The Takeaway: Grade A+
Designer: C.B. Macdonald in 1914
Cost: Private Private (Walking strongly encouraged, caddies available)
Phone Number: (914) 941-3062
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Sleepy Hollow's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Accolades: Ranked 19th in New York on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Best in State list.
What to Expect: With all the rankings and lists that get published, it instantly sets a course up to be overhyped or underhyped. Well for a golf geek like me, few things are more enjoyable than the surprise of playing an underhyped course; and Sleepy Hollow was the most underhyped course I had played in quite a while. Sleepy Hollow went under a recent renovation/restoration project that exposes Macdonald’s brilliance and will certainly have the club moving up in the rankings. The property is fantastic for golf due to the varied terrain throughout the property and the stunning views of the Hudson River. The collection of par 3s, including a reverse Redan, is outstanding and the blind approach to punchbowl green on #15 may be the most exciting shot on the course. Many of the patrons of Sleepy Hollow walk and take a caddy, but carts are available for those that elect to use them. In the end, I love Sleepy Hollow. Every hole is interesting, the views are stunning, the bunkering is challenging, and I would never get tired of playing it.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 16th Hole – 155 Yard Par 3 – The 16th at Sleepy Hollow may be the most picturesque hole in the state of New York. With the Hudson River and a grouping of trees creating the background, this short par 3 is flat out gorgeous. A mote bunker encircles the green and gives the putting surface a plateau effect that gives the perfect artistic touch to the setting of this hole. This hole is not overly difficult, and certainly not long, but it is sexy as crazy!
Best Par 3: 3rd Hole – 167 Yards – Sleepy Hollow has one of the best collections of one-shot holes of anywhere that I’ve played. The first such hole is #3, a relatively short hole that plays over a 40-foot valley to an elevated green. The hole is appropriately named “Haunted Bridge” due to the wooden bridge that runs along the left side of the hole and looks like it has been there since medieval times. The view from the behind the hole back towards the Hudson River could be the cover of a golf calendar and cause golfers to drool all over themselves.
Best Par 4: 15th Hole – 502 Yards – The 15th hole is the best par four at Sleepy Hollow for one very good reason; the punchbowl green. Quite lengthy at 502 yards, it is an excellent distance for this type of green that enjoys its best moments when approach shots are being brought in from a fairly lengthy distance. The approach shot into this green is blind and features a tall pole with the Sleepy Hollow logo on it as an aiming line. A bunker it set off the right half of the green, so the safest way into the putting surface is by utilizing the terrain left of the aiming pole that will filter balls toward the green. A grossly underappreciated aspect in golf course design, the exhilaration of running up to the green and discovering where your approach shot ended up is a rare treat indeed. By the way, the view from this green isn’t too shabby either.
Best Par 5: 12th Hole – 541 Yards – The double dogleg 12th hole is a gem of a hole that originally was designed as a par four but was lengthened during the remodeling project that was completed in 2007. A lone tree marks the inside of the dogleg and represents a target to stay to the right of if you want to avoid the creek that runs up the left side of the hole. The creek eventually crosses the fairway and poses a potential threat to players looking to layup on this hole. A wicked cool bridge, similar to the one found on #3, exits the back of the green and enters into the forest beyond. The elevated approach shot to this double plateau green requires excellent distance control to avoid potential pitfalls both on and off the green.
Birdie Time: 2nd Hole – 332 Yard Par 4 – Like the 16th, the 2nd hole features a mote bunker that wraps the entire green and creates a sharp decline from the putting surface to the sand. The tee shot plays uphill to a generous fairway and the length affords most golfers a sub-100 yard approach shot. With a club in your hand that should have most golfers licking their chops, this hole presents a great chance to knock one stiff and card a birdie.
Bogey Beware: 11th Hole – 433 Yard Par 4 – Sleepy Hollow leaves one of its prettiest hole at the 10th and requires golfers to walk behind the green to the 11th tee box where the view will make most golfers pucker. Thread through a chute of trees, the 11th fairway appears fairly tight off the tee and slopes from left to right. Even with a perfect drive, the test at this hole doesn’t get easier as the approach shot is played to an elevated green with a strong slope off the front edge. Finding any of the greenside bunkers will put you nearly six feet under the putting surface and will have you trying to recall the instruction Dave Pelz gave to pull this shot off in last month’s Golf Magazine. The 11th is a stout test and a very satisfying par if you can manage it.