Reader Andrew Song, a Golf On Long Island fan since 2009, values his time on the driving range. And if it's a grass range, all the better. A Bayside, Queens resident, Song doesn't mind heading east to Suffolk County if it means a break from New York City and Bethpage crowds, and the chance to warm up for a round at some of his favorite course practice facilities.
Song recently passed along some thoughts on his favorite practice areas and courses:
"Pine Ridge has a nice grass range on the weekends and a very large practice green. Though not overly quick, the greens at Pine Ridge roll very true, and reads can be quite tricky at times. It's a tight, challenging course that plays a lot more difficult than the scorecard suggests. Holes 11-13, in particular, are as challenging as any three-hole stretch you might find on Long Island, and one would be extremely happy and fortunate to escape that stretch with just bogeys. Saving par feels like a birdie.
"The best public practice facility on Long Island is at Wind Watch. There's a nice grass range and a great short-game practice area with its own green. You can hit chips, pitches, bunker shots and even 100-yard shots out onto the main range. I'm not sure if the practice facility policy will change [under new ownership], but I hope it doesn't, as it's the best place to practice on LI.
"Willow Creek has some of the fastest greens out of the public Long Island courses and the course overall is usually immaculately conditioned. It's similar to a Floridian resort course, with heavy bunkering, lots of water hazards and a nearly island-green 16th hole. It's also one of the few courses on Long Island that has a grass range (only on weekends) and a decent short-game and bunker practice area. Good thing because you will be in a lot of them!"