The Links at Northfork
by Mark Sculati
Golfers are known to be a finicky bunch (Just ask Tiger "I have it harder than Michael Jordan" Woods). One negative hole, experience, etc. and a golfer is unlikely to return to a course, even though that negativity is unfounded. Golfers are always looking for a new course to replace one of their usuals (or usuals gone bad). A course every golfer should put on his/her list is The Links at Northfork.
The Links is unlike any other course in the metro area and for that reason alone it should be played. First of all, it truly is a links course (unlike Mississippi Dunes - a links wannabee). Lets start with the layout. The night before our recent visit, a two-handicapper said, "Its wide open - you cant get into any trouble." Yeah, right - like Fuzzy Zoeller wouldnt get into trouble at a NAACP convention. True, the Links is wide open, but deceptively so. Mounds or waste bunkers line both sides of most fairways. Dont put it in the fairway and you are left with a shot that most golfers will have trouble getting a GIR. The mounds are covered with patches of thick grass and open spots. The waste bunkers are long and wide. At the beginning of our round, tee shots hit right or left were met with "youre O.K." By the sixth hole those same shots were met with, "Uh-oh; waste bunker."
The open areas do mean one good thing for golfers - no trees. There were no trees (I mean zero) on the front nine. None on the sides, etc., either. The first tree occurred on the par four 338 yard 13th - a monster all by itself to make this short par four play legitimate. The 512 yard par five 14th has some trees lining the left side and surrounding the green. The deceptively tough 362 yard dogleg left uphill par four 15th can see a hook go into the trees (we did). Other than those holes, the Links is truly played in the open.
This openness causes what some golfers really fear: wind. A true links course needs some wind (see British Open). Step outside your house in the metro area and think "a perfect day; no wind." Drive to the Links and there will be a good breeze at 10-15 mph. A windy day in the metro means big gusts at the Links. Hitting a seven iron 200 yards can be a fun thing.
The fairways were in great shape (first time in many weeks that we didnt play winter rules in the fairway) and we got great rolls when our balls found the fairway. There were many bump and runs around the greens as you had to try and play links style. The greens were hard and fast. It took a couple of holes to get used to the speed but the greens were in excellent shape.
Besides being the only true links course in the metro area, the Links has the greatest kept secret: Three practice holes. Get to the course a little early? Thats O.K.; Play the practice holes. (You should get there early to play these three wonderful holes). Have a press carryover at the 18th? Go to the practice holes to finish out. That feature alone makes the Links worthwhile.
The Links offers a full service driving range, two full-sized putting greens - one for chipping (rare in the metro), and a practice bunker is also available. If you want to improve your game, the Links is definitely the practice area to visit.
The Links currently has some great deals available. Monday - Friday before 8:00 a.m. green fees and a cart are $33.00 (per person). A single can do it and wont be charged extra. The time changes to before 8:00 a.m. on Friday. Saturday and Sunday before 7:00 a.m. and after 12:00 noon the price is $43.00 for green fees and cart. Thats right - a golf special on Saturday and Sunday afternoons - kind of like a bar offering happy hour from 8-10 on a Friday night.
With the layout, practice area, practice holes, and deals being offered, this golfer highly recommends a first or return visit to The Links at Northfork.
The Links at Northfork