The Garrison – Garrison, New York Guru's Rating: 6.8
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (with cart): $90
If you’re into breathtaking views, you won’t find a better spot than The Garrison. Overlooking the Hudson River and West Point, the vistas are spectacular (and those loud booms in the distance aren’t thunder cracks – that’s our army getting prepped for battle).
The golf course, however, could use some touching up. I was excited – and surprised – to learn that the legendary Dick Wilson designed this place back in 1961, right around the time he was putting together schemes for Doral, Bay Hill, Cog Hill, and PGA National, among other notable layouts. To be able to play a Wilson track within an hour of New York City sounded like a treat. Unfortunately, as we discovered, The Garrison hasn’t enhanced or maintained Wilson’s original routing – seemingly since it was unveiled fifty years ago. Bunkers, tee boxes, and greens are run down. The course looks a bit tired. And that’s a shame given its ridiculously gorgeous setting and lineage.
For sure, there are some great holes where The Garrison shines – when you’re on elevated tee boxes gazing out for miles at mountains and ravines. The course bears down on you in the form of tight fairways, massive undulations, and falsely fronted greens. Other areas, however, feel too short and gimmicky from the back tees (just under 6500 yards), given today’s equipment and technology. There are tire tracks ruining a couple of greens, ground under repair surrounding others. And various sand traps are flat and in serious need of a face lift.
The potential exists for The Garrison to be a true hidden gem. Wilson’s original layout (holes 5, 7, 15, 16, and 18 stand out as terrific) is excellent, simply needs to be modernized, and you can’t beat the scenery. The Garrison is certainly worth checking out for yourself – particularly if you can adhere to The Guru’s tip below and avoid the overpriced $90 greens fees on weekends.
Most Memorable Hole: The 12th hole should be known as a goat-leg left, not a dog-leg left. It’s a bit unusual to hear the “bleating” of a goat when you’re teeing off. But that’s exactly what happens on the 343-yard par-4 hole – mostly because actual goats are being raised in a fenced-in area just off the fairway. Since I lost my tee-shot in that general vicinity, it was more than convenient for me to exclaim to my friends: “I’m pretty sure a goat ate it.” The hole itself is like many at The Garrison – short and tricky, no driver needed. A 180-200 yard tee-shot that stays right is required – and the approach is to a difficult, raised and well-bunkered green.
Most Challenging Hole: #14 is a 214-yard, all-carry par-3. A lake sits in front of the hole, a rock wall behind. And if the breeze is in your face, you’ll be racing back to your cart for another sleeve of balls.
Guru’s Tip: All summer-long, e-deals for The Garrison have been popping into my inbox from Groupon, Living Social, etc. Some of these deals were pretty solid – for example, $99 for two people – round, cart, and range balls. Keep checking these sites for similar coupons.