The Atunyote Clubhouse at Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate...

The Atunyote Clubhouse at Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate New York.  Credit: Turning Stone Resort Casino/Russell Kirk

A game beloved by casual and dedicated players alike, golf is not just a test of skill and improvement, but a great way to get outdoors with friends. Here are four public courses to try — two in New York, two in New England — that are destinations for players seeking challenging links in interesting places.

NEW YORK STATE

Bethpage State Park Golf Course

Aerial view of the clubhouse at the Bethpage golf course,...

Aerial view of the clubhouse at the Bethpage golf course, in Bethpage State Park. Credit: Jeffrey Basinger

Long Islanders are fortunate to have some of the best reviewed public and private courses in the nation in Nassau and Suffolk counties, but while a private club isn’t open to all comers, anyone can book a tee time at this praised fairway. Its most famous course is its Black Course, which has previously hosted the U.S. Open Championship twice, the PGA championship once and two other PGA Tour events and is slated to host the Ryder Cup in 2024.

However, if you’re not quite ready for what is billed as one of the hardest courses in the United States, there are four others to try (the Yellow, Blue, Green and Red; Yellow being the shortest). New York State residents can book time via the Bethpage Golf Course website, with weekday 18-hole, nine-hole and twilight games cheaper for each course than anything on weekends.

INFO 99 Quaker meeting House Rd., Farmingdale, New York; 516-249-4040, bethpagegolfcourse.com

NEARBY The course is a mere mile from the northern end of Main Street in Farmingdale Village, a walkable strip that hosts several restaurants and taverns. Broadhollow Road is also dotted with eateries and entertainment venues and it’s also a good spot to find hotels. One close option (also about 3.5 miles from Bethpage Golf Course) is the Hilton Long Island Huntington (598 Broadhollow Rd, Melville; 631-845-1000, hilton.com), with nightly rates starting at $184.

Turning Stone Resort Casino

The Atunyote Golf Course at Turning Stone Resort Casino in...

The Atunyote Golf Course at Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate New York.  Credit: Turning Stone Resort Casino/Russell Kirk

This upstate (Oneida County) entertainment hub has five golf courses — three 18-hole, two nine-hole — including the 18-hole Atunyote, which was designed by renowned golf course architect Tom Fazio and has hosted both the PGA Professional National Championship and the B.C. Open. Turning Stone also has a zone known as the Golf Dome, which sports two golf simulators, a 17,500-square-foot short game practice area, two-tiered hitting stations and a golf store. You don’t need to be a resort guest to play, with non-guest rates varying by course, day and time of season.

INFO 5218 Patrick Rd., Verona, New York; 800-771-7711, turningstone.com

NEARBY Other reasons to golf at Turning Stone include all the things to do there. It has a casino with more than 60 table games, a bingo hall, 2,000 slot machines and a poker room billed as the largest in New York State. The venue has four tennis courts (two indoor, two outdoor) and two indoor racquetball courts in its Sportsplex facility. Turning Stone also has more than a dozen restaurants and a live entertainment calendar that features upcoming shows from comedians like Jeff Dunham (July 8), Gabriel Iglesias (Aug. 5) and Amy Schumer (Sept. 24), and musical acts such as Daughtry (Aug. 25) and The Killers (Sept. 26). Golfers looking to stay can take advantage of a two-night “Champions Package” (through Oct. 9) that starts at $178 nightly; nightly stays without the package start at $119.

NEW ENGLAND

Crumpin-Fox Club

The Crumpin-Fox Club : 18 Hole Golf Course in Bernardston,...

The Crumpin-Fox Club : 18 Hole Golf Course in Bernardston, Massachusetts.  Credit: Crumpin-Fox Club

A 12-time U.S. Open qualifier course, it’s notable for a lengthy eighth hole with a lake that borders much of its fairway. Rates are dependent on the day and time of play; book online in advance via the course website. Visitors can dine at the venue’s Zeke’s Bar and Grill restaurant, which also frequently hosts live music during the summer — but for those who’d like to make a stay, the Inn at Crumpin-Fox has nightly rates starting at $159.

INFO 87 Parmenter Rd., Bernardston, Massachusetts; 800-943-1901, crumpinfox.com

NEARBY Located in rural Western Massachusetts, there’s little in the way of urban adventuring — but is also about 93 miles from Boston, a ride that should take slightly less than two hours. For attractions closer to the club, the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens (281 Greenfield Rd., South Deerfield; 413-665-2805, magicwings.com) is home to thousands of butterflies, as well as other insects and creatures, and Memorial Hall Museum (8 Memorial St., Deerfield; 413-774-3768, memorialhalldeerfield.org) has galleries that range in exhibits from paintings and furnishings to Native American artifacts and objects of archaeological interest. The Great Falls Discovery Center (2 Avenue A, Turners Falls; 413-863-3221, greatfallsdiscoverycenter.org) is along the Connecticut River and offers both outdoor spaces to explore and an indoor study of the river’s journey between Canada and Long Island Sound, its human history and the wildlife that calls it home.

Richter Park Golf Course

The Richter Park Golf Course in Danbury, Connecticut.

The Richter Park Golf Course in Danbury, Connecticut. Credit: Richter Park

Serving in the past as a U.S. Open qualifier and as a host for the MGA Public Links Championship, this course features four sets of tees and is noted for its dozens of bunkers and frequent water views. It’s within the Stanley L. Richter Memorial Park, which also holds hiking trails, tennis courts and live performances during the summer. Tee times range in price relating to the time and day of play, and can be booked by nonresidents up to nine days in advance.

INFO 100 Aunt Hack Rd., Danbury, Connecticut; 203-792-2550, richterpark.com

NEARBY Only about 95 miles from central Long Island, it’s not too far for a day trip. Visitors can take the ferry from Port Jefferson (102 W. Broadway; 888-443-3779, 88844ferry.com) to Bridgeport, which would shave about 25 miles off your drive. While in Danbury, the Danbury Fair Mall (7 Backus Ave.; 203-743-3247, danburyfairmall.com) is a place to shop, dine and wander. For hiking opportunities, picturesque Tarrywile Park (70 Southern Blvd.; 203-744-3130, tarrywile.com) has a pair of ponds, historic gardens, lots of native wildlife and a lake to see while strolling along the park’s 21 miles of trails. For rides and attractions, Thrillz highflying Adventure Park (5 Prindle Lane.; 203-942-2585, thrillzdanbury.com) has obstacle courses, rock climbing, ziplining and laser tag among its amenities. There are a number of hotels in the area; Holiday Inn Express and Suites Danbury (89 Mill Plain Rd.; 203-205-0800, ihg.com) is close by (at 1.5 miles) with nightly rates starting at $131.77.

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