New York’s Pound Ridge Golf Club A Skillful Dye Design
The amount of rock co-designers Pete and Perry Dye and construction manager and shaper Michael Langkau had to blast in stony Westchester County, N. Y., to create Pound Ridge Golf Club might be compared to David taking on Goliath. When asked how much of the $40 million investment in the 172-acre property was spent on moving the rock, owner Ken Wang quipped, “$39.8 million.”
While it took nearly 10 years to complete not only course construction, but also to navigate local building and environmental quality requirements, when Pound Ridge Golf Club opened in 2008, Wang admitted, “at the end of the day, we had a better product.”
Located just one hour north of New York City on on Metro-North’s Harlem Line in the city of Pound Ridge, N.Y., Pound Ridge Golf Club is the only course designed by Pete Dye in the state.
While considering the design for the refurbished course, the Dyes walked the layout of the older course that was in disrepair. “We could tell where the high and low points were,” said Perry, “but the land pretty much dictated it had to run north and south.” He said they saved as many trees as they could.
Spectacularly scenic with rolling bent grass fairways, waving fescue, tall trees, ravines, more than 100 bunkers, and 14,000 feet of rock walls, the Dyes took full advantage of what nature gave them in constructing the course.
Enormous boulders are skillfully worked into the design like the ones on the par-5 13th hole called “Pete’s Rock,” where a giant boulder sits on the right side of the fairway, waiting to punish errant drives. Other rocks threaten along the right side on the second shot, while trees on both sides narrow the safe hitting area.
On the par-3 15th hole, aptly named “Headstone,” a huge rock face looms along the right side of the elongated green. “If it hits the rock and bounces onto the green, you’ll say this is a great hole; if it bounces into the swamp you’ll say ‘this is the worst…hole you’ve ever seen in your life,’” joked Perry.
On this track, bunkers are an art form as you’ll see when you reach the 4th hole, a par-3 ferociously protected by plunging, high-lipped, grass-fringed, sand hazards along with water on the right. On the 5th hole, a par-4 called, “Temptation,” the well-manicured fairways are strewn with deep menacing bunkers challenging the big hitters to go for the green on their drive instead of playing it safe to the wide part of the fairway.
On any given day, golfers will enjoy playing Pound Ridge Golf Club if they’re shaping their shots on target. If not, they could have a tough time and lose several balls – this is not a track for the timid. But with five tee options, golfers can do well if they pay attention to the back of the scorecard where tees are recommended for handicap ranges.
An Elite Experience For All
For those looking for a high-end golf experience on a designer course that is open to the public, Pound Ridge Golf Club fills an important niche in this affluent region. It has the highest green fees in the area for a public track, still playing here is less expensive than joining a Westchester County country club.
There are no hotels on site, nor are there any houses lining the fairways, as making the course private was never part of the plan. Still, there are pricey neighborhoods with multi-million dollar estates all around, like Pound Ridge, Bedford, South Salem and just over the border in Connecticut, New Canaan and Greenwich.
This is a course where movers and shakers can feel comfortable bringing clients they want to impress. It also satisfies the golfer looking for the sheer satisfaction of playing a really fine track. Also on-site is a practice putting green, driving range and short game area for those who are looking to hone their skills further.
Pound Ridge Golf Club has received a number of accolades including the “No. 1 U.S. Open-worthy Public Course” by GOLF magazine, “Best in State, No. 5” by Golfweek, and on Golf Digest’s list for “America’s Best New Courses.”
So, after 10 years and 20 tons of dynamite, Pete Dye said, “It turned out perfect.” And, we couldn’t agree more.
Featured image courtesy of Pound Ridge Golf Club.