Before the leaves start to fall, we’re going to visit a couple of the notable courses within an easy drive of the Lower Hudson Valley and play a round. I’ll leave a couple of thoughts about the facility and you can leave a couple of comments about you’re own experience.
I’ve heard so much about Pound Ridge Golf Club in the year since it opened for play that I had to start there. Way back when I played the occasional round there, so I spent a fair amount of time last week marveling at the incredible transformation at the hands of Pete and Perry Dye.
Yep, those guys.
Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with the old traditional courses that make up the landscape in these parts. I hate it when architects force the issue. I wasn’t certain I was going to like Pound Ridge, but wound up having a blast.
The amount of work they did to create this place is evident.
“It was my quiet little gem on the hill,” said Mike DiBuono, the director of instruction at Pound Ridge who ran the old mom and pop nine-hole course for 25 years. “Now it’s probably in the best 100 courses in the country in terms of public facilities. When you come and play from the proper tees, you’ll have a wonderful time here.”
I know, I know. We have to address the elephant in the room. Yes, this is an expensive round of golf and there’s been a fair amount of criticism, but I also hear complaints about what it costs to play Saxon Woods. It depends on your situation.
Here’s my rule of thumb: What’s my wife going to do when she figures out I spent $235 on a round of golf?
Seriously, you have to decide whether there is room in your budget to play at Pound Ridge. If the answer is no, start dropping hints for gift cards before the holidays. It’s the kind of place you should experience at least once.
“It’s a destination golf course,” general manager Todd Leavenworth said. “We don’t have any hotel attached with us, but we’re starting to get that part of the equation set up. A lot of corporate golfers are using the course to entertain clients, and we have a steady local clientele.”
We played last Wednesday, and there were maybe 32 other golfers on the course.
Remember, you don’t have to play the blacks to get your money’s worth. Depositing a couple of sleeves of Pro-V1s in the wetlands is only going to ruin the experience. They steered us to the granite tees, which are set up perfectly for mid-handicappers like myself.
I didn’t play great, and still had a couple of looks at birdie.
The par 5s were all especially fun, and you always have to keep risk and reward in mind. I was surprised how firm the course was even after weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks of rain. You’re going to love the sand here.
Get a good look at No. 15, the signature hole. It’s a 144-yard par 3 from the middle tees with a huge slab of rock looming off the back of a narrow green.
“Originally, the green was supposed to go where the white marble is,” Leavenworth said. “During a site tour, Pete was out there in his waders making little mounds of sand and putting golf balls down. He said, ‘Gimme a 4-iron.’ And here was this 80-something-year-old man feathering shots off the rock and making sure they would fall down to where the green is now.”
I’d love to know what some of the best amateurs and pros in the area think about Pound Ridge. They need to get a Met PGA or MGA event to see how the course stands up.
(For the record, I carded a 69 … but we got chased off the course by lighting with a couple of holes left to play.)
By the numbers
Yardage: Black 7,171,Oak 6,787,Granite 6,279,Sand 5,713,Pine 5,180.
Course rating/slope: Black 76.1/146, Oak 73.8/142, Granite 70.4/140, Sand 67.6/128, Pine 64.5/112.
Driving time: From White Plains – 34 minutes. From Nyack – 48 minutes. From Brewster – 35 minutes.
Rates: Regular reservations – $235 per round or $175 after 3 p.m. Advance reservations must be made at least nine days ahead of time – $195 per round or $150 after 3 p.m.
Address: 18 High Ridge Road
(Photos by Jim Krajicek Golf Course Photography show the 13th and 15th holes at Pound Ridge.)