leisure 04.4.06

Golf Courses

The following is a brief roundup of the city's public golf courses. You can play on these courses with or without a permit, but the permit, $6 a year, will save you money. Permits are available at any of the courses (bring photo ID and proof of residency such as a utility bill). The course yardage is calculated from middle tees.

Van Cortlandt, Van Cortlandt S. and Bailey Ave., 718.543.4595, is one of eight city courses run by the American Golf Corporation. 18 holes, 5,918 yards. It's been around since 1895, making it the oldest public course in the country. Easy to get to without a car since it's a short walk from the subway.

Mosholu, 3700 Jerome [Bainbridge] 718.655.9164, 9 holes, 3263 yards. A narrow, short course, easily accessible from the 4 train, makes Mosholu convenient, though the greens aren't exactly the best maintained.

Pelham/Split Rock, 870 Shore Rd. 718.885.1258. Both are 18 holes, Pelham is 6261 yards, Split Rock is 6281 yards. Quite different courses: Pelham is more bucolic, seasoned golfers say Split Rock has the better layout; it's definitely more challenging with elevation changes and doglegs. As with most city courses, the pace of other golfers is the biggest complaint.

Dyker Beach, 7th Ave. and 86th St. 718.836.9722, 18 holes, 6260 yards. Golfers generally like the course layout (it's one of John Van Kleek redesigns in the 1930s), but watch out for busloads of players who slow down the course. You'll have a much better round if you reserve your tee time carefully.

Marine Park, 2800 Flatbush Ave. 718.338.7113, 18 holes 6609 yards. It's a long and windy 'links'-style course, considered a decent one, though it starts with its own handicap: it was built on the site of an old dump. Take too big of a divot and you'll hit a refrigerator.

Forest Park, Forest Park Dr. near the Interboro, 718.296.0999, 18 holes, 5,635 yards. This relatively short course with three water holes takes raps for being too crowded, for too many trees, and greens in iffy shape, though most agree the staff is friendly.

Clearview, 202-12 Willets Point Blvd 718.229.2570, 18 holes, 6257 yards. Wide, reasonably well-conditioned fairways make this course popular with beginners, but that can slow rounds down to a crawl, especially on weekends.

Douglaston, 6320 Marathon Pkwy [Commonwealth Blvd] 718.428.1617, 18 holes, 5,140 yards. A major renovation in 2004 transformed the hilly Douglaston course, with its views of Manhattan and a number of required blind shots, into one of the better city courses.

Kissena, 164-15 Booth Memorial Ave. [164th] 718.939.4594, 18 holes, 4,425 yards. Kissena is a short course designed by John Van Kleek to challenge golfers to hit many kinds of shots. It is not an especially beloved course.

Silver Lake, 915 Victory Blvd [Forest Ave.] 718.447.5686, 18 holes, 5745 yards. Easier to get to than La Tourette (a ten-minute bus ride from the ferry terminal), this tight course, designed by John Van Kleek, is generally well maintained, though most prefer La Tourette.

La Tourette, 1001 Richmond Hill Rd. 718.351.1889, 18 holes, 6322 yards. Probably the most appealing of the all the city courses, especially since the American Golf Corporation has invested in a recent upgrade. Golfers like the layout, the variety of the holes, and the scenery.

South Shore, 200 Huguenot Ave. [Raily St.] 718.984.0101, 18 holes, 6317 yards. It's off the beaten path, but still manages to be crowded. In all, a pretty mixed reaction: a hilly course, reasonably good condition, but slow play and not an especially interesting design.

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