Fresh Meadow Country Club was established in the early 1920s at Flushing in the New York borough of Queens. The club’s new course opened in 1923 and was designed by A. W. Tillinghast.
Fresh Meadow hosted the PGA Championship in 1930, won by Tommy Armour, and the 1932 U.S. Open, won by its former club pro Gene Sarazen. According to club history, “Sarazen resigned his position at Fresh Meadow and took a similar position at nearby Lakeville. Sarazen believed the ‘home pro jinx’ had cost him the 1930 PGA, and he was taking no chances.”
In 1946 the club sold its Queens property for housing development and purchased Lakeville Golf & Country Club, its present course. The course at Lakeville in Nassau County near Lake Success was fashioned by Harry Colt’s partner C.H. Alison, opening on Memorial Day, 1925.
Tom Doak commented in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses: “It’s a somewhat hilly layout, but lacks the detail work around the greens and in the contouring of the bunkers that might have made it a success.”
Rudo, Mr. Top 100, played Fresh Meadow in 2015 and he commented as follows in his blog:
Today, FMCC is a beautiful course, which occupies a wonderful piece of land. However, it is a prime example of the negative influence of Augusta National on golf course conditioning in the US. The 18 holes are almost uniformly green, the fairways and greens being overwatered. The bunkers remind me of those at ANGC, with perfectly smoothed sand and manicured edges. The members love their green course and I do not think they realize how much more fun it would play if it was firm and fast. Many of the holes are extremely well designed on rolling land that does not react as it would if it was firm/fast…thereby reducing “shot values.”
Designed by Charles Hugh Alison, Fresh Meadow is a good golf course. With the clubhouse positioned at the highest point on the course, it is routed around a couple of hills producing some very good holes. The course has excellent placement and number of bunkers. It is a course that one could play every day and not tire of it. It does not have quite the challenge of some other courses due to somewhat generous fairways, yet it has a high rating due to the difficulty of the greens which are excellently sloped.
Like most of the courses on Long Island, the land is hiller than one might expect. The routing works around the higher ground with one and ten and eleven playing downhill while seven and fourteen return one to the higher ground. Eight, nine, seventeen and eighteen share the same plateau.
The greens are generally sloped back to front and most of them have openings to the surfaces. They are usually large offering numerous pin locations.
The par 5’s can be reached in two by the longest hitters creating a good risk-reward decision for them. For average length hitters, they remain challenging due to the excellent greens where the pin locations determine one’s strategy to the green.
The conditioning of the course is excellent.
I have only played it once but would like to play it a second time.
The course is 6749 and 6423, par 70 rated 73.1/138 and 71.6/134 and also has two sets of combo tees with the shortest tees at 5693.
1 – a downhill par 4 of 450/431 with a pond on the right and a single bunker and scattered trees on the left. The green has flanking bunkers at the front and is tilted back to front and left to right. It is a nice green. This is a good starting hole as it has adequate length but with a wide fairway. A bogey is a very possible score here but it is unlikely one should be higher than that. Longer hitters will think of this hole as a birdie opportunity.
2 – a slightly uphill par 5 of 545/530 with the pond on the right and a single fairway bunker on the left. The green is raised with a right bunker 50 yards short of the green. There is a deep front bunker and a shallower one on the right to the elevated green that has swales in it. The front bunker will result in a blind shot to the green. This is a nice par 5 as it is not overly challenging but it still requires two good shots for the longer player or three for the average length player.
3 – a par 4 of 445/425 with opposing bunkers. The green is elevated up on a plateau with a deep bunker left 25 yards short of the green and flanking bunkers at the green. There is room behind the green to go long but the chip back will be speedy. This is a good golf hole and is rated the number one index. I like everything about the hole from the elevated tee to the rise and position of the green.
4 – par 3 of 181/162 hitting downhill over flanking bunkers to a green sloped right to left. This is a nice par 3 and one where recovery is possible if you miss the large green.
5 – par 4 of 415/390 going back slightly uphill with trees on the left and a bunker right. There are flanking bunkers at the elevated green which is very speedy right to left and back to front. The angle coming into the green determines which side of the fairway one should come into the hole.
6 – par 4 408/387 playing as a dogleg left with flanking bunkers and a green well defensed at the front with large and deep bunkers. This is another solid par 4.
7 – par 3 of 165/155 playing longer as it is uphill after crossing the entrance road. There are two large flanking bunkers at the green. The green has a strong back to front tilt and to the right. It is perhaps the speediest putt on the front nine. This is a fun par 3 and one where a double bogey would not be unusual.
8 – par 4 of 409/398 playing away from the clubhouse with trees on the left and right and a single fairway bunker on the right. There are flanking bunkers at the green. The fairway has some nice contour to it. It is an okay hole with the least interesting green on the front nine.
9 – par 4 of 424/400 playing back to the clubhouse with trees left and right and two bunkers on the right. The green has two bunkers on the right front and one on the left. It is a nice finish to the front nine. There is a common chipping area between nine and eighteenth green to the left.
The front nine is a little bland, with a good start to the first four holes and then a little repetitive with the exception of the eighth hole.
10 – par 5 of 575/550 playing downhill to a double dogleg where the land tilts to the left and some good changes in the terrain. There is a fairway bunker on the right followed by flanking bunkers for the second shot. The green is angled to the left with three bunkers at the front to a sharply sloping green back to front. This is a nice hole with good visuals from the tee as you work your way down to lower ground at the green.
11 – the longest par 3 on the course at 206/185 playing downhill to a green with bunkers on both sides. This is a nice par 3. I would have liked to have seen two additional bunkers behind the green for visual purposes.
12 – par 4 of 457/443 and rated one of the best holes on Long Island. This dogleg left has trees and a hill to the left, a single bunker right and a green angled back to the left sitting up on a hill creating a semi-blind shot to the hole. Those trying to hug the left side increase the possibility of hitting into the trees as they come out a bit farther than they look from the tee. There is a fairway bunker on the right. Bigger hitters have to be careful not to hit it so far to the right that they end up in higher rough. There are two fronting bunkers on the right of the green. The green sits in almost a punchbowl and is sharply sloped back to front with various swales in it. You cannot be short or you will come down the hill leaving a blind recovery shot. The hole plays about 20 yards longer. It is a fabulous hole.
13 – par 3 of 192/177 playing over a pond to a green surrounded by bunkers. This is a large green and a nice par 3 with a fall-off right of the bunker leaving a difficult recovery shot. This is the nicest par 3 on the course from a visual perspective.
14 – par 4 of 347/333 that is dogleg left. The fairway tumbles down to a bunker on the right and two on the left. You are then facing a blind approach shot uphill about 50 feet to a green with two fronting bunkers. The green is sharply sloped back to front. The green sits in front of a hill at the back of the green and a roll-off offering a low probability of a successful recovery shot. You cannot be short here as the ball could tumble down a long way unless you get lucky and it gets caught up in the taller grass. I like the hole a lot because it reminds me of holes in the British Isles, although none over there have the green up quite as high as this.
15 – par 3 of 198/182 with two teeing options. This elevated green is surrounded by bunkers on two sides. It is an okay hole but the course needs a more strategic and shorter par 3 as three of the par 3’s are essentially the same yardage. The second teeing option would allow for this possibility.
16 – par 5 of 533/520 playing slightly uphill with two bunkers on the left and then another one far up on the right. The fairway slopes down to the left leaving the right center as the preferred side of the fairway to see the hole. The green has two large bunkers to either side with the left side being deep. This is a nice par 5 although not in the same class as the second and ten.
17 – par 4 of 399/372 with flanking bunkers on this dogleg left with opposing bunkers at the green. This hole plays slightly downhill and is relatively unmemorable.
18 – par 4 of 400/373 with flanking bunkers and then a cross bunker 50 yards short of the green. The green has bunkers on three sides and has a lower mound on the front right. This is one of the better shaped greens on the golf course and a nice finish to the course.
Fresh Meadow, other than a few holes such as twelve and thirteen, should not beat you up as the fairways are sufficiently wide. It is fun to play. The holes might be a little too similar in terms of the greenside bunkers yet the green sites are all varied. The greens are very good. Twelve is an outstanding hole. The par 3’s are also good although having one short par 3 would improve the variety. Too many of the par 4’s are of similar length and similar bunkering. The course should consider changing the positions of some of the bunkers to pinch them more into the fairway to create the appearance of doglegs and positional/strategic play.
The greens are fine, perhaps a little more mounding could be considered on a few holes as well as better micro-contouring just off the greens.
The course offers a good mixture of challenge and recovery.
The members should be very proud of their course.