|17th Hole at the Tuxedo Club. Photo courtesy of the club.|
Today’s Tuxedo Park is vastly different from the gated community Pierre Lorillard Jr. established in 1886 to rival Newport, RI, as a retreat for the wealthy. The current golf club, built in 1956, is completely different from the first course, too, which is probably a good thing since the original nine-hole track was described by Scribner’s Magazine as “…a sporting links where straight, long drives are the only hope for preserving the temper, and the hazards are outer darkness where is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed the current course to play with much less anguish but no less visual drama. Nestled in the Ramapo Mountains about five miles from the gates of the private community, Tuxedo looks like a relatively short, easy round, but it is actually a demanding course off the tee, requiring accurate tee shots to stay out of various forms of trouble that haunt many holes.
The three finishing holes are superb tests of golf. The 374-yard 16th looks like a pushover, but beware of how much of the dog leg you try to cut off—five bunkers line the left side of the fairway from the crook in the leg al the way to the green. The tee shot on the 181-yard 17th hole is one of the most intimidating on the course, calling for a carry over water the entire distance. The pond fronting the green also wraps around the left side and bunkers guard the right, so straight is good. The 518-yard par five 18th hole is a birdie opportunity as long as you keep your drive on the right half of the fairway so you have a line to the green past the trees guarding the left. Push your drive too far right, though, and water comes into play again. Take care with a lay-up second shot; a creek cuts across the entire fairway in front of the green.
Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf