Imagine starting on the strategically short par-4 first hole at Garden City Golf Club, as John Sawin of San Francisco did in winning the 106th Travis Invitational Sunday, and finishing on the 18th at Sebonack Golf Club, as Inbee Park did in clinching the 2013 U.S. Women's Open.
In between, think about playing No. 5 at Bethpage Black, which dozens of people do every day. Consider, in the space of one round, also seeing the windmill at National Golf Links of America, feeling the ocean breeze at Maidstone, enjoying the hidden gem that is St. George's and walking down No. 16 at Shinnecock Hills.
Jeff Neuman, the editor of the Met Golfer (published by the Metropolitan Golf Association), did imagine all of that and more as he compiled an all-star list of 18 metropolitan area holes. His dream course was commissioned by, and appears in, Elliman magazine.
"We certainly have an embarrassment of riches in this area," he said. That is particularly true of Long Island, which had 10 of the 18 holes (including one at Fishers Island Club, which is technically in Southold Town).
The parameters were, as Neuman said, "interesting" in that he had to choose holes as if he were assembling an all-star team: by position. The first hole had to be hole No. 1 on its course, the second was No. 2 on its own layout, etc. Plus, he decided not to select more than one from any venue.
He started with a couple of must-haves and filled two nines from there. "I've thought for a very long time that the fifth at Bethpage Black is the best par 4 on Long Island, one of the best I've ever known," he said.
Less heralded is the 450-yard, par-4 13th at St. George's in East Setauket. "That moment when you see the green down below the dip, if it doesn't make you smile, then you're not approaching golf in the right way," Neuman said, adding that it is part of one of the area's underappreciated courses. "These are places that would be really famous if they were in different parts of the country. They're really special places in golf. You just don't hear about them because we have so much."
Long Island Golf Association executive director Doug Vergith, a member at St. George's, agreed about the hole and about the course. Plus, he liked Neuman's entire collection.
"I thought it was absolutely brilliant," he said. "I was prepared to be skeptical because any list like this is highly subjective. But it required so much thought to put every hole where it falls on its own course."
Part of the beauty of such a list is that it does evoke quibbling. This observer, for instance, would have picked the par-3 11th at Shinnecock instead of the par-5 16th. And it would be nice to see more public course representation, such as the daunting 17th at Spring Lake.
Still, it was a compliment to Nassau and Suffolk. "You think of the whole metropolitan area and then half of the 18 holes are on Long Island, that really says something about the quality of the courses here," Vergith said. When reminded of Fishers Island, he added, "Let's claim that one, too."
Neuman's one thought about his dream 18: "I looked at it and I thought, boy, this would be fun to play." Outings
St. Francis College of Brooklyn will hold its outing, benefiting the scholarship fund, June 23 at Meadow Brook Club, Jericho. Call 718-489-5361 . . . The fifth annual Rosella Vigliotta Golf Tournament, raising funds to battle Primary Lateral Sclerosis, will be July 17 at Rock Hill Golf & Country Club, Manorville. Call 631-747-4734.