Van Cortlandt Golf Course - Riverdale, Bronx

 

Where:
Inside Van Cortland Park at Bailey Avenue and Van Cortlandt Park South. Subway: 1 Train to 242nd Street/Van Cortlandt Park station, walk east through the park.

Essentials:
$35-60; Club rentals available; It’s not essential, but we recommend a cart as the course is very spread out.

Here's the Story:
Historic Van Cortlandt Golf Course is located inside pragmatic Van Cortlandt Park in sunny Riverdale, Bronx. If you enjoy driving cart below busy Major Deegan Expressway overpass, you'll consider this 18-hole, 6,000-yard public course an oldie, but a goodie. The city's third-largest public park, Van Cortlandt Park is partially located below the Deegan's elaborate web of on-ramps, off-ramps, and overpasses. (It's like you're not even in New York City!)

Nicely maintained, "Vanny¹" is the oldest public course in America and has three par-fives, ten par-fours, and five par-threes. Besides two and twelve, your requisite 550-yard monsters, the course is straightforward and nondescript. And then you get to 15. Here, the terrain isn't so flat. The elevated tees and greens of the final four holes give this course a much-needed shot of personality.

What's More:
"Babe Ruth used to play here!" "First pubic [sic] course in U-S-and-A!" Many words have been written about Van Cortlandt, but none more important than these: It was the preferred course of the Three Stooges. Somewhat important words would be: the much ballyhooed clubhouse renovation is complete. There’s now a new patio, bar, and restaurant. We saw them with our own eye.

We also saw lots of nature with our eye. With plenty of trees and Van Cortlandt Lake, Vanny is a sight for sore city-dwelling eyes. You actually will feel like you’re not in New York City. We mean that.

The food situation is a bit unsual as there is no traditional 'turn' at the clubhouse. A snack shack, however, is on the course and sells burgers and hot dogs along with typical junk food. You'll pass the shack twice during your eighteen holes. Meanwhile, the beer cart offers lots of beer and booze options. It's not simply a good beer cart. It's the best beer cart in the city.

¹ "Vanny" is a popular nickname for Van Cortlandt that we've never actually heard anyone say.