world as we played down the challenging par 4 1st hole.
The 2nd hole was playing in an unusual manner as a result of a land dispute with a neighbour. The club were in discussion with a neighbouring homeowner as to how many balls are going into his garden every year (this being in America there is a lawsuit involved, au natural) so you have to play with specially marked balls so there can be no argument as to the veracity of his claims. That was a new one on me. Fortunately we all managed to keep our balls on the property for the hole so we won’t find ourselves participants in the US justice system!
Anyway, that apart the first 9 unwinds in a very pleasant manner. As with so many courses I like, everything was in front of you. A little water gets introduced at the par four 4th and then the next shoots you over the water with a testing par 3, with the pin at the front it was pretty much all carry for us.
There’s a very nice course tour on the informative website so I would urge you to have a look if you are planning a trip to get a feel of what is to come
I had a fairly mediocre front 9, 4 of the 5 par 4s were over 400 yards long from the blue tees and the course played its length. There is out of bounds along the first 8 holes and the course is well treed – although they rarely seem to impinge. Things picked up for me though on the back starting with the long par 3 10th which had one of the longest greens you will find on any course. The 11th is a lovely par 4 which while not long, needs a precise second shot to carry the creek and hold the green.
The back 9 definitely felt a little more scoreable while the glorious serenity of the course kept going all the way to the end. The condition was fantastic, the caddies enthusiastic (certainly they didn’t leave us stuck for conversation……) and the welcome a warm one.
This was one of the best ‘hidden gems’ I have ever played. It is a wonderful place and if you ever get the chance to play then I would recommend you jump at it!
BOOKING THE COURSE
This may just be one of the slightly easier exclusive New York courses to manage to get on. Over the last couple of years they have started doing a few society and charity days and you could probably get into them. For example the Make a Wish Foundation had a day on when we were there and a Google search brings up a few others so keep your eyes peeled and Google alerts set
You are in prime US country club area here. They may not be that accessible but if you can get on you are in for a real treat. Check out the Westchester page for some tips for where to stay and play. Needless to say if you get offered a round at Winged Foot then do take them up on it!
146 Griffen Ave,
Phone: +1 914-725-1100