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Golf is a mix of jokes, epic frustrations, and one shot providing a lifetime’s loop of happy memories. Lauer spoke with us about the most confounding and challenging Hamptons holes.
SHINNECOCK HILLS GOLF CLUB, HOLE 11
Insiders know Shinnecock as the hardest Hamptons course. It prides itself on hosting the U.S. Open every ten years or so. Even though the 11th hole is a par-3, it’s considered the shortest par-5 in America. The green is a postage stamp: a small target with severe, unforgiving slopes. If you miss the green, you are in for difficult bunkers or the rough.
Matt’s take: “You just had an Arnold Palmer and a peanut butter Ritz. You tee off on hole 11 and hold your breath. Am I dead? Your nightmare or surprise waits.”
NATIONAL GOLF LINKS OF AMERICA, HOLE 4
This plays like a tricky Scottish course, and it takes local know-how to succeed. The fourth hole, a Redan, is a par-3 modeled after the 15th hole at North Berwick, Scotland, which slopes strongly from right to left. A member calls it “a great dinner companion who is amusing every second but doesn’t snap at you.”
Matt’s take: “Hole 4 looks simple, but it is anything but. If you hit well and happen to get to the bar, it’s the best party around.”
MAIDSTONE CLUB, HOLE 10
A Hamptons favorite, the Maidstone has picturesque bridges over the water and ocean views. Jackie Kennedy’s father, John Vernou Bouvier III, was a member. “It’s the hardest shortest course in America,” one member says. “On a windy day, it can bite you in the ass. The tenth hole is a killer with a fast-sloped green. You could be putting for a birdie, and then suddenly be putting for a six.”
Matt’s take: “I got addicted to Southsides at the Maidstone bar years ago. Hole 10 is difficult because it has an elevated green that is penalizing and very hard to hold.”
SEBONACK GOLF CLUB, HOLE
The Peconic Bay course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak. Hole 2 is beautifully laid out, but long and brutal, and it’s difficult to hit the green. “Beware the sand traps,” one member says. Regulars adore it; newcomers think it’s overly tricky.
Matt’s take: “If you shoot a left drive, you’ll have a blind shot. If you’re right, you’ll be near a bunker. If you’re short, it’s trouble; if you’re long, it’s death. If you’re to the right, it’s death riding a gorilla.”
FRIAR’S HEAD, HOLE 18
A Coore & Crenshaw design, Friar’s Head has links-like terrain. Hole 18’s second shot is its hardest. If you’re short of the green by five yards, it will roll 50 yards into a gully. One member says, “If you’re not a good golfer, you’re screwed. Actually, you’re screwed even if you are a good golfer.”
Matt's take: "By your second shot on hole 18, you’re hitting through tears running down your face.”
ATLANTIC GOLF CLUB, HOLE 10
A newer course built on undulating hills, the Atlantic is set on 204 acres of former farmland where the morning and afternoon light can mystify the mounds and moguls. Sudden ocean breezes make an array of shots necessary. Hole 10 is a long, narrow par-4, where trouble looms everywhere. You can be out of bounds on one side and in bunkers on the other.
Matt’s take: “On hole 10, you can think you’ve hit a good shot, but the wind can be blowing, and you watch it blow out of bounds.”