Contrary to popular belief and to the surprise of even a lot of people who live here, there are golf courses inside of New York City limits, at least a couple in every borough except Manhattan. Full on, 18 hole par 71s and 72s. Up to 6,900 yards if that's what you're into. A few of them are even directly accessible by public transit. Which technically I should be grateful for, I think.
It's not easy though, bringing a golf bag on a subway or bus. Space is already tight, and there's plenty of climbing up and down steps. People in your face all the time. Not being mindful, you might find yourself locked in a random conversation with a guy who played golf one time. Sometimes trains are crowded and you have to stand, which means wrangling the bag with one hand and holding on for dear life with the other. All this takes a fair amount of practice before you can do it without stressing yourself out.
|Last year Golf Digest managed to spot a golfer in the NYC subways and ran these shocking Bigfoot-style photos.|
My own subway trip, I'll cover in another post. Today, we'll be traveling via MTA "Express" bus. This particular route runs from midtown Manhattan all the way to the southern tip via Broadway and by chance, stops right in front of the Dyker Beach course in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. (Fun fact--it's where TV's Scott Baio hails from.)
There are maybe eight or nine 18 hole courses within the city limits. But this route is by far the shortest. On a good day I can get there in about 45 minutes.
(I live about a mile across town from the nearest bus stop. I could either walk or ride a bus or train there, but typically my trip starts with a short bike ride.
It took me a while to work up the nerve to actually strap on my golf bag and go for a bike ride, but once I did it became normal pretty fast. It's a pretty sweet way to get around, you just have to get used to the wide load. Sometimes I underestimate the width and some sideview mirrors get bumped.)
Ok, here I am arriving at Union Square, where I'll park the bike and catch the bus. Centrally located, its a major juncture of nearly every city subway line making it a popular meetup spot as well as gathering area for skaters, creepers, drifters, activists and other assorted scum.
Looking north uptown, there's the Empire State Building. Think I see our bus coming; somehow, it's on time.
Express Bus is the lux route compared to the subway. There are: fewer stops, fewer passengers, plush seats and tinted windows. On a good day its the fastest ride out there. All this is reflected in the fare, which costs 240% more than the standard subway or bus ride.
Crossing Houston ("HOW-stun" is what its called over here) Street into SoHo. Renowned shopping destination. For jerks.
As a matter of fact yes, stuck behind tourists again.
The signage there commemorates the Canyon of Heroes section of Broadway, site of many a triumphant historic victory celebration. Except that one time when Jay-Z copped a ride on the Yankees' float, which quite frankly kind of sucked.
In today's New York City, a slice of pizza costs a dollar, and sucks.
Serving up NYC's famous "dirty water" hot dogs.
Shoe shine guys doing business on the sidewalk.
Finally, we've reached 1 Broadway at the southernmost tip of Manhattan.
Entering the Battery Tunnel. This thing got completely flooded by Hurricane Sandy last fall, putting a major dent in my golf routine.
Trying to snap this photo I accidentally used the flash. I was mortified at what I had become but hey, just one of the costs of running a blog I guess.
Welcome to shitty Brooklyn! While there is a decent part to Brooklyn, somewhere, this isn't it; this is the harsh, industrial, polluted butt end. Here we are on the expressway. There's Staten Island in the distance, and that tall bridge over yonder, if you can make it out, is the Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island and we're headed towards the base of it.
After a few boring miles of expressway, our exit approaches.
A quick trip today--about 45 minutes from pickup and here we are at lovely Dyker Beach Golf Course (and Dog Run). Time to shake off the cobwebs from the bus ride and tee off.
Hope you've enjoyed this little slice of life. Naturally there's a few sights I missed out on this trip, but don't worry they'll get covered in an upcoming edition. Stay tuned for that and others including "Ghetto Golf: Subway edition".