The Itinerant Golfer

The Itinerant Golfer's Take on Rockaway Hunting Club

Rockaway Hunting Club

Architect: A.W. Tillinghast
Year: 1933

615 Ocean Avenue , Lawrence, New York 11559
(516) 569-0600

driving range available
motorized golf carts and caddies available

Friday the 13th is not the luckiest of days for some people, but for me I couldn’t have been happier on this one. I was at America’s oldest country club located on Long Island in Lawrence, NY. Rockaway Hunting Club was founded in 1878 and was mainly for fox hunting and steeplechase horse racing. At some point around the turn of the century they added a golf course that was later redesigned in 1933 by the famed course architect A.W. Tillinghast. Several other architects have done work on the course since Tillinghast, but the overall design is still considered Tillie’s. The entire facility was top notch with grass tennis courts and a fantastic porch for dining.

I loved the driving range. As you can see in the below picture it was tucked away in a little cubby hole behind hedges where it was totally private and away from the bustle of the club. It was also nice and shady which makes it a great place to warm up for a July round.

Rockaway Hunting Club
The course itself had a great old time feel to it. We played from the tips which were only 6,371 yards. This is a true classic design and not one of the modern gorillas courses playing 7,500 from the back tees. The photo below was taken from the 1st green looking back at the clubhouse. The first several holes were fairly standard. I really liked the greens here. You could fly a high arching shot like a pitching wedge in and the greens hardly dented when your ball hit.

Rockaway Hunting Club
One of the interesting things about this course is that they had limited space to work with. Because of this there are several holes that cross over each other. There are 2 holes on the first nine holes and 2 on the second nine holes where play from the two holes nearly intersect each other. It really is a unique layout.

This photo below is of the green for the 14th hole which is a 212 yard par 3 over water. With the wind it plays more like 220-230 yards.

Rockaway Hunting Club
Eventually the course wrapped its way out to Brosewere Bay for a couple of holes along the water. The wind picked up and became more of a factor on those holes which certainly made things more interesting.

This was a fun course to play with a funky layout. Every couple of holes the feel of the course would change. I was never really sure if I was playing an inland wooded course or a seaside links course which made it a great day!

  • Scott MacWhinnie

    RHC is nowhere near Long Island Sound. The body of water you see is Brosewere Bay and Reynolds Channel.

  • Thanks for the correction Scott!