A Course Not to Be Rushed
Van Cortlandt Golf Course, North Bronx
The Lowdown: The oldest public course in the United States is a mere subway ride from Manhattan. Known as "Vanny" to regulars, the home course of NYC's elite is great for those looking to escape from the city and relax for a few (or maybe six) hours.
Famous Members: Andrew Giuliani, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays.
Caddie Tip: The long course can take hours to play. Be prepared to spend the day.
A Club of American Royalty
Piping Rock Club, Locust Valley
The Lowdown: Located less than an hour outside New York City, Piping Rock is a private club with a strict dress code and a steep history in Americana. Cole Porter and Jackie Onassis played here.
Caddie Tip: If you're not a member, you'll need a friend or sponsor to play. Once you're in, don't miss the driving range: Formerly two polo courses, it's large enough to practice hitting wherever and however you please.
Best Course to Play as a Single
Bethpage State Park Golf: The Black Course, Farmingdale
The Lowdown: Undoubtedly one of the most difficult courses in the US. And one where foursomes have to be prepared for overnight campouts like teenage girls waiting for Justin Bieber tickets.
Caddie Tip: Playing alone? No need to sleep in your car with your buddies. Showing up around 10 a.m. and going out as a single ensures you'll play 18 holes by sundown.
A Course Full of History
The Saint Andrew's Golf Club, Hastings-on-Hudson
The Lowdown: Said to be the oldest continuously existing private club in the country, this Saint Andrew's pays homage to its Scottish counterpart with a restoration by Jack Nicklaus and an old-world feel.
Caddie Tip: A unique feature: Tee times are not required to play the course.
More Info: Golfslope Review
Worth a Trip Over the State Line
Bayonne Golf Club, Bayonne, New Jersey
The Lowdown: Don't let the New Jersey address fool you into thinking it's relaxed. This is a real-deal, invitation-only course with a serious eye for detail and charm and a rigorous membership policy. Access is by private car or boat — or the helicopter pad.
Caddie Tip: The links-style course is tricky, with lots of spots for mistakes. A skilled player will do well with the marshland and tall grass.
Where to Play Like a Champion
Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck
The Lowdown: A real New York gem, the A. W. Tillinghast-designed course is the best of the best, bringing golfers to their knees. A constant fixture on the PGA Tour, it has hosted too many championship tours to list.
Caddie Tip: The holes are long and complicated with narrow fairways and thick rough. The extensive bunkering protecting the greens demands real skill. The 3rd and10th stand out as the toughest holes.
Where to Close the Deal
Tallgrass Golf Course, Shoreham
The Lowdown: A tribute to Scottish links-style courses, Tallgrass lures visitors back again and again. Amenities unique to Long Island golf and a picturesque clubhouse make it the club for talking business.
Caddie Tip: The greens are smooth and fast, and a manageable length makes it great for quick play.
New Big Thing on the East Coast
Crystal Springs, Sussex County, New Jersey
The Lowdown: The best and brightest in golf architecture collaborated on seven incredible courses in Sussex County, making Crystal Springs the new NYC go-to for a great golf experience.
Caddie Tip: Each course offers a different style, from swinging '70s at Great Gorge to Scottish links at Ballyowen. Know the theme before stepping up to the tee.