photo courtesy USGA
The towns of Southampton and East Hampton, as well as several smaller hamlets, are located on the eastern part of New York's Long Island and often referred to collectively as the Hamptons. The region is best known for the extremely wealthy residents who often spend their summers in the luxurious mansions that dot the area. Visitors should expect to pay a premium for the beautiful scenery and excellent amenities, but the region is full of history and has several sights that shouldn’t be missed.
The Hamptons is full of beautiful scenery, quaint shops, and interesting history. The picturesque Montauk Point Lighthouse is a main attraction and shouldn't be missed, and the attached museum provides a good primer on the area’s seafaring past. A visit to the Sylvester Manor, a colonial manor on beautiful Shelter Island provides an even greater look at the region’s history. The land was bought in the 17th century and used initially as a barrel making operation to provide containers to the lucrative shipping industry and more recently has been turned into educational farm with an eye to preserving the manor’s history.
Next, any visitor to the Hamptons has to spend time on the beach. Be advised, many beaches require you to reserve your parking in advance. Avoid this by heading to Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack which offers daily parking passes purchased when you enter the beach, just be sure to arrive early. Enjoy the Atlantic Ocean by surfing, swimming, or just lounging in the sand. For food, be sure to try the local favorite Lobster Roll, named after the favorite food at this restaurant. Choose from a classic cold lobster roll or the hot and buttery variety and enjoy the melt in your mouth goodness. For cocktails, head to the American Hotel for delicious drinks in a hotel built in the mid-19th century whaling boom for classic elegance. The last must-do activity is to take in the quirky shops and atmosphere in Southampton. Rent a bike from a local shop and explore the miles of antique stores, bookshops, bakeries and cafes.
Courses to Play
The Hamptons and Long Island as a whole are known to be top golfing destination. The following are the best public courses you can play during your stay in the Hamptons.
photo courtesy City of North Hempstead
1 Fairway Dr.
Port Washington, NY 11050
Harbor Links is a relatively recent addition to the storied Long Island golfing world, completed in 1998. The course was designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan on a reclaimed sand mine. The course is a links style course that is a difficult, but fair, play. Golfers note the particularly challenging undulating greens and interesting layout full of natural sand bunkers and ample wastes. The popularity of this course has caused a particular issue with pace of play, with numerous golfers complaining about the slow length of the round. However, visitors can beat the congestion by scheduling an early tee time to beat the crowds while enjoying one of Long Island’s premier courses.
photo courtesy Cherry Creek Links
900 Reeves Ave.
Riverhead, NY 11901
One of Long Island’s favorite public courses, Cherry Creek Links is a Charles Jurgen designed course that combines elements of both links and parkland designs. The layout is a long 7,200 yards and favors big hitters. Fairways are generally generous, so the course is more enjoyable for casual players than many others on this list. However, the undulating greens are often guarded by mounds and bunkers to provide challenge and an accurate short game is necessary to beat this course.
photo courtesy New York State Parks
50 S Fairview Ave.
Montauk, NY 11954
Located on the eastern edge of Long Island, Montauk Downs has long been overshadowed by the better known Bethpage State Park courses. However, Montauk Downs provides one of the best golf experiences in the region and is conveniently located close to many popular tourist destinations. The original course was redesigned by Robert Trent Jones and sons Rees and Robert Jr. to update the layout. The course is beautiful, feeling very isolated with dense forests, natural ponds and rough coming into play often. Go off the beaten plan and see why many golfers refer to Montauk Downs as the hidden gem of Long Island golf.
photo courtesy golfonlongisland.com
220 Waterside Rd.
Northport, NY 11768
Crab Meadows Golf Course is located along the Long Island Sound and is known for its rolling hills and elevation changes. The course is only 6,574 yards long, but often plays longer with both downhill and especially challenging uphill holes. The course is a rarity: a generally forgiving but diverse course that would be a good play for mid-handicappers or golfers recovering from a day of indulgence in the sun. Visitors will enjoy the pretty views and laid back atmosphere as they finish their round off.
photo courtesy New York State Parks
99 Quaker Meeting House Rd.
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Bethpage State Park is the undisputed king of Long Island golf. The state park boasts the Red and Black courses. While the Red Course is deserving a playthrough if you have time, the Black course represents the best that Long Island can offer. The Black Course was first opened in 1936 as a solid public course but its pedigree comes from Rees Jones’ efforts in updating the course in 1998, 2008, and 2015. This is a difficult course by any standard that rewards long accurate drivers with a chance to hit the relative flat greens. But any mistake could find you stuck in some excellent and incredibly difficult greenside or fairway bunkers. The challenge, as well as the beauty of the course, has seen it host two U.S. Opens and it has been awarded both the 2019 PGA Championship and the 2024 Ryder Cup.