Maidstone Club is a country club located in East Hampton on Long Island. The club dates from 1891 and includes an active beach club, and grass tennis courts. The club also started introducing golf holes from 1898, but it wasn't until 1922 that they got serious and employed legendary Scottish golfer Willie Park Jnr and then the exisiting Maidstone course emerged. In recent years Coore + Crenshaw were employed to 'tidy up' the course, which had largely remained unchanged from Willie Parks' day. Coore + Crenshaw cleaned up the rough in play off the tee and framing fairways, reducing the number of carries over long grass to speed up play, and bringing the lovely red fescue in the rough to the fore. They also shaved the green surrounds...
With a number of elevated greens, some with steep drop offs, there is nothing to stop the rolling ball!
Maidstone has a bit of a split personality starting with a number of holes playing through and around the wetlands. These holes are easy walking, and very pretty. Holes 1-5, 7 and 16 & 17 cover this terrain, and there are some really interesting holes. Hole 8 introduces the dunesland holes of which 9, 10 & 14 are memorable examples.
The par 3 fourth hole with an all water carry is a strong hole.
The short par 4 fifth hole with promontory green requires an accurate short iron- anything long is wet!
The par 4 seventh hole is a 'Cape' hole and requires a brave tee shot to assure a short iron to a dangerous green.
The par 3 eighth hole is the first of the holes in the bigger dunes near the beach. It requires a short iron to be hit 'blind' over the dunes to a wonderful green surrounded by bunkers.
The par 4 ninth runs parallel to the beach. The green is quite elevated with steep drop offs and requires a very accurate mid iron to stay on the green. Anything short or straying from centre green will eventually trickle into cavernous bunkers so it is a tough hole.
Hole 10 is a longer par 4 with another trying green complex. It requires two very solid strikes to get home in regulation.
The final dunes hole is the short par 3 fourteenth hole, set in classic linksland near the coast. The wind is in play, and you must be up. Perfect!
The par 5 sixteenth again tests your mettle with a tee shot over us much water as you are game to take on...
And the short par 4 seventeenth is a curiousity. It is almost driveable for the big hitter, but mere mortals will need to once more choose a line over the water and commit. A successful tee shot will leave a short approach to an elevated green adjacent to a road intersection. It's weird, but it works!
Maidstone might have a split personality but it works wonderfully well. With the sun shining and the waves crashing in the background it is a beautiful place to be. I really enjoyed the variety of holes, and the fact that I could genuinely play all sort of shots around the greens- bump'n'run, flop shot, putt- you choose.
This is the sort of course you could play every day for the rest of your life. No wonder it is considered one of the top 60 or 70 courses on the planet..
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