Nassau Country Club was established in 1896 as Queens County Club then it changed name three years later when Queens County became a borough of New York City. The club hosted The U.S. Amateur championship in 1903 then two editions of the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1914 and 2014 were subsequently played out on the 18-hole layout at Glen Cove, on the North Shore of Long Island.
A committee of members, led by club president Harvey Murdoch, laid out the original course in 1898 incorporating various features from the best courses they had seen. When additional land was acquired in the early 1920s, Devereux Emmet refashioned the course and subsequently Seth Raynor and Herbert Strong were commissioned to make further changes. Since the early days, a number of architects have altered the layout, most recently Tom Fazio in 2012 when all the greens were relaid.
This is where the Nassau golf bet was created by a member named J.B.C Tappan, when a match play wager is made with equal stakes on who wins the front nine, the back nine, and the overall eighteen holes – three separate bets, in effect, to keep a round of golf interesting from start to finish.
It’s also where Bobby Jones started putting with his Calamity Jane putter. Jones was in the area for the US Open that was taking place at nearby Inwood Country Club in 1923. Nassau’s head professional Jim Maiden (brother of Stuart Maiden, the head pro at Bobby's East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta) asked Jones to try his putter (nicknamed Calamity Jane) and Bobby began to “roll in ‘six footers’ with ease”. He would use it until he retired in 1930, by which time Spalding reproduced thousands of these putters for players looking to emulate his putting skills.
Blogger and regular contributor Paul Rudovsky visited Nassau in the autumn of 2016 and had this to say: “Today, the course totals 6,702 yards (par 70), is in excellent condition and is fun to play. The greens are very tough but fair and the rolling terrain is similar to Siwanoy’s. Best holes are 6, 13 and 15 and the most unusual part of the course is the old cemetery (which predates the club) located next to the 10th tee. One of the Long Island’s railroad lines runs along the left side of holes 6-8 and the local train station is only about 400 yards from the clubhouse, a great convenience for commuting members and a reminder that almost all older courses were built near railroad lines.”
The annual host of "The Nassau Invitational" is a highly respected and often overlooked golf course. Nassau has a wonderful layout that only features two par 5's on the course, the 4th and the 15th. There are a boatload of par 4s that are all challenging and beautifully utilize the land that has several modest hills that come into play. Nassau is the epitome of firm and fast, with perfectly rolling greens that regularly exceed a 13 on the stimpmeter ensuring that the course plays the way it was designed. The 4th hole is a very long par 3 with a classic punchbowl green. With greens this firm and fast, leaving the ball above the pin is a big "no no" as it will present a major challenge of getting your pitch or putt close to the hole. The Nassau Invitational is a tournament that includes invitees flying into Glen Cove, New York from Ireland and other places across the country as well as the top Met Area golfers. One thing amateurs consistently say about Nassau's course is that it is quite challenging, yet totally fair. It has a great balance of short and longer holes. All around a solid test of golf that is thoroughly enjoyable. One of the reasons the course is not talked about more is that Piping Rock and The Creek Club are both about a 9 iron away from the entrance to Nassau; if those two courses were not located where they were, you would hear a lot more about this GEM!