Marine Park Golf Course – Brooklyn, New York Guru's Rating: 7.2
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (w/cart): $80.50
There are good things happening in Brooklyn these days (insert Nets joke here), particularly on the south side of the borough at a place called Marine Park Golf Course. You can feel the buzz about Marine Park: the head pro is a rock star and was featured in the New York Times, the lovely Lauren Thompson and her Golf Channel crew stopped by for a puff piece (Manhattan skyline in the background and everything), and on-going renovations and improvement have golf purists (like yours truly) smiling and nodding about how Marine Park is “doing it the right way.”
In a couple of years – mark my words, kids – Marine Park will be a sought after destination for golfers in the Tri-State area. It already has the feel and atmosphere of a terrific golf facility. Start with the energetic, well-stocked pro shop and clubhouse that lead you to a gorgeous driving range and putting green, flanked by an outdoor patio and grill. You get a good golf vibe before you even set foot on the first tee. And once out on the fairways, you can see the construction (bit of an eyesore, but it’s temporary) and detailing being injected to make Marine Park feel like a throwback links course. Berms, mounds, and detailed fairway bunkers are slowly but surely being put into place under the watchful eye of skilled designer/architect Stephen Kay.
The original layout for Marine Park was conceived by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1964 – but according to rumors, Trent Jones never finished the project, walking off in disgust due to a lack of funding from the city before his work was finished. The facility subsequently fell into disregard and disrepair until recently. Michael Giordano and his son Adam now co-own Marine Park and have aggressively tried to move things into a more positive, golf-centric direction. It’s working. As Adam told me recently, however, his biggest concern is the course’s location and the difficulty Manhattanites face in actually getting there in the first place. The grounds are off Flatbush Avenue, at Brooklyn’s southern tip, with no convenient subways nearby. Giordano is considering shuttle service from certain spots in Manhattan (Chelsea Piers for example), but no plans have been solidified at this point.
Most Memorable Hole: #14 is a pretty flat, reachable par-5 (plays 516 yards from the tips) that runs along Flatbush Avenue is and perhaps the least windy hole on the course (while you don’t encounter a ton of water on the course, the property is surrounded by ocean on all sides, causing tons of swirl). Most notable is that 14 is a microcosm for where Marine Park is going in terms of look and feel. Grassy mounds dot the right side of the fairway, along with a gorgeous (almost Bethpage-esque) fairway bunker. You can’t help but acknowledge the links atmosphere on this hole.
Most Challenging Hole: The 491-yard par-5 10th hole was my least favorite on the course – mostly because I recorded a disgusting four-putt on the green. If the wind is shifting into your face, this hole can feel like it plays 600 yards – and if you don’t play your approach below the hole, you may find yourself in the same predicament as me (let’s hope not). The green on 10 is like a skating rink, and depending on pin position, can be downright nasty.
Guru’s Tip: Right across from the fourteenth fairway on the opposite side of Flatbush Avenue is the spot where a fisherman named “Big Nick” would sell lobsters by the side of the road in the 1950s. He was so successful that his family opened “Nick’s Lobster Restaurant,” which is now a must visit after your round at Marine Park (and Nick’s Fish Market is still highly successful, acting as a supplier to Fulton’s Fish Market in Manhattan). Get the lobster roll and wash it down with lobster ale.