Guest Guru: Matt Ginella

The Olympic Club in San Francisco will play host to next week’s US Open, which gives us a perfect excuse to use Bay Area native and Golf Digest Senior Travel Editor as this week’s “Guest Guru.” In reality, there’s no bad time to talk to Matt about anything golf course related: he’s truly THE golf course authority (ok fine…guru). His actual employment (if you can believe it) is to travel the globe, play and experience the world’s best golf courses, and share that fun with us through his blog (“Where’s Matty G?”), jealously inducing tweets and photos on Instagram, and cleverly written reviews and rankings. He also might sneak up on your buddies (or ladies) trip for an “Ambush,” which will be documented both on-line and in print. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

“I want to try and help people become efficient with their time and money,” Matt told us as he drove from Golf Digest’s Wilton, Connecticut office to his Brooklyn apartment. “I’ve always had a passion to explore and discover and travel. I feel like I’m just a scout for the common man.”

We were licking our chops to pick Matt’s brain on his favorite Tri-State courses; but before delving into the treasure trove, we wanted his take on what to expect in San Fran. Turns out Matt played Olympic just two weeks ago for the first time and did not enjoy the course.

“I have no interest in ever playing there ever again,” he said. “You’re not excited to hit a tee shot, there are a lot of dog legs, the greens are tiny, it’s not fun, it’s just mean.”

Because of Olympic’s degree of difficulty, Matt expects a “total grinder – a Jim Furyk, Geoff Ogilvy, or Luke Donald,” to hoist the trophy on Sunday. The big favorites like Tiger, Rory, and Phil may just not be “sharp enough right now.”

Matt will be in his old stomping grounds for all the festivities next week, but for now he gives us his picks a little closer to home.


Prime Public Golf: Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale, New York: “The Northeast really feels very private to me – this area has got some of the most classic, true country clubs in America. But I don’t see anything wrong with Bethpage – I play a lot of golf there. The idea that you can’t get on the black course is totally overrated – you definitely can. But you’ve got three good options at Bethpage.”

Overrated: Pound Ridge Golf Club, Pound Ridge, New York: “Like the fact that it’s close to the city, but man, it’s tough and expensive and that’s a bad combination. They need to lower the rates.”

Customer Service Award: Patriot Hills Golf Club, Stony Point, New York: “Very friendly service, they act like they’re very happy to have you there. Pretty undulating, tough, but a little less expensive and a little more playable than Pound Ridge. Wraps around a former insane asylum.”

Unusual Design: The Architects Golf Club, Lopatcong, New Jersey: “Kind of a culmination of what golf’s architects are known for – a compilation course that honors famous course designers. Fun layout.”

9-Hole Layout: Poxabougue Golf Center – Bridgehampton, New York: “Where I play when I go out to the Hamptons with my buddies – right off of 27, right across the street from Town Line BBQ. For $25, you can play 18 holes. This place is the future of golf – short, fast, accessible, walkable, fun, inexpensive.”

Hidden Gem: The Garrison, Garrison, New York: “Beautiful, overlooks the Hudson – looks out to West Point.”

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