[This flyover was updated on January 3, 2012.]
Nassau County golfers have a couple of options when it comes to playing along the waters of the South Shore. Reynolds Channel and its inlets play a lead role at the Lido Golf Club, and the opening par-5 at Merrick Road Park is a stiff test thanks to the presence of Merrick Cove. The bays and inlets of the Atlantic serve primarily as a backdrop at North Woodmere and Bay Park, though they do help churn the ever-present winds and gusts.
But public waterside golf up north on the Long Island Sound in Nassau is confined to the Glen Cove Golf Club, a 5,000-yard par-67 that makes up for its short yardage with tiny greens and tough angles for those who venture too far into the rough. Dosoris Pond comes into play only on #2 (pictured above), but a small creek slithers through the layout and affects shots on a few others. Glen Cove's length makes it appealing to golfers of all skill levels, but stronger players are likely to eat the short par-4s and flat greens for lunch.
The front and back nines each begin with holes playing downhill and fading to the right. The opener, at 478 yards, is the longest hole on the course and Glen Cove's only par-5. Nearly identical, the 467-yard tenth tees off right next to #1 and was once Glen Cove's longest par-4 (it's now a par-5).
The 400-yard second hole starts from an offset tee with the pond dominating the entire left side of the fairway. An open right side offers plenty of room for the safe play, but mounding and a thin bunker that snakes through the right rough can force awkward lies on shots inside 150 yards. Following a pair of mid-length par-3s and a 307-yard par-4, #6 brings the creek into play, if only to direct overly cautious tee shots toward a large fairway bunker on the left side. Depending on how far and left the ball settles, the second shot may be blocked by trees pinching in toward the fairway. Aggressive players can attack the right side, but any push or slice may wind up in the weeds or water.
Glen Cove's standout hole is #7, a 400-yard par-4 that bends left midway to the green. The tee is recessed behind a narrow opening framed by the creek, trees and shrubbery. Players who can't hit a draw are at a severe disadvantage because the close proximity of the trees to the left side of the fairway makes it extremely difficult to reach an ideal spot from which to approach the green. A trio of bunkers sit poised to intercept long, straight drives.
The back nine begins with the downhill par-4 tenth and a double dose of lengthy par-3s. The 13th and 14th par-4s give up a significant amount of distance but lure birdie-seekers into subtle traps. Like on #6, the creek encourages safe shots to the opposite side of the 13th fairway, but players may unknowingly put themselves in a spot where their view of the green is obstructed. A bunker protects the right side of the green and leaves an approach from the left -- the creek side -- unguarded. The 14th sacrifices even more distance, but this 242-yarder is dangerously narrow, and three bunkers around the green stand sentinel.
All that prevents a strong finish at Glen Cove is a bit of sand. The front half of the driveable 17th green is shielded by traps, and the 242-yard closing hole is fronted by a wide and steep bunker (right) that can either be beaten off the tee or with a flop.
Just because Glen Cove is light on yardage and slope rating (113) doesn't mean it won't make you work a little for a satisfying score. The necks of Glen Cove's greens are slim and strewn with rough, with only a sliver of fairway permitting a ground entrance to the putting surface. Rolling shots up and onto the green is generally a losing strategy. The greens themselves are tiny targets, but typically flat and easy to read. Very few of them throw out any tricky slopes or ridges.
Occasionally a tree or two near a green or fairway might be found to serve no purpose other than to block a view of the stick. A pair of trees hovering over the right side of the 11th green makes the target on this par-3 appear uncomfortably tight, but they become potential barriers against shots that miss short in their direction. Whether or not this is a fair use of natural hazards depends on your views on golf course design. But at only 5,000 yards, Glen Cove can't be blamed for stealing a stroke or two with a little gamesmanship.
Take extra care when determining yardage. Some holes don't seem to play to the number in the scorecard, and there are no markers anywhere on the tee boxes. The scorecard lists the par-3 11th as 184 yards, though the board at the tee reads 157. Yardages from the white tees are not listed in either the scorecard or on the boards.
HOLE(S) TO REMEMBER:
Players with the skill to work a drive from right to left have a big edge on #7 (pictured left), a 400-yard test with a fairway only partially visible through a small opening in front of the tee. Drives up the left side of the fairway will leave a shorter, more open approach than the alternatives. Straight and powerful drives can overrun the turn of the fairway and settle into any of three bunkers around 250 yards away. Shots that leak right will end up in the rough or in the front end of the fairway. Long approaches from the right side will have to contend with a greenside trap. The green is small and flat, and run-ups will be cut down by rough.
#2 is the pond hole -- it provides a nice view of the interior Sound waters from the fairway and of the beach from behind the green. A diagonal tee shot is necessary to clear a corner of the pond and reach the fairway on the right. From there, the green is a middle iron away. Mounding and a thin ribbon of sand on the right can penalize anyone who goes too far to avoid the water bordering the fairway's left side.
AREA(S) TO AVOID:
The 15th tee sits behind a park road and is offset from the fairway. Drives must be sent out to the left. Careless aiming can result in "straight" drives headed for a cluster of trees in the right rough, leaving either a lost ball or no shot at advancing toward the green on this 334-yard par-4.
With its small target and confusing yardage situation, the par-3 11th is easy to miss long. However, there are hidden grass bunkers behind the green, and beyond those, a wide dirt driveway.
Lattingtown Road, Glen Cove 11542
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