Trump Golf Links, Ferry Point – Bronx, NY Guru's Rating: TBD

Guru’s Rating: TBD
500 Hutchinson River Parkway Bronx, NY 10465
Phone: N/A
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (w/cart): TBD
Driving Range? Yes

Trump Golf Links, Ferry Point will soon impact Tri-State area golf in a seismic way- one that hasn’t been felt since the resurrection of Bethpage Black nearly two decades ago.

Let’s face it – a new golf course ANYWHERE is a rarity these days, let alone one in New York City. A fancy facility with all the bells and whistles like the one The Donald and his team have put together – complete with unique jaw dropping views of Manhattan, the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges, and the East River – has the potential to turn golf in our area on its head. Expected to open to the public in April 2015, this will be the only municipal course in the city with a golfing experience this spectacular – a Jack Nicklaus designed links layout that feels plucked from Scotland with its wind, fescue and bunkering. But make no mistake about it – while look and atmosphere are Scottish, the surrounding visuals are uniquely New York. You’ll use the Empire State Building and Freedom Tower as target lines. You’ll watch planes gently glide overhead as they land at LGA or JFK. You’ll see billboards, EZ Pass lanes, cruise ships, and apartment buildings as you make your way around the property. Normally these are the things we New Yorkers take for granted (or even curse at) on a daily basis. But on a golf course as beautiful as this one, it feels like a tribute to the city that’s a part of us…a work of art.

We can all now experience a Trump-run facility – not just the select few who play his private clubs – and a pretty incredible one at that. Pete Dye’s Pound Ridge is the most recent public course to open here with such hoopla (back in 2008) – but given Ferry Point’s proximity to Manhattan, the potential ripple effects are as audacious as Mr. Trump himself. Championship golf – including PGA Tour and USGA events – will be played here in the near future.  I can imagine TV executives salivating over the vantage points – and city officials giddy over the potential revenue streams.  Think about what Rees Jones’ renovation on the Black did for Tri-State golf…this is a whole new playground for possibilities.

The story of Ferry Point golf project’s conception sounds a bit like the plot for an episode of The Wire – messy city politics, red tape, and legalese blocking progress at every turn. Just to give you some context – the fantasy for the original ribbon cutting ceremony, had New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani wielding the scissors.  Yeah, that would have been in 2001.   The fact that a golf course has FINALLY arrived gives hope to things like the Second Avenue Subway and the Easter Bunny.  This project had been a costly, embarrassing disaster for the city – and Trump, Nicklaus and their respective crews deserve eons of credit for transforming lemons into lemonade – a former landfill into a championship course. That said, it’s no surprise that with six months to go before the “expected” opening, a myriad of questions still exist – some more concerning than others.

Here’s a little FAQ:

1.How much will a round cost? Still has not been determined but a good guess would be in the $125-$150 range. Trump’s staff and the city are currently negotiating on this. City residents will receive a preferential rate – but unlike at other munis – will not get preferential access to tee times.  Keep in mind that a non-resident weekend rates at Bethpage Black can often land around $150, so this will end up being (relatively) comparable.

2. When will the clubhouse be finished?   A temporary clubhouse/pro shop is presently under construction and you can expect that to be finished by Opening Day. Shovels, however, have yet to be put in the ground for the 15,000 square foot, $10 million clubhouse that Trump is responsible for under his deal with NYC. It would be optimistic – even for The King of Superlatives – to think such an undertaking could be completed by the summer of 2015.

3. How busy will it be?  The higher than average price tag will certainly scare some away – but I’m guessing this place will be jam packed on weekends. Given the mounds, fescue, wind, etc. I wouldn’t expect rounds to be clocking in at a brisk pace either.

4. Are there tees for all skill levels? Management is promising to offer 7400, 6800, 6400, and 6000 yard options when the project is complete.

5.  How hard is it? Trump’s staff is trying to push the concept the fairways are wide and the course is extremely “playable.”  I don’t think Ferry Point is anywhere close to some of the more difficult public courses in our area like Bethpage Black or Pound Ridge – but I certainly wouldn’t call it easy.  The wind can be brutal and the mounds and rough make golf balls difficult to find.  Our group played from the Blue tees (6800 yards) and many of the par-5s played much longer due to the wind.  We experienced a 3-club wind on one hole (the par-3 12th).  A lot fun risk-reward holes exist, including a couple of signature Nicklaus short, drivable par 4’s.

6. What are the practice facilities like? There is currently a sprawling grass driving range and short game practice area – both with fantastic panoramic views of the city and golf course.

7. Are there mass transit options?   Not currently but Trump’s group says they are looking into shuttle options from Manhattan

You may have noticed the TBD rating for Ferry Point – until we get prices and the project is fully completed, it’s not fair to assign a number either way.  Stay tuned to GCG for further updates on Trump Ferry Point’s development in the coming months.

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