The 18-hole course at Harbor Links, the new Town of North Hempstead golf course located on the site of what was formerly known as the Morewood property, opened for regular play on Tuesday, July 28.
Even though some residents, especially the senior citizens, complain about the relatively high fees for Harbor Links, most everyone agrees the course is spectacular and challenging. And while no action has been taken by town officials to lower the fees just yet, the seniors report that the town acknowledges their concerns.
Many non-golfers from Port Washington are also proud of the new course, for reasons that have nothing to do with golf. Most Port residents today recall the extraordinary effort put forth by local groups and individuals as they soldiered the fight against the dreaded incinerator, which all agree would have been an unmitigated disaster for the town.
So kudos to the town for creating this "environmentally sensitive" facility and, in the process, helping to reduce the financial nightmare that was Morewood; and kudos to the good people of Port Washington... who fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith!
Here are some general reactions from some local golfers to the 18-hole course. (Note-the 9-hole Executive course is opening Aug. 17.)
Delighted with Harbor Links, Jim Hillis, says, "It's a real asset to the community, in addition to being a wonderful golf course. The people are very kind and gracious." He describes himself and his wife as "duffer golfers" but asserts, "No one enjoys a round more than we do."
Commenting on the course, he says,"It's challenging, and some of the holes on the side of the hill are fascinating."
Jim has no problem with the fees. "The charges are reasonable," he states. "Since they're in their first year, there are so many unknowns. The fees may go up and down. But I don't think we should expect the town to subsidize the golfers. Those who use the facility, should pay."
Jim did have an issue with the prohibition of pull-carts, a policy initially set by the management company. For the golfers, this meant that they either had to pay $15 for a motorized cart or else carry their own bags for four to five hours. However, the Port News learned last week that this policy has now been changed. According to Joe Wilkinson, effective immediately pull carts will be allowed Monday through Thursday.
Betty Hillis agrees with her husband, "It's a beautiful course, and a great asset for the whole area." When informed about the revised pull-cart policy, she said she was glad to hear it. "I didn't care much for riding in the cart," she noted.
Alice O'Leary, who played her third best game at Harbor Links recently says, "It's absolutely great! I felt like I was on a private course. They're efficient; the ranger makes sure you get through. It ran very smoothly. However, it's a bit expensive-we'll see how it goes."
Nick de Meo, a 14-year-old junior player, says, "It's very nice. The play was slow, though. A round took a long time." As a junior player, Nick can only make his reservation the day he wants to play, so he says, " It would nice if the juniors could have tee time cards."
Lillian McCormick gave rave reviews to Harbor Links. "I'm so proud of that wonderful new golf course and so proud of the town. It's such an asset for Port and all of us on Long Island." Commenting on the course, she says, "It's so challenging and thoroughly enjoyable."
While Scott Weil belongs to a private club, he welcomes the variety that Harbor Links offers to his golf experience. "It's a new pool of people, and the course is so well-thought out...the golf course architect Dr. Hudzan really did a great job. He took advantage of the landscape. The views are beautiful. You feel as if you're in Arizona when you walk onto the links."
Scott adds, "Once the course matures, it will be absolutely magnificient and will probably be considered one of the premier, if not the premier, public course in the Northeast."
"For a brand new facility, it's also running very smoothly," he notes.
"It's a great asset to the community. It's amazing what they've done with this once useless piece of property."
Edward Innella exuberantly says, "It's a great course. They did a great job there. It gives me the feeling of playing on a course out West." He says that the only problem he sees is stabilizing the hills. He fears that with a heavy rainfall, erosions may occur, "Although the town's on top of it, I'm sure." For now though, Mr. Innella says, the course conditions are excellent!
Port's sportsmeister, Bart Cosolito, says, "The course is beautiful...it's a great design and it's in good shape." He also reports that the service is courteous. "There's VIP treatment from the managers."
Bart had some "mild"negatives to say, however. "The course plays long and takes five hours to play the whole course. There's no shade." (Harbor Links Director of Golf Joe Wilkinson says that it's the nature of links courses to not have shade trees.) Bart would also like to see a 9-hole fee schedule for twilight play instituted.
Bart also has an issue with the course's cancellation policy. As of now, if a group or member of a group cancels with less than 24-hour notice, the person who made the reservation (using their own credit card) is charged the full green fee for the person(s) who don't show. Bart feels that a nominal fee for a canceled reservation should be charged, not full boat.
Defending the policy, Joe Wilkinson, director of golf, says that the tee time is reserved time. "It's not fair to have to turn paying (and eager to play) customers away if people with reservations just decide they don't want to play in less than 24-hours of the time they reserved."
Tom Faticone states, "Harbor Links is an excellent golf course. However, like Bart Cosolito, he too wishes there was some shade. He reports that when he played, he was "treated well." He notes that the fees are high but adds, " they're high all over." He also feels that the other public courses are not comparable."For example, we have five individual tees for every hole," he explains.
Describing himself as "just a beginner," PWPD Counsel Steve Ressa commented, "Not being a good golfer I found it 'unforgiving'." He added, however, "The course looks terrific."
Lee Aitken, Steve Ressa's law partner, remarks, I enjoyed it. It's a very challenging course." Commenting on the new landscape on the harbor, Mr. Aitken says, "I'm amazed that out of the sand pits I've known all my life that they created this golf course."
Marie Cosolito states unequivocally, "I loved it! It's beautiful. It's a challenging course." She adds, "It's nice to have it in our own backyard..."
Deputy Supervisor/ Port Liaison to Town Council, Councilman Tony D'Urso states, "With Newsday recently calling it a "Castle in Sand," The Harbor Links Golf Course will be one of the premier golf courses on Long Island. I welcome all to play either the 18-hole championship or nine-hole executive course."