Updated on April 21st, 2023 at 09:45 am

Long Island is a beautiful and historic destination located just outside New York City, renowned for its beaches, vineyards, and picturesque landscapes. It’s also a paradise for golfers, with a rich and storied history in the sport dating back over a century.

From legendary golfers like Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson to hosting prestigious tournaments like the U.S. Open, Long Island has played an integral role in the growth and development of golf in America. Today, Long Island is home to some of the best public golf courses in the country, offering golfers of all skill levels a chance to tee it up on world-class courses.

Top 10 public golf courses in Long Island

Bethpage Black Course

Bethpage Black Course - AEC Info

Bethpage Black is a world-renowned public golf course in Long Island, New York. The course was designed and built by A.W. Tillinghast and opened in 1936. Immediately, it became one of the best test golf courses worldwide. In the nine decades, it has tested golfers’ accuracy and strategy from every continent.

Now, Bethpage State Park features five courses. The Green Course was the first to be built and was originally known as Lennox Hills Country Club. In the 1930s, Bethpage Park Authority bought Lennox Hills CC and adjacent property and converted it into Bethpage State Park as we know it. Later, A.W Tillinghast was contracted to remodel the Green course and build the Red, Blue, and Black. The Yellow Course came later, in 1958, and was built by Alred Tull.

Bethpage hosted its first big championship – the U.S. Open in 2002. Four years before this, the Black course was dilapidated and was in dire need of repair. Rees Jones was brought on board to restore the course to its previous state and greatness.

Having a game of golf on the Black is a unique experience because it’s affordable. Because of costs and limited tee times, there’s always a line to get in. The course accepts players on a first-come, first-served basis to avoid bias.

Harbor Links Golf Course

Harbor Links Golf Course - AEC Info

Harbor Links is a highly-rated tucked away in Port Washington, Long Island, New York. It was designed and constructed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry in 1998. The course offers an 18-hole championship length course, a gem of a 9-hole Executive Course, a banquet and miniature golf facility, and a state-of-the-art instructional program that delivers an exceptional experience.

The 72-par 18-hole course is 6,900 yards long with a 73.2 rating and a slope of 128. These numbers show that it’s not an easy course, but you’re bound to have a lot of fun as you play and enjoy the natural environment.

On the other hand, the 9-hole course is 1700 yards long with a course rating of 30 and a slope of 119. Despite being a hidden gem, it’s designed and maintained like the main course. Both courses have Winter Rye fairways and greens covered in Bent grass, a testament to their quality.

Note: the course is open on 4/01 and closed on 11/15.

Lido Golf Club

Lido Golf Club - AEC Info

Lido Golf Club, located in Lido Beach, Long Island, New York, was built by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., in 1956. The masterpiece is a seaside links course with elevated greens, water hazards, massive bunkers, and tough finishing holes.

Despite its reputation for difficulty, the 18-hole Golf Club offers affordable tee times for golfers of all levels. The facilities at Lido Golf Club are excellent, featuring a driving range, a pro shop, and a clubhouse that offers a restaurant and bar.

One of the course’s standout features is its natural beauty, with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding countryside.

Eisenhower Park

Eisenhower Park - AEC Info

Eisenhower Park is in East Meadow, Long Island, New York. With 54 holes of championship golf spread across the Red, White, and Blue Course, it’s one of the largest public golf facilities in the country.

The Red Course was designed by Devereux Emmet in 1914 and features a classic parkland layout with tree-lined fairways and strategically placed bunkers that provide a challenging yet fair test of golf. The golfing season is from March/April to December.

The Blue course was built in 1951 by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and is playable all year round. The course has a driving range, a golf simulator, a teaching pro, and indoor practice. The White Course was also designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1950 and is playable all year round.

The White Course has 4 tees ranging from 5382 to 6972 yards with a slope of 117 to 130, while the Blue Course has three tees between 4887 and 6228 yards in length and a slope of 115-117. The Red Course has the most tees at 6 sets ranging between 5509 yards and 7172 yards with slopes between 116 and 136.

All courses at Eisenhower Park offer affordable tee times and cater to golfers of all skill levels.

Cherry Creek Golf Links

Cherry Creek Golf Links - AEC Info

Cherry Creek is an 18-hole golf course in Riverhead, Long Island, New York. It was designed by Young & Young and opened in 1996.

This par 73 course has beautifully elevated trees and lush fairways. Although each hole is unique, the par 6 hole 18 is the most challenging but with an exciting finish. Other holes can be described as follow:

  • Hole 1 – It’s a perfect opening hole. The par 4 needs a good tee shot with a keenly selected club.
  • Hole 2 – Two bunkers guard it, so club selection is equally important.
  • Hole 4 – It’s the longest par five on the course. The out-of-bounds on either side make it a difficult tee shot.
  • Hole 6 – Accuracy is needed on par 3 holes six.

Cherry Creek’s excellent facilities include an all-grass driving range, a pro shop, a custom club fitting, a 19th-hole restaurant, preferred tee times, and a chipping and practice putting area.

Crab Meadow Golf Course

Crab Meadow Golf Course - AEC Info

Crab Meadow Golf Course is hidden between Long Island and Northport, providing a perfect blend of value and conditioning. Although it’s not the easiest track to get to, it’s one of the most scenic. It’s built on top of rolling hills on Sound.

William F. Mitchell designed the course with strategic hazards and elevation changes that protect pins and leave golf players debating whether to risk it throughout the 18. After its debut in 1963, it underwent some renovations in 1986 under the supervision of Stephen Kay.

One of the most challenging holes is the par-5 11th. It’s not long, but it’ll get you sweating. The left boundary is lined with woods, and a group of trees on the right shrink the landing area further. Aside from this, beware of the water hazard on the left of the green on hole 10. You might not notice the hole until you reach the bottom.

Willow Creek Golf & Country Club – NY

Willow Creek Golf & Country Club - NY - AEC Info

Built by Stephen Kay and Doug Smith in 2005, Willow Creek is one of the newest golf courses in Long Island. Despite being a young club, it has built a solid reputation. What makes people flock here is the abundance of water and sand. The bunkers are in the triple digits, and there’s water in 12 holes. Even better, the undulating and wild greens complement the challenge that’s the course.

One of the hardest hole is the ninth, which has water on the sides of the long fairway. The water makes most players forget the large bunkers lurking on the hole.

Over the years, it has received numerous accolades, including being named one of the ‘Top Courses in New York’ by Golf Advisor from 2015 to 2021.

Sunken Meadow Golf Course

Sunken Meadow Golf Course - AEC Info

Sunken Meadow State Park Golf Course is in Kings Park, Long Island, New York. The course has 27 holes played as 9 holes or a combination of 18 holes. The first two courses, Red and Green, were designed and built in 1962, and the Blue course followed in 1964. The three courses are the work of Alfred Tull, who also remodeled the Blue course at Bethpage State Park

Like most renowned architects, Tull used nature to bring the course design alive. You can expect a hilly and variable course surrounded by woodlands and beautiful panoramic views of Long Island Sound.

While it’s a public course and anyone is allowed entry, kids under 15 must be in the company of an adult.

Mill Pond Golf Course

Mill Pond Golf Course - AEC Info

Mill Pond Golf Course was built by Buddy Johnson in 1999 in Medford, Long Island, New York. The course offers a good blend of service and amenities like a private course.

The 18-hole course has six tees White, Blue, White (W), Gold, Gold (W), and Red(W). Blue is the longest at 6304 yards and has a slope rating of 126. On the other hand, Red (W) is the shortest, with a length of 4831 yards and a slope rating of 111.

The course features tree-lined fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and water hazards that require careful strategy and shot-making to navigate successfully. The layout also includes a variety of challenging par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s that require precision and accuracy to score well.

Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course

Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - AEC Info

Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course is located at the eastern end of Long Island. The course was built in 1928 and redesigned by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and Rees Jones in 1968. And in 2008, Rees Jones returned to Montauk Downs with Bryce Swanson to restore tees and bunkers on par three holes. The result is a high-quality landscape with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Montauk Lighthouse.

The course opens on 4/01 and is closed from 11/30. During this time, you can enjoy playing in three tees; Championship, Regulation, and Forward with lengths between 5797 and 6976 yards. Expect to part with $15 – $42, which covers usage of pull carts, clubs, and the driving range.

Bottom line

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s no shortage of options for public golf courses on Long Island. These courses are a must-play with well-maintained greens, stunning views, and top-notch facilities. And although some are a few minutes from the city, they are worth the trip.