Golf first spread across Long Island in the 1890s. While some clubs and courses from the early 20th century still exist, many others failed. According to local golf writer Phil Carlucci, they succumbed first to social and financial distress brought on by the Depression and later, to the "suburbanization that ate up Long Island's open spaces." Here are several spots on LI — some that you may know...
Golf first spread across Long Island in the 1890s. While some clubs and courses from the early 20th century still exist, many others failed. According to local golf writer Phil Carlucci, they succumbed first to social and financial distress brought on by the Depression and later, to the "suburbanization that ate up Long Island's open spaces." Here are several spots on LI — some that you may know very well — that used to be golf courses.
These and other former courses are featured in Carlucci's book Images of America: Long Island Golf.
Lido Club, Lido Beach
The Lido Club opened in 1918 on a remote swath of barrier beach and stretched from ocean to bay. "It was widely considered one of the finest courses in the country," Carlucci said. "In 1928, a palatial hotel and clubhouse turned Lido into a glamorous resort destination." The hotel can be seen in the bottom left, above.
The course was destroyed in 1942 when the U.S. Navy leased the property for use as a training ground during World War II, Carlucci said. The club built a new course to the east, where it remains today as a town-owned course that ranks as one of Newsday's best public courses on LI. The original hotel and clubhouse became the Lido Towers condominium complex.
Massapequa Golf Club, Massapequa
"As golf's popularity on Long Island exploded in the 1890s and through the turn of the century, hotels along the south shore often built rudimentary golf courses as a modern amenity for their guests," Carlucci said. One such hotel was the Massapequa Hotel, located south of Merrick Road.
"Though the hotel lasted only until 1916," Carlucci said, "the golf course remained until the 1950s, when it was sold for residential development." Today, the All-American Hamburger Drive-In sits on the northern boundary of the former course.
The Links Club, Roslyn
"The Links Club in Roslyn was so protective of its privacy, according to golf historian George Bahto, that photography at the course was forbidden and guest play required special permission," Carlucci said.
The club was sold in the 1980s, Carlucci said. The Links at North Hills residential development now occupies the site.
Milburn Golf Club, Baldwin
The Milburn Golf Club opened in Baldwin in 1920 and attracted a glamorous crowd. Citing a 1952 Newsday article, Carlucci noted that among its founders were film-industry luminaries such as Fox Film Corp. founder William Fox and Loew's Theaters' Marcus Loew.
A fire and ownership change took their toll on the club, but Carlucci said that it was Baldwin's growing population and demand for bigger schools that may have done the club in. "The school district eyed the Grand Avenue golf course for several years and finally acquired part of it in 1952 in order to build Baldwin High School," he said.
Valley Stream Country Club, Valley Stream
"Poor timing put the Valley Stream Country Club in jeopardy from the very start," Carlucci said. It opened in 1931 -- during the Great Depression -- on the north side of the Southern State Parkway and billed itself as a "superior course for the discriminating," but by its second season the club started to let the paying public in to help pay the bills.
The course was gone by the end of the 1940s and replaced by housing, Carlucci said. But the distinctive Colonial homes bordering the course can still be seen today near the Southern State's eastbound entrance ramp at Franklin Avenue.
Salisbury Golf Club, Westbury
In the 1920s, the Salisbury Golf Club was located in what is now Eisenhower Park in Westbury. It had five courses, two of which were private. In 1926, Walter Hagen won the PGA Championship on Salisbury #4. "The Depression and World War II years took their toll," Carlucci explained, "several of the original courses were abandoned."
According to Carlucci, many of Eisenhower Park's current fields and features (above) were built over Salisbury's four lost courses. Salisbury #4 was the only one to survive, and in 1951, Robert Trent Jones designed two new sister courses -- today's Blue and White -- to join #4, which is now the Red course.
Meadow Brook Club, Hempstead
The Meadow Brook Club was a popular sporting destination before golf came to Long Island in 1891, Carlucci said, but its members prized fox hunting and polo.
This image was taken at a polo match at the Meadow Brook Club in 1897.
Decades later, as prestigious golf clubs from renowned designers began to take shape around the Island, Carlucci said, Meadow Brook hired Devereux Emmet to build one. The Meadow Brook ran through the center of the course.
"Unfortunately, Meadow Brook sat on land that Robert Moses wanted to use to carry thousands of visitors to Jones Beach," Carlucci said. "An extension of the Meadowbrook Parkway cut straight through the site in the mid 1950s." The course was located roughly between what is now the Nassau Coliseum and Merrick Avenue.
Coldstream Golf Club, East Meadow
Coldstream Golf Club was laid out over East Meadow's Brookholt estate in the 1920s, Carlucci explained, and it was taken over by the military during World War II. Part of it can be seen on the left side of this aerial photo. Meadow Brook is in the center -- you can see the brook snaking through it in the area immediately east of the airfield. A portion of Salisbury's old courses is in the bottom right.
Old Westbury Golf Club, Westbury
The Old Westbury Golf Club was next to Roosevelt Field. "Low-flying planes and the occasional crash landing were a nuisance to members, so the club built a high fence to force Roosevelt Field to reroute its aircraft." Carlucci said.
"Like the airfield, the golf course was sold to developers in 1950, long after it had fallen into disrepair," Carlucci said. Above, a more current look at Roosevelt Field Mall and the surrounding area.
Sound View Golf Club, Great Neck
"Prominent figures in entertainment and literature took a particular liking to Great Neck's Sound View Golf Club," Carlucci said. In 1921, the club hosted a "World Series" match between U.S. Open winner Jim Barnes (pictured) and British Open winner Jock Hutchison.
"Sound View's success inspired plans for a second 18 and other luxury amenities for its members, but those plans never came to be," Carlucci said. By the mid-1940s, the club was sold to make way for what today is Great Neck Estates. According to Carlucci, the course was located in what is now a residential area to the left of Bayview Avenue, above.
Reydon Golf Club, Southold
Reydon Golf Club opened in the Bay View section of Southold with high expectations in the midst of the 1920s golf boom, Carlucci said. But the club struggled and was eventually sold at auction in 1939. The golf course survived into the 1940s as a public facility where an 18-hole round cost $1.
The area where Reydon was located is residential now. According to Carlucci, the course was located near the water at the end of Main Bayview Road.