The Best Golf Courses To Play in New York State

Many consider New York the birthplace of Golf in the US, although the sport originated in Scotland. New York is home to some of the most lavish and unique golfing experiences. So with all those stunning golf courses, which ones are the best to play?

The best golf courses to play in New York State are Bethpage State Park, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and Winged Foot Golf Club. Each of these courses offers a unique layout that will test your skill while being a truly aesthetic experience. These golf courses also host prestigious championships.

New York State offers a wide selection of golf courses, so in the rest of this article, I will explore the best links you can visit while in the state. So if you want to learn more about great golf courses in New York, read on.

1. Bethpage State Park (Black Course)

Bethpage’s State Park is one of the best golf courses you can visit in New York State. This course has been operational for over 100 years, which means it opened its doors during The Great Depression.

Though this golf course is quite old, its courses are anything but outdated. Bethpage State Park has ranked in Golfers Digest as the following:

  • #38 Best golf course in America
  • #6 Toughest golf course in America
  • #5 Greatest golf course in America

Some great pro golfers like Tiger Woods, Lucas Glover, Nick Watney, and Patrick Reed have played this fantastic course. The Black Course was also the home of the 2002 and 2009 US Open Championships, truly putting this course on the map.

I only recommend this course for highly skilled golfers, but it’s worth the visit if you think you can handle it or you’re looking to test your skills.

2. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

Shinnecock Hills is another prestigious golf Course Located in Tuckahoe, New York. This golf club was constructed in 1819 but has since undergone significant renovations, the most recent being in 2016.

This course uses the natural shape of Shinnecock Hill to create a truly advanced golfing experience. As a result, this club has frequently been in the spotlight, hosting some of the most notable golfing tournaments.

Golfing tournaments hosted by Shinnecock Hills:

  • US Open Championship in 1896, 1986, 1995, 2004, and 2018
  • US Amateur in 1896
  • Women’s Amateur in 1900
  • Walker Cup Match in 1977

This course has its fair share of pro golfers. In addition, experts predict Shinnecock will host another US Open Championship in 2026. If you want to try the course out, it’s a private club, and you must join to golf here. Membership is by invitation, and you can accompany a current member.

3. Fishers Island Club

As the name suggests, you will find this club on Fisher Island in New York State. This beautiful country club course offers 18 skillfully designed homes and happens to be ranked #10 in America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses by the 2019 Golfers Digest.

Fishers island is a private club located along a stunning stretch of beach where the property sits on the island. This island doesn’t house any hotels, but there are homes where the island’s residents live.

Membership to this club is costly but worth it if you have the funds and enjoy golfing on an exceptional course. Fisher Island Club offers a laid-back feeling that promotes relaxation, making it the perfect activity when you need a break and want to play golf.

4. Winged Foot Golf Club

This private 18-hole club is located in Westchester County, New York, and has been open since 1923. This prestigious club has two expertly designed courses for you to choose from and is known as a challenging course to play. Though this club is private, its members are allowed to bring guests.

Along with having a beautifully designed course, Winged Foot has hosted its fair share of championships over the years. Some of the more well-known golf games the club has hosted include:

  • US Open Championship (6 times)
  • US Amateur in 1940, 2004
  • Walker Cup in 1949
  • PGA Championship
  • US Women’s Opens (twice)
  • Inaugural US Senior Open

So many professional golfers have frequented the excellent courses Winged Foot Club offers. Albert W. Tillinghast’s course designs are indeed one of a kind and certainly deserve a visit if you can gain entry to the club.

5. Turning Stone Resort

This golf course is a truly luxurious experience. The Native American Oneida Indian Nation owns and operates the property in Oneida County, New York, and runs three advanced greens and two less challenging courses.

This course is perfect for a relaxing getaway where you can work on your golf swing. One of the biggest things that set this golf resort apart from others is its 17,000 sq ft (1579㎡) indoor practice green. The winters in New York are often harsh, but with an indoor green, you can keep up on your golf game in the poorest of weather.

Turning Stone is not strictly a private golf club, though it does have some honorable mentions. However, you won’t have to pay a fair amount to play here, or a member must invite you to join. So if you find yourself in this part of New York, it’s worth stopping by and giving their greens a try.

6. Leatherstocking Golf Course

Leatherstocking Golf Course is a picturesque green located in Cooperstown, New York. This course prides itself on being one of the most challenging resort courses in upstate New York. The course features 18 championship-level holes that sweep the stunning landscape, including a beautiful lake.

If you want more time to golf on this course, you can stay the night at the resort. This golf course isn’t a private club, so you can easily play if you happen to be in the area. Typically, Leatherstocking is open daily 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Some of the courses awards and accolades include:

  • Top 50 US Golf Resorts By Condé Nast Traveler
  • “One Of The Best Golf Retreats In The US” – Executive Traveler Magazine
  • One Of The Best Places To Stay By Golfweek

These are just a few of the course’s most notable mentions. You can find more awards and features on the course’s website.

7. Sagamore Golf Course

If you’re looking for a 5-star golfing expense, Sagamore is up there since the course is in a lavish resort on a private island overlooking Lake George. This course is stunning as nature surrounds the greens to create a wonderful golfing experience.

Famed course architect Donald Ross created this course in 1928, but Sagamore updated it in the early 80s. The resort also offers a complimentary shuttle for those staying at the resort to and from the course.

Though the course has a high-end feel, you can play without being a member. However, memberships are available if you want specific perks like unlimited golf, range balls, and discounts on most resort services.

Additionally, this course books up quickly, and I recommend booking your t-times 2-3 weeks in advance of your visit to ensure you get a chance to play.

8. Pound Ridge Golf Club

This premier golf club is known for its stunning hills and overall design. This course is considered one of the toughest in the country and one of the best public golf courses in New York. This course has been voted the best for several awards by places like Golfweek.

One thing to note about this course is that it slows down for the colder months to do maintenance. Typically, for their off-season, the course is a walking course only, and the driving range and restaurant shut down for a time.

Pound Ridge has been around since the late ’90s, and the legendary designer Pete Dye was the mastermind behind its construction. This stunning green runs over 172 acres (69.605ha) in Westchester County. You can easily book this course online, but most provide at least 24-hour notice to cancel a reservation. The club also issues rainchecks should the weather make a game unplayable.

9. Saratoga National Golf Club

Another one of the most outstanding golf courses to play in New York is Saratoga National Golf Club. This club is fantastic because it’s open to guests and doesn’t require a membership to try out the course.

This course snakes through stunning greenery and beautiful water features. It’s important to note that this course shuts down during the winter and reopens in the spring. Reservations are makeable up to 30 days in advance. However, if you wish to make a reservation even further out, you can do so up to 60 days in advance for a non-refundable fee.

If you aren’t exactly a pro golfer, this fantastic club offers golf instruction that you can book for yourself or even a child. Saratoga National also offers group lessons if that is more your learning style.

10. Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course

This course is also known as the Niagara Falls Golf Course. This course is fantastic because you can play here without a membership, but the club also offers memberships for those who regularly wish to play its courses.

The layout of this course is highly picturesque, as the sprawling green overlooks lakes and ponds. The dense foliage surrounding the greens creates a beautiful picture as you enjoy your game amid nature.

Seneca Course has 18 holes and offers golf lessons and daily access to its driving range. This course also hosts some minor golfing events, which you can apply to be a part of if you feel you have the skill.

11. National Golf Links of America

You will locate this well-known link-style golf course in Tuckahoe, New York, and National Golf Links first opened its doors in 1908. This 18-hole course is private and runs over 253 acres (102.385 ha) across Peconic Bay.

National Golf is known for hosting many women’s golfing championships but has yet to host any men’s games. This course is exclusive and difficult to enter; however, it’s worth the visit.

One of the most athletic draws of this course is, of course, the cost, but also the old windmill located on the property. The green is immaculately kept and appears striking against the blue water features and sky.

12. Piping Rock Club

Another excellent golf club located in New York State is the Piping Rock Club. This club is great because it’s challenging and offers much layout variety. It’s also fun, aesthetically pleasing, and great for improving your game. 

Golfers regard this course as one of the best in the state. Plus, it’s known for its designer Macdonald hole design, the Biarritz. This hole is frequently imitated by courses worldwide since it’s a challenging yet rewarding experience.

It’s important to note that this club is also private, and membership is difficult to obtain. However, if you know someone who’s a member, you can visit the 340-acre (137.593ha) golf course.

13. Garden City Golf Club

Another stunning golf course option in New York is the Garden City Golf Club. This club is fantastic because it hosts many tournaments and championships. You need to be a member of this club to visit, but the stunning green is undoubtedly worth the money if you plan to play often.

This course was founded in 1899 and is often called the “men’s club.” The club then went on to host the US Open Championship in 1902. Garden City also hosted some of the premier Mid-Amateur Golf Tournaments in New York.

Regarding club membership fees, the Garden City Golf Clubs are lower than average. This course is known for its character and is considered relatively challenging. Additionally, the setting is quite beautiful and has several shot options.

14. St George’s Golf & Country Club

Another must-try golf spot in New York is St. George’s Golf and Country Club. The 18-hole golf course was constructed in 1917 but has since been heavily renovated/reconstructed. This course is considered a classic as architect Devereux Emmet designed it.

This course is private, but you can gain entry by becoming a member. People often overlook this club because of its location, but it’s one of the best in the state. The course layout is genuinely artistic and great for playing a challenging game that will test your skills.

The variety in the course is relatively good, and it’s a fun layout to play. The old club has a lot of history since it’s such an old course and it’s certainly worth a visit after its recent remodel.

15. Sleepy Hollow Country Club

Sleepy Hollow Country Club is one of the oldest clubs in New York State. Construction on the course began in 1892, and the club has renovated the site several times. Over the years, the club has garnered quite a name for itself, ranking as one of the best courses in New York and the United States.

This course runs along 338 acres (136,784ha), skillfully sweeping through the stunning natural landscape and along the coast. Another great thing about this course is they provide an indoor temperature-controlled golf learning center for the cold months.

Several championships and other competitive games have taken place on its premises. In addition, the property has tennis, swimming, and horse riding. You can also stay the night if you’re a member of one of the 18 guest suites.

16. Sebonack Golf Club

Look no further if you’re looking for another fantastic golf course in New York State. Sebonack Golf Club is attractive as it sits on over 300 acres (121.406ha) in Southampton, New York. The course is highly aesthetic and carefully carved into the land to ensure optimal appearance and play.

The club runs along the coast and includes 18 challenging holes. In all honesty, this course is primarily known for its view and just how fun it is to play. This club is exclusive to members, though guests are allowed provided they adhere to the dress and ethics codes.

Along with a fantastic golfing expense, the clubhouse is one of the best, and the food is exquisite. This stunning green also had the honor of hosting the US Women’s Open Championship in 2013 and will likely host more events of this caliber in the future.

17. North Shore Country Club

Lastly, there is North Shore Country Club. This club is member-only, but purchasing a single membership covers your entire family so they can enjoy the benefits. Golfers consider the North Shore Club a classic, offering a healthy mix of challenging and easy holes. Thus, North Shore is known for being well-rounded in terms of course difficulty.

This course has also hosted several amateur championship golf games and has been around since before the 1920s. The goal of this green is to help sharpen your golf skills and ensure you have a good time doing it.

You can also sign up for lessons through this club and tournaments to improve your golf game. Another great thing about this club is that it’s family-friendly, which means you can bring the whole crew for a day of golfing.

The McClain Family

We hope we helped. Please let us know of any place that you want to know about in NYS or if we did a poor job with any part of this. Our goal is to help as many people as possible.

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