Maidstone Club (West)Golf Course Review by: Bill Satterfield
Designer: Willie Park Jr. in 1891
Cost: Private with walking caddies
Phone Number: (631) 324-5530
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Maidstone Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 50 Old Beach Lane, East Hampton, New York
Accolades: Ranked 93rd on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America and 12th in the state of New York.
Signature Hole: 9th - 402 Yard Par 4 - One of the finest two-shot holes in all of golf is found along the Atlantic coast at the links style Maidstone club. With the ocean and beach on your right and sand dunes framing the tight fairway, this hole is one of the Gurus all time favorites.
What to Expect: Maidstone is a charming club that dates back to 1891 and features one of the few "true" links layouts in America. The course has a reputation for having weak holes at the start and weak holes at the finish with some of the finest holes inbetween. There is a lot of truth to that statement, in fact when I played down the 1st hole I was thinking to myself, "This is a Top 100 course?" A few holes later I was starting to see some good holes and by the time I played 8, 9, and 10 I was getting blown away. The old school locker room and pro shop are intimate and reflective of the natural flowing golf course that continues to honor its roots by functioning without an irrigation system. The club has a reputation of being a "money" club and a snotty enviornment, but you would never guess it from the pro shop, locker room, golf staff, or golf course; judging from those elements Maidstone is simply a throw-back course on one of the finest pieces of property America's east coast has ever encountered.
By the Numbers:
Individual Hole Analysis
Best Par 3: 14th - 148 Yards - The picturesque 14th hole falls in the same category as the 15th hole at Cypress Point; short, beautiful, and perfect. The green is a virtual island surrounded by bunkers and brush and features the stunning Atlantic Ocean in the background to frame one of the finest short one-shotters anywhere.
Best Par 4: 9th - 402 Yards - I wasn't prepared for the extreme beauty and nature that the 9th hole at Maidstone delivers. After walking off the impressive semi-blind par three 8th hole you are brought to this tee box that boasts the Atlantic ocean off to the right and large sand dunes looming throughout the hole. The uphill approach to this stellar green is a challenge and a pleasure all wrapped up in one.
Best Par 5: 16th - 471 Yards - Maidstone takes some heat for having such short par fives, but the crown jewel of them all is the reachable 16th. Although it measures well under 500 yards, your tee shot must make a significant carry over the water before making a run at the putting surface. The brilliance in the design here is the diagonal playing angle that Park used which allows players to decide just how much of the hole they want to cut off and deliver the risk/reward situation that goes along with it.
Birdie Time: 5th - 325 Yard Par 4 - As often is the case, we look towards a driveable par four as an opportunity to put a circle on your scorecard and move a stroke under par. At Maidstone the short 5th hole with relatively little trouble and plenty of fairway to hit delivers on an excellent crack at the green. If you come up short then it should be a relatively easy pitch and putt to score a three, unless you find the pin in the back right of the green where the undulations can cause a bit more havoc.
Bogey Beware: 9th - 402 Yards - It's not very often that a single hole gets featured as the signature, the best par four, and the bogey beware hole but it's not very often you encounter a hole as impressive as the 9th at Maidstone. You will often be battling the wind on this coastal links hole and trying to find the narrow fairway. Once you take a crack at the green there is safety nowhere but on the green as shots left short will likely find the cross bunker of the 10 foot deep greenside Yale bunker. By going long there is very little chance of getting up and down with the green running away from you.
Final Cut: Grade A