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N. Hempstead Country Club to add driving range after $4M buy

A home on the Flower Hill property that

A home on the Flower Hill property that will be turned into a driving range, seen on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The manicured grounds of the North Hempstead Country Club will be expanded to include a driving range following the recent $4 million purchase of a five-acre property that includes a 140-year-old house.

Country club officials have moved steadily forward with development plans after closing on the property in late October. Last month, the village of Flower Hill voted to approve a rezoning measure that allows the country club to build a driving range in a residential neighborhood along Port Washington Boulevard.

Village officials said that the club has “always been a good neighbor” and that this was reflected during the past few months.

“Considering this property would have likely faced a large-scale development project from any other purchaser, the village was satisfied with the club’s plan and supplied the necessary approvals,” said Deputy Mayor Brian Herrington.

Officials at the country club, which is more than 100 years old, had always entertained the idea of creating a driving range to add to the 18-hole course, but it wasn’t a “serious conversation” until the property at 315 Port Washington Blvd. came onto the market, said Dan Rogers, the club’s general manager.

The range will be about 265 yards long and 100 yards wide, Rogers said, making it less than full-size. The property’s remaining five acres will be absorbed into the club. The opening target date is in July, Rogers said.

The range will be bordered by Port Washington Boulevard and Wakefield Avenue, facing the rest of the club. Residents had expressed concerns about the range’s proximity to their homes and landscaping, which were addressed at multiple public meetings held by the village, Herrington said. The range will be outlined by 75-foot tall nets, and a barrier of evergreen trees will be planted along the backyards of residents on Wakefield Avenue, village officials said.

More than 100 trees — half of which were dead, officials said — were removed to make way for the range.

Another casualty of the range will come with the demolition of a home dating to 1874, which had been part of a 20-acre estate, according to the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society.

Though the loss of a historic home is a somber prospect, Chris Bain, the historical society’s president, said that seeing another row of houses there would have also been less than ideal.

“It’s always a sad loss when a grand old home is taken down,” Bain said. “But who has got a checkbook with $4 million that’s going to buy it and then pay the property taxes?”

The home and a barn also on the property have yet to be demolished, but the historical society was able to obtain two wooden sleighs and other antiques. Rogers said that a salvage company was able to save wooden doors, molding and banisters.

“This means a lot of pieces of the house will find their way into other people’s houses . . . and have a further life, maybe for another 125 years,” Bain said.

A house with history

  • Built in 1874 in the Victorian style by Joseph Willets, a member of a Quaker family and one of the notable land-owning families on Long Island, as part of a 20-acre estate.
  • Purchased in 1920 by A. Wright Chapman as a summer home. He named it Longlands and eventually sold back 10 acres to the North Hempstead Country Club.
  • The property is not landmarked.

Source: Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society

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