Golf Blog

Golf Town New York!

With the New York area playing host to nearly 20 of America's top 100 golf courses, it is without a doubt one of the best areas for high end golf in the country.  The issue for most golfers is that the majority of these courses are private clubs.  Don't get me wrong, for a weekend golfer looking to pay a daily fee, you have got some great options with Bethpage Black, or nearby Ferry Point.  However, most passionate golfers have their eye on Long Island or Westchester as these regions pack a serious golf punch.  Getting an invitation to play some of these exclusive clubs is partly what makes these rounds so special.  I was fortunate enough to have a couple of these "Bucket List" courses on the agenda.  Let's jump into it, as I get excited just warming up to it.  Click on any of the photos to visit the full course gallery.

  • Quaker Ridge Golf Club

Coming in at #71 on Golf Digest's Top 100, Quaker Ridge is a Tillinghast gem and an excellent way to start off my adventure.  The course is pure classic golf and the greens are regarded as some of the finest in the country.  I found this to be especially true as I was one of the first to head out in the morning, following right behind the maintenance crew.

Given the challenge on the greens, there are certain places you can't afford to miss.  Unfortunately, I found just about all of those places.  A great start course wise, a bad start score wise.  

 

  • Old Oaks Country Club

A quick afternoon tee time was just what I needed to address my early morning swing woes.  As it turns out, that was definitely not the case.  However, I didn't mind my poor play one bit as the walk around Old Oaks is a fantastic one.  It was my second Tillinghast course in the same day.  The only way you can pull that off on the west coast is to own a private jet.  I do not own a private jet.

The highlight of the day was playing through a fourball on the 5th hole and nearly holing out for eagle.  As I tapped in for birdie, I pretended like I hadn't doubled the last two holes.

 

  • Hudson National Golf Club

Resting on dramatic bluffs above the Hudson River Valley, Hudson National is regarded as one of Tom Fazio's finest designs.  The design is not a natural one, as Fazio dynamited over 130,00 cubic feet to match the terrain with his design.  Built in 1996, Hudson is one of the more modern additions to the Top 100, coming in at #95.

The site used to be home to Hessian Hills Country Club in the 1920's.  However, a fire burned it down in the 1930's.  In an odd coincidence, my golf game would also go up in flames for my 2017 round.  Remnants of the old clubhouse can still be seen today along the 4th and 5th holes.  Remnants of my golf game would also survive the fire.

 

  • Essex Country Club

After playing Shoreacres in 2016, I immediately became a Seth Raynor fan.  Unfortunately, there are not many Raynor designs and none near my home base of Seattle.  So when I had an afternoon open up, I gladly signed up for some twilight action at Essex.  The club was founded in 1887 and is the oldest in the state of New Jersey.  A composite design by Banks, Raynor, and Tillinghast, Essex is one of the 25 founding clubs of the USGA.

I had the pleasure of employing Spencer for my round at Essex.  When it comes to caddies, Spencer was just about as enthusiastic as they come.    Quick quote from Spence:  "Oh yeah, our greens are big... Big enough for your ass."  With the help of my man Spence, my game was back on track.

 

  • Maidstone Club

Having found my groove at Essex, I was stoked to be heading out onto Long Island and paying a visit to Maidstone.  The club was founded in 1891 and architectural credits go to Willie Parker Jr.  It also has as a pretty sweet whale logo.  I had heard great things about Maidstone and I was pretty fired up to play.  

The holes on the ocean definitely stand out, but the entire design is very enjoyable and a lot of fun to play.  Fun fact:  The house to the right of the tee box on #15 has bullet proof windows to protect itself from errant tee shots and I guess.. gunfire.  Although, in East Hampton, people are not too concerned about flying bullets penetrating their million dollar homes.

 

  • Bayonne Golf Club

The last thing I said before I found the entrance to Bayonne Golf Club was "Oh man, I definitely made a wrong turn."  It is easy to think you are in the wrong area as you pull in from the nearby industrial area into the private gates of Bayonne.  It's a touch of Scotland that some how found it's way into New Jersey.  Built on top of an old waste disposal site, Bayonne does an excellent job at providing the golfer with a links experience... A links experience with a view of Manhattan.

The day started out with rain and by the 4th hole, it was pouring down pretty good.  Not good for pictures, but not a problem for this Seattleite.  However, by the 7th hole, the rain had lifted and we ended up with a pretty good day for golf.  Nothing quite like the feeling of pealing off your rain gear as the sun hits your shoulders.   

  • Aronimink Golf Club

I had originally visited Aronimink Golf Club in 2016 and it was easily one of my favorite Donald Ross designs.  So when I got a chance to head back out and see the Gil Hanse renovations, I was pretty excited.  If you follow golf course design, you know that Gil Hanse is the hottest architect in the game right now.  It's basically Zoolander but for golf nerds.  See video below for clarification on this point.

After visiting several of Hanse's renovations, I have found them to be very well done and non intrusive.  As a member at Maidstone described it to me, "It's not like he changed the nose on the Mona Lisa, he just scrubbed off all the grime and dirt that had built up over the years.  Now we can see the beauty of the original intent."  The renovation at Aronimink is no exception.  When the BMW Championship visits in 2018, I am sure the players will rave about the course.

Aronimink has one of the coolest clubhouses in the game.

Aronimink has one of the coolest clubhouses in the game.

 

  • National Golf Links of America

After several days of dealing with the big dogs, it was time to bring in the really big dogs.  National Golf Links of America is the ultimate creation from the father of American golf course architecture, Charles Blair McDonald.  This is his masterpiece.

When Stephanie Wei of Weiunderpar.com informed me that we had a tee time, I nearly threw up and definitely peed my pants.  As a fan of the classics and a fan of golf course architecture, NGLA or National, has been at the top of my bucket list for quite some time.  I had studied it from above via Google Earth and now it was time to study it from ground level.  I was beyond excited.

Unfortunately for my score, that excitement would carry over to the first hole and I would promptly open up with a double bogey.  The good news is that the golfer within would emerge and manage a handful of birdies and a score in the 70's.  Every hole is a study in architecture and a joy to play.  

 

  • Fishers Island

The cape hole at Fishers is a crowd favorite.

The cape hole at Fishers is a crowd favorite.

There is an old saying that goes "The only thing better than playing NGLA, is playing NGLA and Fishers Island."  Naturally we hopped onto the ferry to Fishers Island to honor this ancient saying.  Another Seth Raynor gem, Fishers Island is widely regarded to be one of Raynor's very best designs.  Because the course is basically on it's own private island, it offers a golfing experience like no other. 

There are some outstandingly good template holes at Fishers Island and I was particularly impressed by the "Punchbowl" and "Biarritz" options on the front nine.  Other highlights include a birdie bomb on the first hole and the bounce I received on the 8th that led to a very memorable eagle.  

Fishers Island was also one of the most interesting courses I have photographed from the air.  Be sure to check out the gallery.

The best part about the New York area is that you could easily do 3-4 trips of similar quality before you would run low on amazing new courses to play.  This golfer will have to return.

New York!

My friend, "Captain Joe" (pictured to the right) owns and operates a scavenger hunt company called Clash Scavenger Hunts.  When he informed me that he would be traveling to New York for a hunt and golf was on the agenda, I gladly joined him for the festivities.

First up on the agenda was the nearby Links at Ferry Point.  As far as golf options in NYC go, Ferry Point is the closest you can hit a golf ball outside of Manhattan other than the driving range at Chelsea Piers or ripping one down Wall Street (which is not recommended).  The course boasts some fantastic skyline views and the tall fescue was a nice golden brown.  In the shot of the day, Cory Bradburn holed out a wedge for eagle on the 8th hole.  

The Whitestone Bridge owns the view on the 18th at Ferry Point.

The Whitestone Bridge owns the view on the 18th at Ferry Point.

Upon arriving in New York, Joe and I decided that it would be a wise idea to document his visit to the big apple via a series of suggestive poses.  We named the photos for added effect.

The 2nd in a series of 6 photos comes from Korea Town where our group did some intense Korean style karaoke.  As it turns out, my voice is slightly less amazing than Whitney Houston's.  However, the power of our performances made up for any noticeable gaps.

Picture #2 is called "Mystery"  As in, it is a mystery why this photo was named mystery.

Picture #2 is called "Mystery"  As in, it is a mystery why this photo was named mystery.

Captain Joe, moves to a more "Urban" setting somewhere in the East Village for picture #3.

Captain Joe, moves to a more "Urban" setting somewhere in the East Village for picture #3.

The walk from the 15th green to the 16th tee is like taking a tropical vacation.

The walk from the 15th green to the 16th tee is like taking a tropical vacation.

Another clutch birdie captures the match and sends Jeff and Ashley to the ground for 35 push-ups.

Another clutch birdie captures the match and sends Jeff and Ashley to the ground for 35 push-ups.

There would be no rest for the duo as Joe and I would be up early for 36 at the iconic Winged Foot Golf Club.  It would be 36 holes of Top 100 golf.

On the 18th hole on the East Course, Joe would uncharacteristically flub his approach leaving 80 yards in for his 3rd shot.  That 3rd shot would find the bottom of the cup for a walk off birdie.  However, the West course would shut us out and concede no birdies for our twosome.

At 146 yards, the 13th hole on the  East Course  is referred to as the shortest par 5 in the world.  Both Joe and I would make 5 to confirm this fact.

At 146 yards, the 13th hole on the East Course is referred to as the shortest par 5 in the world.  Both Joe and I would make 5 to confirm this fact.

Joe Garvey does not putt from the rough, he putts from the sand.  Not advisable.

Joe Garvey does not putt from the rough, he putts from the sand.  Not advisable.

With the golf portion of the trip behind us, it was time to take in some more New York City, take some more pictures, and finish up with an all world scavenger hunt around New York.

The bridge to Brooklyn.  More commonly know as the Brooklyn Bridge.

The bridge to Brooklyn.  More commonly know as the Brooklyn Bridge.

"You're  Abe Froman ?  The Sausage King of Chicago?"

"You're Abe Froman?  The Sausage King of Chicago?"

Captain Joe's 1st in an outstanding series of 6 photos.  This one is aptly named "Skyline"

Captain Joe's 1st in an outstanding series of 6 photos.  This one is aptly named "Skyline"

Cory Bradburn tries to give his hole out eagle some company with an ace on 17.  He would miss wide right.

Cory Bradburn tries to give his hole out eagle some company with an ace on 17.  He would miss wide right.

After our warm up round at Ferry Point, our foursome blasted onto the scene at Friar's Head.  Our foursome consisted of Ashley Mayo, Jeff Blind, Captain Joe, and myself.  Perhaps one of the greatest pairings the world has even seen.

Friar's Head is a Long Island gem and we took full advantage of the opportunity.  The push-up game was in full effect and the birdies started early on the 2nd hole.  Long putts were made to save par and the hilarious comments reached an all time high

Ashley Mayo finds the fairway on the 15th.  Ashley always finds the fairway.

Ashley Mayo finds the fairway on the 15th.  Ashley always finds the fairway.

With Friar's Head in the books, it was time to get our jam on and lucky for us, an evening of 80's rock was on the calendar.  REO Speedwagon would open for Def Leppard at Jones Beach, just outside of Manhattan.  "Pour Some Sugar on Me" did not disappoint and Captain Joe and I head banged like it was 1985.

Jones Beach is a great venue to catch a summer time show.

Jones Beach is a great venue to catch a summer time show.

One of the better feelings in golf is pulling your ball out of the hole with the flagstick still in.

One of the better feelings in golf is pulling your ball out of the hole with the flagstick still in.

The proper way to pose on Winged Foot's finishing 18th.  Polo by  State Apparel.

The proper way to pose on Winged Foot's finishing 18th.  Polo by State Apparel.

Clash Scavenger Hunts are high energy, wildly fun events designed for corporate team building.  In this case, the business students at NYU were in for quite a ride.

Dubbed, the "Tech Party King" by the San Francisco Chronicle, Joe Garvey has created a scavenger hunt that will blow your minds.  If you haven't crowd surfed in an elevator, you haven't lived.

The champs pose with the legendary "Clash Cup"

The champs pose with the legendary "Clash Cup"

Thanks to Ferry Point, Winged Foot, and Friar's Head for hosting us and a bigger thanks to Def Leppard for rocking so hard.  I vow to return and rock again.

#MaleModel

Golf Digest makes it's home at One World Trade Center.  Not only does the building play an important part in American history, it also photographs very well.  Above is the view from the hotel, below is street level.

The team was fortunate enough to have Carter Berg as our photographer for the shoot.  Carter is a renowned New York City photographer, along with advertising campaigns for Ralph Lauren, his work has appeared in publications such as Elle Decor, Madame Figaro, and the Wall Street Journal.  Be sure to check him out at www.carterberg.com.  Carter got things off to a hot start by keeping this amateur model comfortable and encouraging a positive vibe on set.

We had a sizable production crew and I gave my iPhone to Meredith to shoot some "B roll" footage for the golf blog.  She did an outstanding job and most of the photos you see here are her handy work.  Check her out on Instagram as she is currently in a "heated effort" to reach 1000 followers.

George Washington impedes my back swing.

George Washington impedes my back swing.

Not many folks can say they swung a golf club on the same spot where George Washington took the oath as the first President of the United States of America.  I am lucky enough to have checked this one off of the to do list.

Behind the scenes work on Wall Street

Behind the scenes work on Wall Street

A big thank you to Luan Pham and his team at Golf Digest for providing me with such a cool opportunity.  The trip was such a great experience and a fantastic welcome to the world of male modeling.  Be sure to pick up the November issue of Golf Digest to see how things turned out.  Also, it's only $12 a year!

Recently I was asked by Golf Digest to do some modeling for a client's upcoming product launch.  I jumped at the chance and jumped on a plane to NYC.  Moments later I was in town for my first big break onto the modeling scene.  Below you will find the behind the scenes action of the experience.  This wasn't just any modeling, this was male modeling.

The driver is the perfect club choice for the Hudson hole.

The driver is the perfect club choice for the Hudson hole.

After a day of fitting and planning, we got things started at Brooklyn Bridge Park.  As a new model, I was eager to show of my many modeling poses, glances, and positions.

After a great shoot in Brooklyn, the team headed back to Manhattan for some photos on Wall Street.

Aspiring selfie model, Meredith Bragg, captures valuable behind the scenes documentation.  Erin Keleher keeps up critical client relations.  Man on the street ponders the FCOJ market/life.

Aspiring selfie model, Meredith Bragg, captures valuable behind the scenes documentation.  Erin Keleher keeps up critical client relations.  Man on the street ponders the FCOJ market/life.

The cobblestones on Stone Street break hard left.  

The cobblestones on Stone Street break hard left.  

After another successful shoot on Wall Street, the team moved back to One World Trade for the final segment of the day.  

Security is tough at One World Trade and each lens must be sniffed.  Photo by: Luan Pham

Security is tough at One World Trade and each lens must be sniffed.  Photo by: Luan Pham

As the shoot progressed, I became more comfortable with my modeling abilities.  The driver guitar was one of my favorite B roll shots but it will probably not make the final cut.  Although, if GQ and Rolling Stone ever collaborate to do a golf issue, I believe this warrants consideration for the cover.