When I tell stories of teaching in a South Bronx public school that fashioned itself a model of “school reform,” most people who live anywhere but an inner city gasp in disbelief and say, “Wow! That’s terrible. But it would never happen here.”
My response? Isn’t it pretty to think so.
The outrages that I experienced, and kids, teachers and communities throughout America continue to suffer in the name of “school reform,” are not so far away from any school in today’s economic, educational and political environment.
With golf courses hugging the water on the south shore, skirting the Long Island Sound on the North Shore and traversing the hills in between, Nassau County has a diverse collection of golf holes. Some are memorable for their difficulty or a unique test of skills, while others are remarkable simply for the scenery. Then there are a select few that blend together all the aspects of an outstanding golf hole.
Here are five publicly accessible golf holes worth a visit from near or far:
It’s easy to forget when you’re focused on sinking a birdie putt — or stewing over missing that last par putt — that the golf course is a place where rock-hard Titleists are constantly flying through the air and golf carts are zipping back and forth across the rough and fairways. Proper etiquette goes a long way toward maintaining a high enjoyment level for all players and helps the staff keep the course in the best possible shape.
Here are some basic rules of etiquette to follow on the course and instill in others, especially new or younger players:
One of the most acclaimed and respected golf facilities in the country is right in our backyard, its popularity evidenced by the crowds that swarm all 90 holes on a daily basis and the players that come from afar to camp out for a chance to attack the Black. Two of its courses — the Black and the Red — are highlighted year after year in Golf Digest’s “Best Courses You Can Play” list.
A New York driver’s license is all Long Islanders need to get a headstart on tee times through the park’s phone reservation system. Or show up at the course with your clubs and see what’s available. You’ll have five courses with different personalities to choose from.
A world of golf exists in Nassau far removed from Bethpage and Eisenhower Parks, the waterside layouts on the South Shore and the handful of municipal courses scattered around the county. Some of the best golf courses in the country — not just Long Island — are behind the gates of private clubs, especially on the north shore’s “Gold Coast.” Unfortunately for the public golfer, opportunities to experience those courses are extremely limited.
The gates aren’t completely closed, however. One way to tee off on nationally renowned courses like the Piping Rock Club or The Creek in Locust Valley is, quite simply, to pay. Charity events at private clubs are open to all players, provided they have the ability to pay entry fees typically ranging anywhere from $500 to well into the thousands. Outings raise funds for hospitals, schools, community organizations, memorial funds and other groups, so the high costs benefit good causes.
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