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On Port Washington golf course, GPS helps players size up holes

The GPS-equipped carts at Harbor Links are available

The GPS-equipped carts at Harbor Links are available at the full 18-hole course but not at the nine-hole course. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Golfers teeing up at Port Washington’s Harbor Links Golf Course come for the manicured greens and challenging 18-hole course, but there’s one amenity that is also heavily praised: the in-cart GPS systems that allow them to check their distances from the green and even order snacks.

Visitors can continue to enjoy the carts this coming season, when Town of North Hempstead’s public course reopens around April 1. The town board voted Jan. 30 to approve a new four-year lease for the GPS systems, which they first began using eight years ago.

“Technology like the GPS systems on our golf carts is just one of the offerings that keep Harbor Links fresh and competitive with other courses in the area,” said Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “It’s a country club amenity for a public golf course price of admission.”

The course’s general manager, James Viras, said that before the new lease, club officials polled a few clients about whether to lease again, and the response was a “definite” yes.

“People love it,” Viras said. “This is something that the customer base that comes here expects.”

The GPS-equipped carts are available at the full 18-hole course; Harbor Links also has a nine-hole course. Viras said the technology helps golfers refine their game, displaying a map of each hole and informing them how many yards they are from the green. Golfers can also ping the golf shop should a group ahead be playing too slowly.

When hunger hits, golfers don’t even need to flag down the snack cart. Around the eighth hole, they can digitally place orders for beer and a medley of sandwiches from the fairway, and have it awaiting them at the next hole.

The GPS feature also allows Harbor Links to monitor the locations of the golfers and prevent any bad behavior. Those who veer off course or attempt to take a joy ride on the greens on a cart path-only day will literally have their carts power down.

“We are able to set boundaries,” Viras said. “Monitoring the place of play is really the biggest function that we use in the back-end.”

The four-year lease for the GPS technology, which spans the months of April to November, costs $43,046 annually. The town also separately leases 90 golf carts that are compatible with the GPS, at a yearly cost of $56,930.

Each year, about 60,000 rounds of golf are played at Harbor Links. The course, which is owned and operated by the town, was built in 1998 on a former sand mine. It was designed by golf course architect Michael Hurdzan, who has also developed courses in China and Canada.

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