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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Otterkill Golf and Country Club, Hole 17
Otterkill Golf & Country Club
Campbell Hall, NY; www.otterkillcountryclub.com
• 6,860 yards • Par 72
Looking for a Hudson Valley golf challenge? Try Otterkill. It’s long, it’s tough, and it’s got more trouble than just about any two courses you can name.
“You’ll use every club in your bag,” says head professional John Schmoll. “Fifteen through 18 are known as ‘Amen Corner’ around here, and if you can get around there in par, you’re definitely beating the golf course and your competition.” Water, mostly from Otterkill, the creek from which the club gets its name, comes into play on 12 holes, while strategically spotted fairway bunkers, demanding carries off several tees, and large, undulating greens add to the fun. Just to make things more interesting, landing areas on several fairways are less than 20 yards wide.
The number one handicap hole is the 438-yard par-four fifth, which demands both length and accuracy off the tee, since the fairway turns a full 90 degrees left. Assuming you make the dogleg from the tee, you’re faced with an approach over water to a sharply contoured green. The hardest hole for many players on the front nine, though, is the 196-yard third hole, a par three that plays at least one club — maybe two — uphill. The odds of short-siding yourself are tremendous, too, since the green runs away on three sides.
The real heartbreakers at Otterkill are the last four holes. Fifteen is a dogleg right par-four. Your approach has to avoid water right and short, sand on both sides of the green, and even out of bounds near the green (one of the largest on the course) so you should double-check the pin position before you fire. Sixteen is a short (324 yard) but nasty par four with water, water everywhere. During the 2008 MGA Ike qualifying tournament, it played as the hardest hole on the course.
Seventeen looks like an easy par three at only 189 yards, but short is wet, left leaves an impossible up and down, and even getting on the severely sloped green in one shot doesn’t guarantee a two-putt par. Your tee shot on the closing hole, a 412-yard par four, is key to making par. It’s easy to drive into the trees on the right, but don’t even think of trying to cut the left corner unless you brought your scuba gear.