Westchester County in New York offers quality alternatives to the elite private club scene

The public golf courses in Westchester County in New York offer quality alternatives to the elite private club scene

Don't think that the only municipal courses worth playing around New York City are all on Long Island at Bethpage State Park. To the north of Manhattan, Westchester County is known for its high-end private clubs like Winged Foot, Quaker Ridge, Trump National and Westchester Country Club. But there is good public golf to be played, and perhaps more than one would think.

There are about 60 private clubs in Westchester County, but there are six municipal golf courses that can be enjoyed by both residents and visitors to the Big Apple. Run by the Westchester County Parks system, all of them are affordably priced and they're also very nice layouts. With plans in 2017 to open in March after a mild winter, the courses host about 250,000 rounds a year collectively.

Hudson Hills leads the six pack

The crown jewel of the group is the Hudson Hills Golf Course, located in Ossining in the northern part of the county. Designed by Mark Mungeam, the course was built on what was once grounds of the old private Pine Ridge. Opened in 2004, the nearly $10 million-dollar facility has a country club look to it. In fact, it draws a lot of private club golfers on Mondays when their clubs are closed.

At nearly 7,000 yards, this par 71 is a difficult course (especially if you play the wrong tees) and well-conditioned with large multi-tiered greens and a terrific collection of par 3s. Normal rates are $65 during the week and $85 during the weekend.

Said one Golf Advisor reviewer Scott6134176, who played Hudson Hills: "Really nice course, and narrow so challenging. Elevation changes, and challenging in that you'll have a few non-flat lies. Great greens that roll true. Better than NYC local courses for us city-goers."

The other five courses in Westchester County

Mohansic Golf Course, located in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., is one of the toughest public courses in Westchester County.

Mohansic Golf Course

The other five courses all have a little more history than Hudson Hills.

The oldest of the bunch is Dunwoodie Golf Course, which opened in 1903. It's a 5,778-yard par 70 located in Dunwoodie Heights in the center of the city of Yonkers. With lots of slopes and very few level lies, it's definitely a shotmaker's course. The course has been update through the years, including a new $2.5 million precise state-of-the-art irrigation system.

Maple Moor Golf Course, located in White Plains, first opened in 1923 as a nine-hole course. Named for its abundance of maple trees, it became 18 holes in 1927. Designed by Tom Winton, who had a hand in four of the six Westchester courses, this par 71 is a good test at 6,371 yards.

Sprain Lake Golf Course is another Winton design, which opened in 1928. Located in Yonkers, this 6,110-yard par 70 is a long, narrow layout with small greens.

Saxon Woods Golf Course in Scarsdale first opened in 1931. Also designed by Winton, it plays nearly 6,500 yards as a par 72. The course has undergone recent renovations, including several new greens.

And finally, there's Mohansic Golf Course in Yorktown Heights, a par 70 that plays almost 6,600 yards from the tips. Also designed by Winton, the course opened in 1925, this course has also undergone extensive renovations over the years. The hilly layout is a bit tight, making this one of the most challenging courses of the six.
Driving ranges are available at Mohansic, Sprain, Dunwoodie and Saxon Woods.

Green fees for the above five courses are $46 for weekends and $42 during the week and do not include cart fees. For local residents, a County Park Pass is the way to go. It cost $75 and is good for three years (six years for seniors) and gets golfers a $10 discount off their green fees as well as admission into other park amenities including pools and tennis courts.

Video: Top courses around New York City

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
Commented on

Interesting, but weak on the history of the courses, especially Hudson Hills. It was the first african american owned golf course in westchester (1936-39).

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The public golf courses in Westchester County in New York offer quality alternatives to the elite private club scene