Review: Marine Park Golf Course

Course Name: Marine Park Golf Course

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr. (1963), Stephen Kay (2015, Renovation)

Location: Brooklyn, New York

History: Located in South Brooklyn, Marine Park is part of New York City’s municipal golf system. The seaside course was originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1963 and was recently renovated by Stephen Kay.

Conditions: 7/10, Marine Park feels less “tired” than the average New York muni and this is reflected by its superior conditioning. Featuring overall good conditions, this course generally has quick, well-conditioned greens with nice fairways and teeboxes.

Value: 8/10, With rates ranging between $30-$50 to walk depending on the time of the day, Marine Park offers strong value and is well-worth the price.

Scorecard:

Tee                           Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Blue                         72           7007              73.1              130

White                       72           6338              71.0              125

Gold                        72           5661              67.7              117

Red                         72           4754              67.2             111

Hole Descriptions: New York City’s public golf scene is not thought of very highly, but there are some courses worth seeing and Marine Park is certainly one of them. Although located in difficult-to-access South Brooklyn, Marine Park’s location just off the Atlantic Ocean makes it play as a windy, links course, far different than the dilapidated parkland layouts of most of the City. While generally open tee-to-green, Marine Park is also memorable for difficult, quick greens and numerous fescue-covered mounds which interrupt an otherwise flat and uninteresting property. At over 7000 yards from the Tips, this is also the longest muni in New York, making it a formidable challenge when the wind blows. While I haven’t played all of them, I can confidently say Marine Park is in the upper echelon of City courses and worth a play for visitors.

One of Marine Park’s greatest weaknesses is its very flat property with many straightaway holes. This is evident on the opening hole, a straightaway 488 yard par 5. With little danger besides a bunker right at 240 yards and several fescue-lined mounds, golfers can swing with confidence on their first swing of the day. This somewhat plain hole culminates in a left-to-right sloping green defended by a bunker right.

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The par 5 opener

The 2nd hole continues in a straight line as a 392 yard par 4. This hole features a narrower fairway lined by mounds down the right and several large bunkers down the left between 210 and 290 yards. This green slopes severely back-to-front and makes for a difficult two-putt from above the hole.

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The par 4 2nd

At 380 yards, the dogleg right par 4 3rd hole plays as the number 1 handicap. A nice hole bordered by the Belt Parkway to the far left, this hole also features mounds down the right the entire way. This green contains a front left swale and is defended by bunkers long on either side.

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The par 4 3rd
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Chipping on the 3rd green

The 4th hole is the shortest par 4 at Marine Park at 345 yards as a slight dogleg left. I really like this teebox which lines a coastal waterway and provides beautiful views that make you forget you’re in America’s largest city. This water runs down the left side the entire way while mounds and intermittent bunkers line the right. Bunkers guard either side of a narrow, back-to-front sloped green.

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The par 4 4th
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A closer look at the 4th green

The first par 3 at Marine Park, the 5th hole is also its shortest at 144 yards. With views of Manhattan in the background, this hole plays slightly uphill to a wide green defended by a front-left false front and bunkers left and short.

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The par 3 5th

The 6th and 7th holes run parallel to each other as two medium-length, fairly bland par fours. At 372 yards, the 6th is a wide-open slight dogleg left with a large bunker down the right at 200 yards. This approach plays towards a back-to-front sloped green defended by bunkers on either side.

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The par 4 6th

At 358 yards, the 7th hole is again fairly open with plenty of room left and marshland down the right the entire way. This green is slightly elevated and runs back-to-front with bunkers short on either side.

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The par 4 7th
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Looking at the Freedom Tower from the 7th green

The 8th hole is one of the most memorable at Marine Park as an 150 yard par 3. Featuring a Lion’s Mouth midline bunker, this green is perhaps the most severe on the course with a central ridge splitting the left and right sides as well as a back ridge with acts a backboard. Putting from the wrong side of this ridge makes for a very difficult two-putt.

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The par 3 8th is Marine Park’s best one-shotter

The 9th hole is one of the most difficult holes on the course as a tight, 395 yard par 4. Water runs down the left side for the first 210 yards and must be briefly carried on this teeshot. A long bunker runs along this water between 150 and 225 yards while another crossbunker looms down the right at 230 yards. After this point, the hole opens up but many golfers won’t be long enough to carry the danger. This green is long but quite narrow, running back-to-front with bunkers on either side. A par here is a strong score.

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The 9th features a tough teeshot

A short, reachable par 5, the 10th hole plays straightaway at 465 yards. Accuracy is rewarded off the tee here as fescue-lined mounds run down the hole on both sides and enhance its appearance. The real defense of this hole is a small, elevated green with numerous undulations defended by a bunker short left.

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The par 5 10th

One of Marine Park’s sharpest doglegs, the 366 yard par 4 11th turns sharply left around 220 yards with fescue-covered mounds running along both sides. This hole again features a notable green defended by a severe false front and bunker left with numerous internal undulations.

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The dogleg left par 4 11th
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The approach at 11

The 12th hole runs along the edge of the property as a 365 yard straightaway par 4. This is one of the narrower fairways at Marine Park, with fescue lining the right side the entire way and a large mound of dirt jutting into the left fairway at 215 yards. OB lines the far left for those who venture well off-line. This is another strong green, sloping back-to-front with a narrow opening and bunkers on either side.

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The par 4 12th

The 13th hole is a nice par 3 at 172 yards running slightly uphill. Framed nicely by fescue-lined mounds, this hole features a large, back-to-front sloped green lined by a bunker right.

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The par 3 13th

Playing similarly to the 1st and 10th, the 14th is another short par 5 that plays dead straight at 497 yards. Accuracy is again important here as trees line the right side the entire way with a bunker at 235 yards and a busy road lines the left. This green is large and defended by a bunker right.

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The par 5 14th

At 416 yards, the 15th hole is the longest par 4 at Marine Park as a very difficult hole, especially if it’s playing into the wind like when I played. A slight dogleg right, this fairway is narrow and defended by hills of fescue down the right. Bunkers line either side of a difficult-to-reach, elevated green.

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The par 4 15th

The 16th hole plays very similarly to the 11th as a 376 yard dogleg left par 4 lined by dunes. This is a nice hole with a crossbunker on the inside corner of the dogleg at 200 yards. The shallowest green on the course awaits you, running back-to-front and lined by a bunker short.

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The par 4 16th

The penultimate hole is the final par 3 at Marine Park at 172 yards. Playing the same distance and appearing quite similar to the 13th hole, this one-shotter features another wide, shallow green lined by a bunker right and mounding long.

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The par 3 17th

Marine Park closes with one of its more memorable holes in the 485 yard 18th. A strong, risk-reward par 5, this hole features a brief forced carry over marshland to a skinny fairway lined by OB right the entire way and a large bunker down the left between 185 and 250 yards. For those who find the fairway, this undulating green is reachable, but well-placed bunkers short and long require precision on the approach to do so.

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The fun closer provides options off the tee

General Comments: Relative to other New York City munis, Marine Park certainly feels more upscale with a nice clubhouse and driving range (irons only). Pace of play was average when I played.

Verdict: Marine Park is clearly one of the best municipal courses in the NYC system with strong conditions, good value, and a linksy, seaside location, but is hurt by a flat terrain and somewhat repetitive layout. It is worth a play if in the area.


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