National Golf Links of America—Southampton, NY

Rankings as of 5/19/2010—
-Ranked the 15th best course in the US, 5th best course in New York (Golf Digest)
-Ranked the 9th best course in the US, 12th best course in the world (Golf Mag.)
-Ranked the 4th best classic US course (Golfweek)

The creation of The National Golf Links of America is perhaps the single biggest watershed moment in the history
of golf course architecture within the United States.  The legendary CB MacDonald traveled to the British Isles in
the early 1900’s to study their many great courses and golf holes.  He took copious notes on the nuances,
concepts, and strategies required to play these holes and then he used these ideas to design and build the holes
at The National.  His idea was to build the ideal golf course.  Well, he may he may have, in fact, accomplished that
feat.  

To date, this course is the most enjoyable golf course I have ever played.  Rather than a typical round of golf,
playing at The National is an epic adventure over the rolling property located by the Peconic Bay.  All the shots
seem unique and interesting and the holes offer a wide variety of options concerning how to play them.  Run up
shots to the green are routinely offered up as one of those options, as are high arcing shots.  You may choose to
cut a corner here or there, but risk terrible danger.  Or you may take the longer, but safer, route home.  And the
greens…oh those greens!!!!...they are magnificently brilliant.  Not only do they run pure and true, but their
undulations are so wildly wonderful and exciting to putt on that words just won’t do it justice.  This course is truly
magnificent.

Although I have yet to go to Scotland, I felt from the time I pulled on to the property that I was indeed in Scotland.  
Wide open areas, undulating fairways, views of the ocean/bay, pot bunkers, very little (if any) rough.  Links golf at
its finest.  

Like the Kiawah Ocean course, The National scored a perfect 100 out of 100 on my rating scale for determining my
favorite golf courses.  The course is beautiful, challenging, playable, offers immense variety, and it has an
unmistakable aura about it.  The one odd nuance of the course is its vast number of blind shots.  Some might see
this as a negative but if you take a capable caddy (and one will no doubt be readily available) or play with a
member who knows the ins and outs of the course, this nuance will add to the sense of adventure that is inherent
in a round on the National Golf Links of America.

To name and discuss all the holes that are worthy of merit would simply take too much time as every single one of
them is quite good.  So rather than go hole by hole and describe the course, I will simply mention the ones that
were so amazingly good that not discussing them would be an injustice to the golf course.

The first hole that gave me an indescribable thrill to play was the 3rd hole, The Alps.  This hole is a 407 yard par 4
that looks like this off the tee…

NGLA 3.JPG

It plays over the hill, to the flag you can barely make out in the distance.  The tee shot is exciting to try to clear that
trap, but that shot to the green over the hill/mound is simply exhilarating.  And as you clear that hill and finally make
it to the green, seeing what the entire green complex looks like is another moment of exhilaration.

NGLA 3 green.JPG

The very next hole is the Redan.  I really am unsure what to say about it.  A par 3 with strategic options is a bit
rare, but one with these types of risk/reward options is simply unheard of.  It is without question the best par 3 I
have ever played.  

NGLA 4 redan.JPG

The par 4 8th hole, The Bottle, is also quite a hole.  The hole measures 404 yards and looks like this as you
approach the green…

NGLA 8 bottle.JPG

And like this around the green…

NGLA 8 bottle II.JPG

The windmill is the iconic image most often associated with course, aside from its clubhouse and history.  In total,
the regular course measures 6,505 yards and is rated 71.7/133.

NGLA windmill.JPG