The staff at Wind Watch Golf & Country Club spent years tinkering with and lengthening its opening hole, eventually maxing it out to a 491-yard par-5 before the 2010 season. With nowhere else to stretch it in the physical sense, new management at Wind Watch moved the hole on the scorecard instead -- across the course to the back nine.
ClubCorp, which purchased the Hauppauge course and Mount Sinai's Willow Creek G&CC from the Holiday Organization in 2011, made its first significant on-course change at Wind Watch earlier this year, reordering the layout in what is essentially a flip of the front and back nines, with only holes 8, 9, 17 and 18 remaining in place. Wind Watch general manager and golf director Pat Dill says the changes are designed to "improve pace of play, increase control on the first tee and get the nines back to par-36 on each side."
In the new routing, players tee off behind and below the clubhouse on what used to be #10, a slightly downhill, 353-yard par-4. Previously, rounds began with a short cart ride past the 18th green, around the tennis courts to the starter's booth, followed by a walk or ride up the hill to the new par-5 tees. Then it was a blast down the hill and a battle with the shorter side of the course. Now the nines are equal in par and almost identical in yardage (3,384 out; 3,302 in).
Wind Watch still ends with the same uphill 18th, a 90-degree dogleg boasting a triple-tiered green. But if you arrived expecting to tee off from one of Long Island's highest elevation points on a hole chosen as part of Golfing Magazine's Long Island Dream Club, you'll have to wait until the start of the back nine.
Thanks to a GOLI commenter for the heads-up about the change. For more on Wind Watch, check out the course flyover.
[PICTURED: Meet the new opening hole at Wind Watch -- the former 10th.]