6,610 yards • par 71
Harrison Meadows is the first new daily-fee golf club to open in Westchester in nearly 15 years, although for now, at least, it will be available only to Harrison residents and their guests. The course, which has existed in one form or another on the property since 1917, was most recently Willow Ridge CC. When the member-owned private club put itself on the market, the Town of Harrison stepped in and took it over last year and hired Troon Golf to manage it. It opened as a semiprivate club this year.
Residents of the town, which includes Harrison, West Harrison, and Purchase, will be able to join as annual passholders at several levels. For now, daily-fee play will be limited to Harrison residents as well, although that may change once the level of demand is established. This initial year for Harrison Meadows will essentially be a shakedown cruise for new ownership, new management, new staff, and new public-course golfers.
With a 71.3 course rating from the tips, Harrison Meadows is more difficult than most of the public courses in the county, but multiple tees make it playable for shorter hitters. Much of the difficulty comes from elevation climbs, like those on the 9th and 18th holes, both near-500-yard par 5s that play straight up cardiac-arrest-inducing hills. Water is a factor on half the holes on the course.
7,165 yards • par 72
The Pete Dye masterpiece in Pound Ridge offers a unique daily-fee golf experience in Westchester. It’s hard; it’s beautiful; it’s impeccable. Hard? Yes, with a course rating of 76.0 from the tips, Pound Ridge is definitely hard. When Dye was confronted with the difficulty of the track, though, his answer was simple: Play the right tees for your game, and you’ll have a fun, memorable round of golf. The scorecard strongly suggests which tees you should play based on your handicap and proves Dye right.
Once you conquer your fear, you’ll find Pound Ridge GC a true world-class delight. Each hole has a character of its own, yet the whole flows perfectly as an integrated 18-hole experience. The 451-yard 2nd hole, the hardest on the course, opens with a semi-blind tee shot and ends with a long, frightening approach to a green well-protected by water. The 378-yard 10th punishes the player who insists on hitting a driver off the tee — unless it’s done with a perfect draw, in which case birdie becomes a very real possibility. The par-3 15th hole can be played with a short iron ricocheted off the massive rock outcropping behind the 65-yard-wide green. Where else are you going to find a hole like that in the county?
Pound Ridge GC green fees are commensurate with the quality of the golf and a variety of time-of-day rates make the course affordable for just about any player.
6,019 yards • par 70
Lake Isle’s Devereux Emmet course epitomizes classic shotmaker’s golf. The short-but-challenging course presents the full spectrum of short and long holes, as well as straight and crooked, uphill and downhill. You’ll play over or around water, navigate blind shots, and use every club in your bag — perhaps even off the tee!
The course opens with a pair of short par 4s and a par 3, then smacks you in the face with a trio of the toughest holes in town: the 425-yard, par-4 4th; 400-yard, uphill-dogleg 5th; and the 449-yard, par-4 6th. After you catch your breath, you get to tackle the 230-yard, par-3 9th hole to finish the opening nine.
The back side has several captivating and challenging holes, including the 396-yard, downhill, severe-dogleg 16th, with water in play off the tee, and the 280-yard, precision-required 18th, one of the most fun holes in Westchester.
Lake Isle CC is owned by the Town of Eastchester and offers both memberships and daily-fee play to residents and nonresidents alike.
6,349 yards • par 72
When new owners took over the former West Hill Course in Heritage Hills in 2019, they promised to renovate the hilly, sub-par facility and present a public-golf alternative worthy of play in golf-rich Westchester. Their goal was achieved with Somers National GC, an interesting track where local knowledge helps a lot and a steady hand on the putter is needed to put pars on the scorecard.
Somers National rewards the player who takes time to study the options on each hole before bombing away with the driver off the tee. The 389-yard 3rd hole, for example, lets you choose whether to challenge the water on the left or the trees on the right with your tee shot. The 628-yard, par-5 14th hole features a fairway that bends like a snake before bringing you to a tiny green protected by a creek.
It’s fun golf and not for the faint of heart. The semiprivate club offers memberships, as well as daily-fee play.
Daily-fee golfers in Westchester should be quite happy with the six courses owned and operated by the county’s parks department. There’s a course just right for golfers at every level, from short and scenic Dunwoodie in Yonkers to long and challenging Hudson Hills in Ossining. Sprain Lake in Yonkers is on the shorter side but is no pushover, while Maple Moor in White Plains rewards the straight shooter who can pull out a cannon once or twice during the round. Roller-coaster elevation changes may make Mohansic in York-town Heights the most challenging course in the rota, while Saxon Woods in Scarsdale will be the choice of the golf purist looking for a classic layout that is rumored to have several features designed by A.W. Tillinghast.