Nassau courses open while South Bay sputters
With temperatures expected to range in the upper 40s to upper 50s for the next 10 days, local golfers will finally be able to spend some quality time on area links after the long winter.
Like courses in Suffolk, Nassau’s greens were kept white with snow for the majority of the offseason, forcing course operators to forgo any potential revenue from winter golf. Bethpage State Park’s five golf courses, for example, can see anywhere from 150 to 200 golfers on a day when temperatures get into the 40s, said Elizabeth Wintenberger, Bethpage’s golf director.
“We normally keep the Blue and Yellow courses open during the winter, but they’ve all been closed since the first snowstorm,” Wintenberger said. “Our preparations for opening were delayed because of all the snow, but fortunately we didn’t suffer any ice damage.”
Four out of Bethpage’s five courses have reopened – the Black course will reopen April 8, weather permitting – although each course, other than the Black, will be aerated each midweek throughout the month of April.
Meanwhile, the two golf courses operated by Nassau County’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums have both reopened for the spring as well, although not all courses were playable as of Tuesday afternoon. Cantiague Park’s nine-hole, par-30 golf course in Hicksville is currently open to all golfers, as are Eisenhower Park’s 18-hole Blue and White courses. The county’s championship Red golf course at Eisenhower Park, however, is currently only open on the weekends, weather permitting, and so far this year has only seen one weekend of play.
Up on the North Shore, those golfers with memberships to Glen Cove’s Nassau Country Club can currently play a round on the reopened course, home of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, which will tee off in August.
There have been some setbacks for local courses though.
One golf course still trying to get back into the swing of things is South Bay Country Club of Oceanside, known as Middle Bay Country Club until roughly a year ago when it changed hands. Tariq Kahn, the owner of five Long Island 7-Elevens, and his six partners agreed to assume the lease for the insolvent 143-acre golf course, which had been badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, in April 2013, committing up to $4 million to repair and operate South Bay.
However, two months later, Kahn was embroiled in a lawsuit for allegedly diverting money to buy merchandise inventory from suppliers without reporting the invoices to the 7-Eleven.
That’s caused a delayed start for South Bay. A man who answered the phone Tuesday at the country club said he “hoped to open by May 1 for play and golf outings,” getting a late start because the course’s “operator from last year was removed by the courts.”
Reached for comment, Kahn confirmed that he was no longer operating the site, but wouldn’t comment further for legal reasons.
While golfers will be able to play at the Oceanside golf course, the Sandy-damaged on-site catering hall will remain closed for the season, as work has not been able to be completed without an operator in place.