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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hollow Brook Changes Hands

Hollow Brook, one of Westchester County's more interesting golf courses, changed hands recently and the new owner promises to take the facility up a notch or two while making the cost of membership more accurately reflect the realities of today's economy.

"The land is spectacular, the course wonderfully challenging and my team will be working on the little things to make Hollow Brook the greatest experience it can be for our members," says new owner Steve Torsoe. He says he plans to make the course more player friendly and adds, "We’ll make Hollow Brook accessible to local residents, charities, as well as local high school and college golf teams."

The course, which opened in 2004 on 250 acres in Cortlandt Manor, was designed and built by Eric Bergstol, who also recently sold two other courses in the metropolitan area to Donald Trump. The track is noted for dramatic elevation changes and punitive rough as well as judicious use of the eponymous Hollow Brook that runs through it. It's 6,923 yards from the tips, although unless you drive it long and laser-straight, you have no business playing from the back tees.

I'll be watching to see what changes Torsoe makes to the course, which has a quirky hole or two. The eighth hole, for example, could be a good, solid 531-yard par five. It's a well-laid-out dog leg right that should reward a long drive that challenges the bunkers at the turn with a good chance to make the green in two. I say "should" because there's a huge tree on the edge of the fairway that completely blocks an aggressive second shot regardless of how well you place your drive.

Hollow Brook is very much a strategic player's golf course. There are a couple of short par fours that preclude use of a driver off the tee and more than a few approach shots where elevation changes make you think twice about club selection. Greens are large and rolling and well-bunkered. Bergstol was an early adapter of the shaggy-edge bunker, which fits well with the general ambiance of the course.

Word on the street is that Torsoe is offering some very affordable membership deals, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the club.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

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