Flushing Meadows Pitch & Putt - Flushing, Queens
Inside Corona Park near the National Tennis Center. Subway: 7 train to Mets/Willets Point then take the boardwalk into Corona Park, make a left at the public bathrooms.
Wedge and putter (rentals available); $20 for grown-ups
Here's the Story:
Imagine a giant grass field with mild undulations, lots of dandelions, and eighteen putting greens. Welcome to Flushing Meadows Pitch & Putt, a par-three course within Corona Park in Flushing, Queens. Holes are between 40 and 90 yards, so this is a good place to work on your short game and maintaining your composure.
Each hole begins on a tee mat and the yardage markers may be extremely inaccurate by design. The first and ninth holes are the two "long" holes. Our favorite hole is four. It has an elevated ridge that obscures a green that slopes away from the tee. There are lots of bunkers, but no water hazards—unless you count nearby Flushing Creek or the occasional flooded hole.
Despite its utilitarian charm and inexpensive beer ($12 pitchers), Flushing often humbles us at Let's Play NYC. It seems to be in a perpetual state of disrepair, but we've learned to embrace this and its many other quirks. For example, don't expect gravity to help your putts break. In fact, disregard physics completely. Canada geese¹ roam with impunity, but be nice to them. Not only because they bite, but because they used to be everywhere².
The "clubhouse" has bathrooms and offers backyard barbecue basics like hot dogs, hamburgers, and junk food. They finally accept credit cards, though carts remain cash only. Lastly, the starter has a deep repertoire of three jokes and will allow groups of five.
¹ Do not call them "Canadian" geese, this is very important to bird enthusiasts and Canadians.
² In 2009, Canada geese flew into the engines of an airplane as it took off from LaGuardia Airport. The plane was critically damaged, but steered safely into a splash landing on the Hudson River. The heroic pilot, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, became an instant celebrity and beat Hugh Jackman in that week's "Who'd You Rather?" poll on TMZ. Meanwhile, the Canada goose became the target of an intensified culling effort. This led to outrage, so now "the meat goes to charity."