July 19, 2006
A Peek At Indian Island
At the junction to the South Fork sits a treasure that many golfers don't know about: Indian Island Golf Course.
In the late sixties and early seventies, a golf course architect named William F. Mitchell created worldwide fame by designing and putting his mark on several world-class courses. The most well-known is Quinta do Lago, located on the Algarve coast of Portugal.
The 2,000-acre private estate that also incorporates a bird sanctuary and numerous miles of pristine Atlantic Ocean shoreline quickly became a haven for the rich and famous. When the golf course opened in 1970, the best and brightest of the worlds of aristocracy, entertainment, sports and industry headed to this part of the Iberian Peninsula to bask in the warmth of sun, restaurants and golf.
It is interesting to note that these famous courses were named after the North and South, not unlike our East End, which is characterized by the twin forks. Both were the combined efforts of William F. Mitchell and Rocky Roquemore, two emerging American designers who each set out nine holes. While they would probably be seen as the odd couple in today's standards, their results equal both fun and imagination.
So, who appeared upon our Long Island scene in 1971? None other than William F. Mitchell who was hired to design a public golf course along the East End's junction. The rest is golf history. The Indian Island Golf Course, set up by Mitchell, which opened in 1972, was once described by Golf Digest as "a great track with beautiful holes along the Peconic River with two very different nines and a fair amount of water." The course does have a tendency to incorporate narrow fairways with small, fast greens and due to its closeness to water, the first hole with a morning breeze will wake you very abruptly.
Indian Island is a classic example of one of our island's splendid public courses offering challenges to both the novice and experienced golfer. The signature hole has a green that slopes deeply towards the water and overlooks the Peconic River. Expect to deal with the heavy sand bunkers which rim it on the right side.
Indian Island is an 18-hole regulation-length municipal course with a par of 72. Golf instruction via the pro shop can be obtained by logging on to the Bob Fox Pro Shop website, which will offer golfers instruction by Mr. Fox, the golf pro and Larry Springer. The shop offers discounts on both equipment and clothing. There is a driving range with 25 stalls and the cost of a bucket of 35 balls is only $4. The driving range is usually open from dawn to dusk.
Because Indian Island is a Suffolk County owned and operated course, call-in reservations are available through the green key system. For information about this service, call 244-PARK. Golf outings are available and there is a restaurant and catering facilities.
Play this welcoming course, which adjoins the twin forks and sits at the beginning of the South fork. There is always a breeze, especially if you arrive in the early morning hours and the water views are simply amazing at sun-up and sundown.