4 Best Golf Courses and Country Clubs 2012 in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, Upstate NY
If variety is the spice of life, golf in the Hudson Valley is a banquet of flavors. Whether you’re looking for a fun, quick nine holes or a serious threat to your handicap, you’ll find it at one of these four fine Hudson Valley clubs
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Quaker Hill Country Club
Pawling, NY; www.quakerhillcc.com
• 6,010 yards • Par 70
Many clubhouses in the Hudson Valley are blessed with fascinating artifacts from the early days of the game. Only one, however, can boast a fragment of limestone from the palace of Sargon II dating to 700 BC; a tilefrom Jamestown, the first English settlement in Virginia; and a stone from the Peary Monument that stands 1,500 feet above the Polar Sea in Greenland. These are just a few of the wonders built into the fireplace of the Quaker Hill Country Club, founded by adventurer, traveler, broadcaster, and bon vivant Lowell Thomas in 1940.
Thomas was also an avid golfer, so he brought his friend Robert Trent Jones, Sr., to the fertile farmland of Dutchess County to lay out a nine hole course on top of a plateau where the views never end. Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, and Jimmy Demaret were among Thomas’ friends who played the course, as were New York Governors Thomas Dewey and Nelson Rockefeller. So was Babe Ruth, who is pictured in a clubhouse montage arriving on a motorcycle.
The course continues to challenge golfers today with tiny undulating greens and two full sets of tee boxes that allow for a complete 18-hole round without repetition. Even though you cover the same ground twice, you never play a hole the same way due to vastly different shot angles introduced by the distinct tee boxes. Even the par threes aren’t just longer or shorter — the fourth/13th hole, for example, makes you approach the green from two completely different directions. The number one handicap hole, the 403-yard par-four fifth, becomes a short but treacherous 455-yard par-five the second time around as the back-nine tee box brings out of bounds into play on the hole.
Probably the most striking thing about Quaker Hill, though, isn’t the 19th-century barn converted into a clubhouse and museum full of history, or even the delightful and perfectly maintained golf course. It’s the casual, friendly atmosphere of a small family club without pretensions.
» Next country club: Manhattan Woods Golf Club, West Nyack, NY