Dunwoodie Golf Course – Yonkers, New York Guru's Rating: 2.4
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (with cart): $63
Just a 20-30 minute drive from the Upper West Side, Dunwoodie is tantalizingly convenient to anyone who lives in Manhattan. Unfortunately, that’s about all it has going for it.
A recent round at Dunwoodie found the greens and fairways in horrendous shape and the course borderline unplayable. Dunwoodie’s explanation was that the turf has fallen victim to numerous root diseases as a result of the “heavy rains and high temperatures.” As bad as I feel for the grass and roots, the atrocious conditions are a reality. Even without the root afflictions, the fairways at Dunwoodie have always been spotty and uneven, the greens poorly manicured and rough. The staff can be terse and even aggressively unfriendly (one ranger in particular seems to delight in pushing golfers’ buttons). The play all around you is so bad, you can forget how to swing a club properly. Now I’m the last person to judge others’ swings: we all stink sometimes -often more than sometimes. But I do believe that a swing is formed by mental imprints and pictures in your brain. And Dunwoodie is constantly holding a national convention for hackers with poor etiquette. You’ll likely play worse by simply being in this atmosphere.
Dunwoodie measures just 5830 yards from the tips. Your biggest challenge will be contending with sub-standard conditions – rocks and dirt in the middle of fairways, strange bumps on the greens (which you may need a driver to putt through), and uneven stances in tee boxes. The back nine is a minuscule 2821 yards and includes four par 3’s, so you can at least score well. You can go for the greens on many of Dunwoodie’s short par 4’s.
Most Memorable Hole: The par 3 7th is actually fun. It features a highly elevated tee box and a nice view (mostly of downtown Yonkers, but you’ll take what you can get here). It’s 184 from the back tees, but that ends up being a blind tee shot, which is silly on a par 3. We like to play this hole from the middle, which is about 154 (with the slope, plays about 140).
Most Challenging Hole: The approach on 11 (par 5) is tough, and the fairway on 15 can get narrow. But I’m gonna go with #5. A tight, sloping, 321 yard par 4 that requires a 200-yard tee-shot, placed in the perfect spot. Making matters worse, the ground on this hole is shoddy – you’ll likely be hitting your second shot off of a combination of mud, dirt, and pebbles, and with an odd stance. Because of its location and geology, Dunwoodie has had all kinds of trouble with the maintenance of this green, and it’s usually in pretty awful shape. Like most of Dunwoodie, this hole is challenging – but for all the wrong (non-golf) reasons.
The Bottom Line: This is not golf. It’s survival. And it’s not pleasant. Avoid Dunwoodie, unless you have no other options.
Guru’s Tip: Make sure you use the call box on the tee at 8 to order the “Southern Chicken Sandwich.” Spicy chicken cutlet, bacon, and spicy mayo. It’s delicious, but it may kill you. And if it doesn’t, the range balls that come flying towards the 10th hole just might.