National Golf Links of America - New York - USA

National Golf Links of America,
Sebonac Inlet Road,
Southampton,
Long Island,
New York (NY) 11968,
USA


  • +1 631 283 0559


On the shore edge of Peconic Bay at Southampton on Long Island is the National Golf Links of America. “I will not describe that delightful spot again.” Wrote Bernard Darwin in Golf Between Two Wars. “It is one of the best and most enchanting of courses.” Known simply as 'National', this is the ultimate design creation from the father of American golf course architecture. Charles Blair Macdonald apparently coined the term 'golf architect' and his National is a complete masterpiece.

Macdonald’s ambition was to create the greatest course in the United States and he started his mission in 1902 by making the first of five annual summer trips to the UK. He complied details of important features of golf holes analysing why weak holes were often dull and what really made good holes good. In 1907, using his extensive knowledge, he set about creating the greatest golf course of its time. The National Golf Links finally opened for play in 1909 to a rapturous standing ovation.

This is a golf course of monumental historical importance, it’s a “Bear’s Best”, or “Blair's Best” of the early 20th century. Each hole at the National is named and the 2nd, called “Sahara” is based on the 3rd at Royal St George’s. The 3rd, called “Alps” replicates the challenging blind approach shot taken from the brilliant 17th at Prestwick, where a confrontational hill and a huge bunker protecting the undulating green front must be carried. The 4th, called “Redan” copies the 15th at North Berwick where the long green is set at an angle. The 7th, called “St Andrews” uses features of the famous “Road” hole and the 13th is indebted to the “Eden” hole of the Old course.

The National is set in more than 250 acres of gently rolling Long Island landscape. The varied topography is not only beautiful but it’s dramatic too, holding you captivated from the opening tee shot to the last putt. With theatrical green complexes that are extremely varied, putting at the National can be the ultimate challenge. Many greens undulate wildly while others are flat as pancakes but they all share a common denominator and that is their size… they are simply huge. The routing is ostensibly nine out and nine back, but somehow the holes seem to zigzag up and down making the wind an ever-present obstacle.

If you haven’t played the National, you need to hold on to the “six degrees of separation” theory, which proposes that anyone can be connected to a member of the National Golf Links of America through a series of acquaintances that has no more than four intermediaries. Keep that thought in mind. Who knows? One day perhaps?

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Reviews for National Golf Links of America

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Description: National Golf Links of America is a golf course of monumental historical importance, it’s a “Bear’s Best”, or “Blair's Best” of the early 20th century. Rating: 9.8 out of 10 Reviews: 17
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Nicolas

I have been playing this course annually for the last 15 years, and have seen its transformation. At the time it was ranked 30th in the US, you had trees on the course and women were not allowed. Since then, the members have decided to open up (a bit). In turn that has led the course actually being played by selected outsiders. It’s ranking is now 11th in the world. Tthe course has gone back to a true links as all trees have been removed and the wind is a constant, and the ladies are truly welcome. The course itself is just incredible – the more you play it the more you appreciate it. If you do get to play it just once, take a caddy and ask Billy to get you a real good one, that will ensure you truly appreciate your round. As you play the course, you will be reminded that each hole is a ‘copy’ of an existing hole…don’t bother comparing. Enjoy the holes for what they are, incredible golf holes. A little advice: aiming at the pin is rarely the way to go and ask the caddy for the grain before hitting into greens. If the greens are fast, as they often are, you'll hit shots into the greens which you are unlikely to ever hit again (how often do you not try to land the ball on a green on a par 3...that will be the way to play the 4th hole)

April 27, 2016
10 / 10
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Steve MacQuarrie
Golf at the National is a bit like visiting a museum………only here you get to touch the art. It’s still astounding to me that a course that provides so much enjoyment was first conceived of well over a hundred years ago. Designer Charles Blair MacDonald is often criticized for his extensive replication of template holes—those he saw during his schooling in Scotland. These views miss the point of his genius: while his holes were inspired by the great holes of Britain, they were never slavish copies. Thus the National boasts a number of holes I’d rather play than the originals. These include #2 (Sandwich’s Sahara), #3 (Prestwick’s Alps), #4 (North Berwick’s Redan), and #6 (Brancaster’s Short). Conversely, there are some here which, though fine holes, don’t compare to the originals, e.g. the Road (#7) and Eden (#13) holes. Moreover, there are splendid MacDonald originals: the Plateau (#11) and Cape (#14) hole, despite the change to the latter caused by the relocation of the club’s entrance road from the middle of the course to the shore of Bullhead Bay. True golf geeks will make the short drive to the local cemetery to view the final resting places of MacDonald and his protégé, Seth Raynor.Most holes provide strategic options from the tee and over half are receptive to a running approach—an effort consistent with the perennial firm and fast conditions. Visitors may be amused by two signs in the men’s locker room: the first (no doubt an antiquated view) on the topic of female golfers and the second (over the door leading to the first tee) describing the club’s view of slow play.Other reviewers have noted the quality of the National’s caddie corps. I usually request Dylan, who is both a fine caddie as well as a fine artist. One of his watercolors often hangs in the halfway house…….which features peanut butter and ginger snap cookies. It’s an unusual combination, but then the National is an unusual place. Using six balls to rate it is still an understatement: it’s one of my half dozen favorite courses in the world.
September 21, 2015
10 / 10
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Larry Berle
Golfers who are familiar with the great courses of Long Island claim that the National is a much better golf course than Shinnecock Hills. Its ranking suffers because it’s not long enough for PGA Tour play, and because Golf Digest panellists are not allowed to play without a member. Fewer panellists who vote means lower ratings. We found the National to be a fantastic course with a hole that plays over a road (patterned after the famous Road hole of St Andrews), and with bunkers so deep that you enter and exit them via a small stepladder. (Not that I got in one, but I did drop a ball in a couple of them to see how menacing they were, and they were plenty menacing.)… The course features many holes with blind shots, double fairways, deep bunkers, and plenty of wickets just off the fairways…

C.B. Macdonald re-created some of the famous holes of Great Britain at the National. The Road hole from St Andrews (Number 7) and the Redan from North Berwick are his most well known designs. Many of America’s early golf architects frequently visited the National to study its challenging and enduring features. The redan, for example, is probably one of the most copied holes in history. You may have played one without knowing it: a medium-length par 3, the green running diagonally from front right to back left, with a large, deep bunker fronting it. The contour of the green falls away in the rear, so the forward right pin position is very difficult to reach. Number 10 is called Shinnecock, as it shares a fence line with its famous neighbor. I strained to see as much as I could across that fence line, not knowing if I would play there tomorrow or some day in the future. Larry Berle.
September 28, 2014
8 / 10
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Keith Baxter
September 29, 2014
The above review is an edited extract from A Golfer’s Dream, which has been reproduced with the author’s kind permission. A Golfer’s Dream, by Larry Berle, tells the story of how a regular guy conquered America’s Top 100 Golf Courses (following Golf Digest’s 2001/2002 list). Larry has exclusively rated for us every course in the hundred, using our golf ball rating system. However, Larry did not rate the 100 courses against every golf course he has played, but instead he rated them in relation to each other within the hundred. Consequently, in some cases, his rating may seem rather low. A Golfer’s Dream is available in Kindle format and also on Kindle Unlimited via Amazon... click the link for more. 
Mac Plumart
National Golf Links of America 15th - photo by "Mac" PlumartA round of golf at The National Golf Links of America is not your typical 18-hole round. Rather it is an epic adventure over the rolling terrain on eastern Long Island. The course is wonderfully enjoyable and every hole, every shot, every putt adds to the enjoyment of the adventure. The routing is amazing, the bunkering is second to none, and the greens are out of this world. In a nutshell, this is golf at its most enjoyable!!


May 19, 2010
10 / 10
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Joey Chase
I played NGLA last fall and cannot think of a better collection of greens with The Old Course being the only exception. Some of the best bunkering you'll find anywhere on earth. We played it in a 25 mph breeze and it was every bit as difficult as Shinnecock, it's next door neighbour. The view from the 17th is heaven on earth. I just wish it wasn't so difficult for lovers of the game to play this amazing classic - Joey
February 15, 2010
10 / 10
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Javier Pintos
Amazing golf course. Very well kept. Great caddies. Traditional Club House. Natural design, no yardage markers. Variety in the holes. Best holes? 2,7,10,17,18. My score: 73 from the tips (Rated 73.1) 5 birdies, 4 bogeys, 1 double.
November 19, 2008
10 / 10
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Mark
April 29, 2009
played it on 4-28-09. Tough greens,blind shots. Temp was 80, with light winds. GREAT CADDIES. Prefect day, played with my son. I hope I get a chance to play it again
Allan Wright
I was lucky enough to play this great course one afternoon in April 2006, after a round at Shinnecock Hills in the morning ! It is remarkable as a true recreation of British links golf design, and one that is as valid to play today as when first played nearly 100 years ago. The key qualities are the strategic nature of the layout, and the amazing variety of green complexes. At most holes there is a clear choice to be made from the tee, with several holes featuring true fairway bunkers (ie with fairway either side). And, charmingly, three of the very best par fours you will ever play, 14, 15 and 17 are each well under 400 yards long, even from the back tees. To cap it all is the amazingly un-American clubhouse, four square and massive between the 1st and 18th holes, consisting of one vast old style panelled smoking room after another. A great experience, and wonderful caddies.
September 05, 2006
10 / 10
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owen
October 22, 2006
Best course. Best Caddies
Steven Bassindale
September 01, 2007
You're right on both counts..Great Course - best greens i have ever played on!! (Sept 05')and great caddies! (One of my best buddies is one!!) Steven Bassindale of Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club, Scotland