Although the acclaimed clubs on the Great Peconic Bay may seem as far from New York City as a Long Islander can get, even more solitude can be found in the Hamptons, even farther out. One of the sleeper clubs in an area that also features names such as The Bridge and Atlantic golf clubs, is the Noyac Golf Club, located in Sag Harbor.
Noyac actually predates those other two clubs, which were both created by Rees Jones in the past few decades. This elder was built during 1963 by William Mitchell. He managed to fit 7,000 yards of golf on a tight piece of property, and tight play will be the order of the day for those challenging its thin fairways and small, well-defended greens (the sand hazards that provide such defense were revamped by Stephen Kay and Ross Forbes during 2007).
One of the most impressive specimens is No. 9, a short par five (just over 500 yards from the back tees) that staves off eagle attempts with its double-dogleg shape, slope, and ample sand guarding all corners as well as the putting surface.
Noyac GC is an under appreciated golf course. This is partly due to its zip code. Arguably, the finest golf courses per square mile in the world. Regardless, if you qualify for the Olympics as a weight lifter and you finish last, you are still one of the strongest people in the world. Noyac is a parkland course lined with mature trees that will definitely impact play, especially off the tee. The first hole is a short downhill welcoming par four. Favor the right side to take the left fairway bunker out of play. The green is protected with two bunkers right and one left. The 2nd is an uphill par five that should not be the number one handicap hole. At 502 yards some big hitters may be able to get home in two. For the rest of us favor the left side off the tee to take out the right fairway bunkers. On your second shot aim at the fairway bunker left that is about 110 yards out to set up your attack wedge. The 3rd is a long straightaway downhill par four. Favor left of center to take out the right fairway bunkers. This green has two bunkers left and one right. The 4th is a dogleg right with a bunker on the inside elbow. While you can challenge the dogleg I would advise against getting two frisky. Best line is right over the left side of the bunker to set up a short iron to the green with bunker left and front and right. The 5th a big boy 227 yard par three. Slight water carry with three greenside bunkers. I certainly did not play it as the second easiest hole. The 6th bends left and you definitely want to be left of the right fairway bunker which is about 135 yards out. Don’t stray to far left as that may bring into play the left greenside bunker. The long par four 7th also ate my lunch. First thing first, avoid hooking your drive OB, especially on a hole that bends right. It went from bad to worse, as I then found the right front bunker. I redeemed myself on my favorite hole the mid-length par 3 8th. Yes, I am transparent, birdie. Classic outhouse to penthouse. The front ends on a super uphill par five. Big boys may be able to get home but it will require two super shots and nerves of steel. There are three fairway bunkers right where they should be. To have a shot at the green your tee shot must be past these. If not, I would them lay up to about 110 yards and aim at the left greenside bunker. This well protected multi-tiered green sits on a ledge surrounded by three bunkers. I really liked this hoile and I didn’t even par it.
The back starts with another fantastic hole. Long slightly downhill and listing to the left. Pars are earned here. The 11th is the shortest par four is a dogleg right and you can drive thru the fairway. There is a bunker on the inside elbow and two on the outside. Best play is to layup and you should still have a wedge approach. The 12th is the 2nd longest par three. It seems to play longer and there are two front bunkers. The 13th is a good birdie oppty. Leans left and uphill with three fairway bunkers left and two right. Best line? Middle of the fairway. The 14th is the longest par five that is serpentine. Between the trees and the fairway bunkers, par is a good score. The pot bunker in the middle of the fairway is about 60 yards out. Demanding hole. The 15th is a long par four that contours right to left. Thus, favor the right side off the tee. There is a greenside bunker left. I did not hit a particularly dazzling tee shot and hit a running 5 wood for the approach. It landed a good 30 yards short and I was yelling for it to go. Well, she did, over the green. The 16th is a pretty water par three, especially from the elevated back tee box. The 17th is a real short par five and I think it should be converted to a par four. Once again, I do not understand how they handicap holes. The 16th was the easiest hole and the 17th is supposedly the 8th toughest. I mean if I can reach it! The 18th is a big slinging dogleg right. I got overzealous in trying to cut the corner to setup my triple. Best play is over the right fairway bunker at the elbow. Tough finishing hole.
Noyoc is a gem hiding in plain sight.
Before the inclusion of the most recent new courses inhabiting the east end of Long Island such as Friar's Head, Sebonack, East Hampton, The Bridge, Atlantic, Laurel Links, et al - there are a few courses the cognoscenti simply overlooked.
Noyac is a creature of the early 1960s and architect William Mitchell followed a pattern of bringing to life larger-than-life design elements favored at that time. Mitchell created a number of layouts on Long Island and his work often gets little attention given a number of his efforts were on the public side.
Noyac is truly hidden among a parkland setting -- lined with mature trees.
The strategic calculus at Noyac starts with test of one's tee game. Being able to work-the-ball when called upon is a central requirement. Noyac features several strong dog-leg holes and being able to shape shots when called upon pays off for those able to execute. One of the most memorable holes is the 18th -- a stout dog-leg par-4 of 451 yards.
The routing is quite thorough and the hole diversity is good. What's missing is detailing of the putting surfaces and the surrounding areas. Much on that front is rather benign -- lacking a consistent sophistication that would add to the golf experience and the overall shotmaking challenge.
Noyac is a creature of the 1960s architectural style that has faded into the shadows - a bit of meaningful sunshine via the hiring of an architect who can wisely update the course could well provide the needed impetus in ratcheting up what's present now.
M. James Ward
Thanks for your thoughtful review of Noyac Golf Club. The course truly is a “hidden gem” in an area with some of the best in the world.
The Club has worked extensively with architect Ross Forbes to renovate all greens, bunkers and many other areas of the facility over the past 8-10 years. Shot values and conditioning have improved significantly due to his work. If you have not visited within the past 2-3 years, I’d welcome you to come play and see the improvements that have been made.
The Club will be hosting the Long Island Amateur this coming summer, which will showcase the golf course to the best players on Long Island - hopefully you may consider covering the event and the course!
Thanks again for your comments, hopefully you can visit this season.
Head Golf Professional
Noyac Golf Club