Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 12
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 12
It takes a near perfect shot to hit Montauk Downs' 221-yard 12th green in regulation. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 1
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 1
The first hole of Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course climbs to an elevated green. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 3
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 3
The third hole heads toward the unique clubhouse at Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 4
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 4
Bunkers rise up to pinch the fourth green at Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State G.C. - hole 5
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Montauk Downs State G.C. - hole 5
Scruffy bunkers add some character to the fifth hole at Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 6
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 6
The sixth hole at Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course doglegs left to a tricky green propped up on a plateau. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs GC - hole 7
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Montauk Downs GC - hole 7
Once players clear a ridge in the fairway, they can finally see the seventh green at Montauk Downs. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 8
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 8
Montauk Downs' par-3 eighth hole is quite forgiving. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 11
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 11
The 331-yard 11th hole at Montauk Downs is the easiest hole on the course until a ball lands in a bunker. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 18
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 18
It's a strong par-4 finish at Montauk Downs. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 13
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - hole 13
A golfer attempts a shot over the wetland to the 13th green, the finish of a nice par 5 at Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - 18th
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Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - 18th
The final tee at the Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course is a nice spot to soak in the beauty of Long Island. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
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Montauk Downs: The "other" state park golf course on Long Island

MONTAUK, N.Y. -- Montauk Downs will always be the "other" state park golf course on Long Island. Bethpage State Park's golf complex is bigger (with five courses), closer to New York City and has hosted two U.S. Opens on its fearsome Black Course. Playing Montauk Downs takes serious dedication for just about anybody. Its isolation along the eastern shores of Long Island gives golfers a wonderfully remote place to enjoy the game.

The 6,988-yard course dates to 1927. A 1968 redesign by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and some touch-up work within the past decade by his son Rees Jones have kept Montauk Downs alive and well. The natural ponds, deep woods and scrubby underbrush constantly come into play, especially when the crosswinds off of the Atlantic Ocean, Lake Montauk and Fort Pond Bay converge overhead.

Two tee shots are equally scenic, the 221-yard 12th hole and the 18th hole, a par 4 that heads directly toward the unique pyramid-shaped clubhouse. Golf Channel travel expert Matt Ginella ranks Montauk Downs as the second-best "hidden gem" in the country. Golfweek rates it 13th among the top public golf courses in New York state.

User, sph2007, gave Montauk Downs five stars in a review at GolfAdvisor.com. "It is kept in immaculate condition, despite the high amount of summer rounds it sees," he wrote here. "It is hard for me to pick a favorite hole. The whole experience is just awesome.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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The Black Course at Bethpage State Park has a championship pedigree like no other municipal golf course in the country. Sheer length, bold bunkering and burly rough challenge anybody lucky enough to nab a tee time.
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Montauk Downs: The "other" state park golf course on Long Island