With 145 courses from Montauk to Manhasset, Long Island is a virtual golfers’ paradise home to some of the oldest, challenging and most scenic places to play in the nation.

Since there are simply so many to choose from, even those with an outsized need to hit the links, it would take two seasons for a golfer to tee off at each one if they went to a different course every day of golf season, which typically runs from the beginning of April to the end of October.

With that in mind, we made this list of the top 19 golf courses on Long Island—because there’s always a 19th hole—to try before summer ends.

Historically, the best golf courses on LI have been classic tracks designed in the early 1900s. In fact, nine of the courses on this list were established before 1940.

However, there also has been a large number of courses built between 1990 and 2006 on the Island. A half dozen of these newer courses made this list, too.

Tee off!


19. Bethpage Red
Designed by A.W. Tillinghast
Established 1935

Situated next to the famed Bethpage Black, it is very easy to overlook Bethpage Red at Bethpage State Park. Although the Red Course will never reach the level of Bethpage Black (where the PGA Championship will be played in 2019 and Ryder Cup in 2024), it has proven to always be in good condition despite its high level of play and is a formidable test for all players.

18. Piping Rock Club
Designed by C.B. Macdonald
Established 1911

This C.B. Macdonald design can be extremely difficult, depending on the setup. When they grow out the fescue and the greens are rolling at fast speeds, Piping Rock is as difficult as any course out there. But, when the tall grass is cut down and the greens are slow, the course loses its teeth. Regardless, this Locust Valley track is one of the greatest course designs not only on Long Island, but also in America.

Photo credit: tallgrassgc.com

17. Tallgrass
Designed by Gil Hanse
Established 2000

Measuring just over 6,500 yards from the back tees, Tallgrass is a manageable course in terms of length. Despite length not being an obstacle, this course still proves difficult. Located in Shoreham, Tallgrass has the all the attributes of a true Scottish golf course: tall grass, pot bunkers, false front and fast greens.

16. Willow Creek
Designed by Stephen Kay
Established 2006

Located in Mt. Sinai, Willow Creek is one of LI’s underappreciated golf courses. This semi-private track holds a course rating of 72.9, and plays 6,611 yards from the black tees. Always in great condition, this links-style course is known for its 16th hole. A par 3, 16 plays 170 yards from the black tee box to a difficult peninsula green, surrounded by water in the front.

15. Long Island National
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Established 1999

Holding a 73.3 rating, this Riverhead golf course is extremely difficult, marked by 55 bunkers and 3 lakes. The rolling fairways feature extreme undulation, making it rare to find a flat lie, even after a straight drive—something that frustrates players.

14. Laurel Links
Designed by Kelly Blake Moran
Established in 2002

Laurel Links in Laurel holds a course rating of 74.9, and is known for its notoriously difficult greens. Despite being a relatively new course, Laurel Links has already hosted U.S. Amateur qualifying in 2010 and Long Island Regional U.S. Open Qualifying in 2007 and 2009.

13. Deepdale
Designed by C.B. Macdonald
Established 1924

Located in Manhasset, Deepdale is known for always being in near-perfect condition. Although most holes hold a similar feel, the course is far from repetitive, and is characterized by steep, fast greens and sharp doglegs.

The Bridge Bridgehampton
Photo credit: www.reesjonesinc.com/the-bridge/

12. The Bridge
Designed by Rees Jones
Established 2002

Located in Bridgehampton, the Bridge is radically different from all the other clubs on this list in its treatment of members. While the traditional idea of a golfer paints a picture of a person who wears khaki pants, tucks in their shirt and stays politically correct, the Bridge encourages their members to wear whatever they want. Sleeveless shirts, sneakers, tattoos, piercings and whatever else fly here. When Robert Rubin created the Bridge, he aimed to create something that was modern, hip and completely original. Despite a different approach to how they treat their members, the one thing the Bridge has in common with the other clubs on this list is the quality of golf. The Bridge is known for its constant elevation changes and quick greens.

11. The Creek Club
Designed by Seth Raynor and C.B. Macdonald
Established 1923

Located in Locust Valley, this classic links course holds a course rating of 71.7. The Creek also is home to the largest green on LI, an island green on the 11th hole. The course runs alongside the Long Island Sound, with water views on 13 holes.

10. Westhampton Country Club
Designed by Seth Raynor
Established 1914

With a 72.7 rating, Westhampton Country Club flies under the radar as one of the toughest on the Island. At only 6,457 yards, the course makes up for what it lacks in length with difficult greens, as well as cross-bunkers around the course.

9. Atlantic Golf Club
Designed by Rees Jones
Established 1992

The Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton is characterized by hilly but subtle terrain and has no water. However, it does feature fescue and wind, which can prove to be tougher obstacles than water.

Photo credit: WikiMedia Commons)
Photo credit: WikiMedia Commons)

8. Maidstone
Designed by Willie Park Jr.
Established 1922

Located in East Hampton, Maidstone is more than 90 years old. There is an 18-hole course and a more family friendly 9-hole course. Both are in great condition. Maidstone is also one of a select few courses located directly on the Atlantic Ocean, and is known for its incredible ocean views.

7. Garden City Golf Club
Designed by Walter Travis and Devereux
Established 1899

The Garden City Golf Club, more commonly known as the Men’s Club, hosted the US Open in 1902. It is undeniably one of the finest LI has to offer, but some still take issue with their men-only policy. Defenders point to its rich history as the reason why the club has not changed its rules, but that has become an increasingly difficult argument to make in the wake of Augusta National—a course with arguably the greatest golf history in the world—welcoming its first female members in 2012. Politics aside, this course is still widely recognized as one of the top courses on LI and in the country.

Bethpage Black
Graham DeLaet during the first round of The Barclay’s – PGA Tour Playoffs / FedEx Cup at Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, NY August 23, 2012 (Photo credit: Kevin Kane)

6. Bethpage Black
Designed by A.W. Tillinghast
Established 1936

Voted 8th best public course in America by Golf Digest, Bethpage Black has hosted two US Opens in the last 15 years, and will host the PGA Championship in 2019 and the Ryder Cup in 2024. The Black Course is open to anyone who books a tee time and pays the $65 greens fee.

5. Sebonack
Designed by Tom Doak and Jack Nicklaus
Established 2006

Host of the 2013 Women’s US Open, Sebonack is another one of the finest courses on LI. Characterized by greens with absurd undulation and incredibly fast speeds, the course runs alongside the Peconic Bay. Sebonack is located in Southampton, and is neighbors with both National and Shinnecock.

4. Friars Head Golf Club
Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
Established 2003

Designed by Bill Coore and PGA Tour legend Ben Crenshaw, this par 71 golf course is surrounded by a beautiful clubhouse and one of the best practice areas on the Island. Located in Riverhead, Friars Head is known for its rustic look, with nearly every hole surrounded by fescue or some type of sand.

3. National Golf Links of America
Designed by C.B. Macdonald
Established 1911

This century-old course in Southampton has hosted the Walker Cup twice and is known for its compilation of holes that are recreations of famous British golf holes, as well as original C.B. Macdonald designs.

2. Fishers Island Club
Designed by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks
Established 1926

Opened in 1926, Fishers Island cracked the top 10 of this year’s Golf Digest list of the top 100 courses in America. Nearly every hole features a water view, whether of the Fishers Island Sound or Block Island Sound. This links-style course is constantly in perfect condition.

Shinnecock Hills
Photo credit: WikiMedia Commons

1. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
Designed by William Flynn
Established 1894

Undeniably the best course on Long Island, Shinnecock has hosted four U.S. Opens in three different centuries. Located in Southampton, this links-style course claims to be the oldest in America, and is still one of the toughest. In the final round of the 2004 U.S. Open, the average score was 78.7, with no golfer finishing under par.


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