Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ghetto Golf, vol. 4: Forest Park, Queens

It's time to get back out there and explore the wild world of NYC golf. Once again I am your guide. I'm starting to feel like Huell Houser. I need my own PBS show soon.

When you are a blogger it becomes all about hits. Before long you will do anything for more hits. You see, all websites strive for this thing called "SEO", and that is all about getting your shit out there on the internet front and center. Or something. And to do that, you gotta come up with the content that the people are searching for. I think.

So for me that means if I'm gonna drum up some of this "SEO" for myself I'll have to somehow cater to an existing market. Let's face it. Stories about women's golf matches, or spandex arm sleeves don't exactly pin the internet search needles.

New York City contains 8.3 million people. Golfers are believed to make up around nine or ten percent of the US population. Applying that percentage to the city population, we can guess there might be around 700-800k golfers all up in here.

Even on the low end that's a lot of potential traffic. Surely a lot of people around here must be plugging in stuff like "how to play golf in NYC" in the search box, and who better to write up every last shitty course in the city? Who better to show you how to play golf in NYC than your pal Legitimate Golf?


This latest trip takes us out to Forest Park Golf Course in Queens, an 18-hole 6053-yard par 70 located inside Forest Park, a big city park out near the nicer residential areas of Queens. If you've ever taken the Woodhaven Blvd. shortcut to JFK airport, you've passed by this course. If you've never noticed it, that's perfectly understandable.

In all my years of playing golf in the city, meeting other golfers, talking about courses, I can't say I recall ever hearing a mention of this place, much less anything positive.

Looking down at the first tee, a pretty nice looking hole to start.

Let's be honest, this place is kinda ratty. True to its surroundings, it really does feel like a public park. This is maybe the worst conditioning I've ever seen on a so-called golf course.

This is one of several odd features of this course. This practice putting green is on the far side of the 3rd green.

Which means if you want to hit a few putts before your round, you've basically got to cross the 3rd hole to get there.

The 4th hole has maybe the toughest tee shot on the course. At this point, I'm far from impressed, but hey--this is an okay looking hole.

One particularly unfortunate feature of FPGC is the expressway running along much of the northwest side of the property.

This is what you might call the course's signature hole, the 15th. Granted it's a fine hole.

Trouble is, once you're done here, you face a very long trek to the 16th tee. 443 yards--that's practically a par 5's distance for most people. I have no idea how the FPGC regulars do it but I'll bet that a lot of rounds end right here.

Choosing to play the 16th hole means a close encounter with the expressway.

Even by cart it's a dismal journey.

Frankly I hesitated to even write up this post. Towards the end of the round, after I made that long trip to the 16th I ran out of enthusiasm, grew weary and kind of lost interest in taking pictures. Besides, I knew I'd have only negative things to say about this place.

This visual kind of sums up the whole Forest Park experience for me. As you can see its a troublesome layout. Yes, there is the odd routing, yes there is the expressway all up in your business, but there's also the bowling alley feel with all the holes laid out side by side. When you're on any of the inner holes, you're seeing stray balls flying at you from what seems like all directions. There's a small handful of secluded holes but on the rest there's just no privacy. Hit it offline and you will find yourself in the trees hobnobbing with various other golfers chopping along on their holes.

Factor in as well some poor conditioning, zero golfy atmosphere, and it all makes for a truly dreadful golf course. Don't go here. You've heard of resort courses? Well this is a last resort course. Where you might find yourself on a day when all other tee times on every other city course have sold out. It makes Dyker Beach seem like Montauk Downs.

Well, if we're are actually gonna hit up every last NYC course, at least we got this one out of the way early on. In any case--sorry.


  1. Too bad. The images of the entrance and the first tee look fairly inviting, but the rest of it really doesn't.

    The grass is sparse, the layout dreadful... and then they are the New Yorkers! Just kidding, of course! :) How much does it cost to walk?

    1. I believe its $31 to walk after 12pm, which I think is the same citywide rate. Not much of a bargain. Overpriced like almost everything else here. Better bet is probably find a deal on golfnow. All moot anyways--its on the DNP list.

    2. Thanks for the info. It's a similar pricing here in expensive Northern California. That means $50 or so to walk on a week-end, and add another $17-$18 for a cart, and before you know it you are talking about serious money for a crappy course! :(

  2. We have some courses similar to the out/back/out/back parallel design. Also on my DNP list. One even has a name that evokes bowling, Maple Lane.

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