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News from Goat Hill: A guide to the course

With the foul weather over Memorial Day weekend at our backs, let’s welcome in the summer of 2021.

The course really needed the rain and I’m sure has greened up by the time you read this column.

This week let’s highlight the course and break it down hole by hole. From the white tees the course plays 2,512 yards with a par 32. From the red tees it plays 2,103 yards and a par 33 (second hole is a par 5). 

There are six blind shots to our dime-sized greens. Sticking these greens in regulation is difficult, but can be done in many different ways depending if conditions are hard and fast or soft and lush, but in any case, always challenging.

1st Hole:  Par 4. White tees, 350 yards. Red tees, 299 yards.

Slight dog leg right over a rolling hill that slopes right to left. The fairway is wide, so hit the driver and set up for the second shot. Your second shot is blind and over a small hill. Landing short and rolling on is the best bet. Over the green with a back pin can be a hard short sided up and down.

2nd Hole: Par 5. White tees, 407 yards. Red tees, 396 yards.

This hole requires a good drive down the fairway. Right into the street is out-of-bounds, caution to left here off the tee. Your second shot is blind and down hill to a green that slopes away. The slope on this green is deceiving and two-putting can be challenging. Par is a real good score here.

3rd Hole. Par 4. White tees, 305 yards. Red tees, 232 yards.

A very “getable” par 4. On your drive, watch for the fescue on the right hill slope, landing there can easily be a lost ball. Keep the drive right of the tree line and you’ll have an accessible and visible shot to the green. Left middle pin placement (Brian’s favorite) is tough. This green slopes hard back to front. Long is a difficult up and down. You want to be putting this green uphill.

4th Hole: Par 3. White tees 226 yards. Red tees, 180 yards.

Toughest hole to par, in my opinion. Long blind tee shot over the sleigh-riding hill. Keep to the left, there’s more room over there than it looks, and the contour goes from left to right down by the green. Right of the green is a difficult up and down since the green slopes hard front to back. You can tell Brian’s mood by the pin placement here. There are some severe pin placements that make this hole hard and walking away with a par is a skin winner.

5th Hole: Par 3. White tees, 157 yards. Red tees, 138 yards.

Nice down hill par three. What you see is what you get. The green slopes hard left to right toward our only bunker. Avoid playing a second from above the hole as up and down is difficult because you can’t stop the ball downhill. Again you want an uphill putt here.  This hole is harder than it looks.

6th Hole: Par 3. White tees, 183 yards. Red tees, 163 yards.

Blind shot to a green beyond the last hill. You can see the top of the flag from the white’s but not the red’s. This green is flat and will hold. Anything short left has a good chance of rolling on. Right is in the valley, and too far right is tree trouble on your up and down. This is a flat green so don’t read too much break, there really is none. Very “parable.”

7th Hole: Par 4. White tees, 380 yards. Red tees, 323 yards.

Plenty of fairway out there. Let the driver loose, there’s plenty of room left on the 8th fairway with no real penalty. The key to this hole is the blind second shot to a lower green that runs away to the back. Short left can bounce on the green, but is guarded by a depression with thick rough on the front and left. Sometimes you’re just at the mercy of the Goat regarding the bounces. This green is way faster than it looks, again you want an uphill par putt.

8th Hole: Par 4. White tees, 303 yards. Red tees 240 yards.

Uphill then downhill par 4. Keep the driver out and bombs away. The cherry tree on the far hill has a tendency to get in the way of the second shot. Many requests to have it removed — denied. The fairway slopes hard right to left and you most likely have the ball below or above your feet on the second. Blind shot to the green over the hill, landing short and rolling on is the best option. Long over the green if you’re not in the woods is a very tough up and down.

9th Hole: Par 3. White tees, 201 yards. Red tees, 112 yards.

Our signature hole, with our iconic, 120-year-old original clubhouse as a back drop. This tee shot is almost always into the wind. Check the flag pole.  A challenging tee shot — long will leave you with an awkward chip off the steep hill with thick rough. If you miss short left or middle is an easier up and down than long. With the large crowds at the clubhouse you need to not three putt.

COURSE RECORD:  28 by Bubbie Ryder,  Aug. 29, 1996

It was a beautiful blue sky that August Sunday morning 25 years ago. The usual foursome of Bubbie Ryder, Wally Ogar, George Blados and Billy Hannabury set off on their regular game.  Bubbie played the first 8 holes at 3 under par with 5 pars and 3 birdies. (For context, in 1996 the 4th hole was a par 4 and later changed by the USGA to a par 3 due to the length.) 

Bubbie got to the 9th tee and pulled out his trusty 3 wood. He addressed the ball and hit a solid shot right at the flag stick. It hit the green and rolled in for the ace. A course record 28 on an ace, what a way to enter the record books. Stop by and see the original score card at the clubhouse.


We’re challenging any golfer (member or guest) to shoot a 29 or better (3 under). Upon doing so you will receive a $200 gift certificate to the pro shop or the Flying Goat Restaurant, your choice.  Give it a try, Gardiner’s Bay Country Club golfers.


• Must have a witness

• Must make every putt

• Must not be a professional

• Must pass a polygraph (just kidding)


Open 6 days a week. Closed on Wednesday. We now have daily specials. See our website — flyinggoatrestaurant.com  — for daily updates. Check out our famous crab cakes. Best view on Shelter Island and located at the historic 120-year-old clubhouse.  

Become a member, come out and play, make a tax-free donation to support our community-based centerpiece. See you on the first tee.

Attitude makes the difference.