June 28, 2006


On The Tee

As I mentioned in my last column, there are numerous locations on the twin forks to play links-style golf, based in part upon the ancient designs of the original links courses of Scotland and the British Isles. Since the twin forks possess much of the same topography and climate, they equally challenge golfers with similar wind and sand conditions that are the result of salty sprays and dry soils.

In this column, we'll take a glimpse at Indian Island Golf Course in Riverhead at the junction where the north and south forks come together. Golf Digest once described Indian Island as "a great track with beautiful holes along the Peconic River with two very different nines and a fair amount of water." It does have a tendency towards narrow fairways and small, very fast greens and, because of its closeness to water; that first hole in the early morning hours will wake you up quickly due to the ever-present breeze.

Indian Island is truly a classic example of one of our island's splendid public courses, offering challenges to both novice and experienced golfers. The signature hole has a green that slopes towards the water and overlooks the Peconic River. It's rimmed with sand bunkers to the right.

The 18 holes at Indian Island were built in 1973 and designed by William F. Mitchell. The greens are bent grass, while the fairways are Bermuda grass. It was designed on an extremely flat terrain, which makes it simple to walk. As in typical Scottish links-style courses, the fairways are narrow and the greens are small and fast. Water hazards come into play on three holes and watch out for all those sand traps!

Bob Fox's Pro Shop has a special website to answer all your questions about playing a round of golf or taking a lesson. Bob is the head P.G.A. professional and the facility employs state-of-the-art instructional equipment which has been specifically designed for aerobic exercise and the improvement of golf swing via muscle memory.

Larry Springer is the assistant pro and he and Bob work to assist beginner, intermediate and advanced golfers in both private and group lessons. Golf instruction is offered daily, by appointment, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Be sure to remember that reservations to play the course may only be made by green card holders. Since the course is owned by Suffolk County, there is a call-in reservation system available through the green key system. For additional information about this program, you can also call 631-244-PARK.

Indian Island is located on Riverside Drive in Riverhead; tucked away like a protected peninsula between the Saw Mill Brook and the Peconic River yet it is extremely accessible by both forks. The website lists the par-72 course as follows:

Blue- rating 70.3/slope 122

White-rating 68.6/slope 119

Red-rating 71.3/slope 122

At Indian Island, the dress code is still strictly enforced with collared shirts required and soft spikes. It's easy to locate from the Riverhead Traffic Circle, following signs for Flanders Road then going one mile to County Rd # 105 and turning left on #105 to enter the course from the right. You simply can't miss it, nor can you not be impressed by the breathtaking view of the scenic par 5, tenth hole along the Peconic River.

To contact Bob Fox's Pro Shop at Indian Island Golf and Country Club, call 727-7776. A wide variety of rates are available and they are truly affordable.

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