Landing Golf Course, tucked away in a residential neighborhood on the banks of the Nissequogue River, is a hidden gem on the North Shore in Smithtown. It was originally constructed in the 1960s with the intention of creating a widely accessible course with the amenities of a private country club: now, this public course is an inexpensive local secret.
Since the course is fairly short, a driver isn’t necessary on every hole. The fourth hole is the number one handicap; it plays 590 from the tips with out-of-bounds left of the green. Stay left on the approach as the fairway slopes severely left to right. On the back nine, the sixteenth hole provides a long, challenging par three with bunkers in front of the green. If you miss the green to the left or right, you’ll find yourself in deep rough due to a severe back to front slope.
On several risk/reward holes—three, eight, and ten—you can drive the green or lay up with an iron and still have a short approach. Significant improvements have been made to greens on the front nine. One of Landing’s most valuable assets is Michael Hebron, the course’s director of golf, who was ranked in the top 50 best instructors in the country. A driving range, upper and lower putting greens, and an additional nine-hole par three course make Landing the ideal practice setting: $11 gets you unlimited play on the par three, which is perfect for honing your short game.
Smithtown Landing is no Bethpage Black, but it’s a great value for a well-kept and challenging public course. The cost for eighteen holes is $33 for town residents and $37 for non-residents. During the week, Landing is open to anyone but non-residents must be accompanied by a Smithtown resident on the weekends. The clubhouse has a pro shop as well as a bar and café with basic pub food for before or after the round. An on-site classroom, swing review room, and aforesaid practice facilities make Landing a dependable alternative to expensive and exclusive country clubs and a terrific place for players of all ages to improve their game.
Landing is easily accessible from Route 25A in Smithtown or Kings Park, in northern Suffolk County—just a few miles off of the Long Island Sound—and is located at 495 Landing Avenue.
*All photos by Katie Whelan – click for full sized image.