The easternmost tip of Long Island, Montauk, has long been a favorite summer destination for those of us who call this peninsula home. “The End,” as it has come to be known, has grown tremendously in popularity in the last decade as a vacation spot for many including a huge population descending from Manhattan and most recently New Jersey, in the wake of Sandy. In fact, its season has extended well beyond Memorial Day to Labor Day to include the better part of six months. In addition to its beaches, restaurants, parks and boating opportunities, Montauk is home to one of the best public golf courses on Long Island–Montauk Downs. “The Downs” is both a beauty and a beast. Perhaps not the beast of a Bethpage Black, but from the tips and in high winds, it will no doubt eat your lunch.
When the U.S. Open came to Bethpage in 2002, part of the conditions of the agreement were that “The Downs,” as locals call it, would be shown some (financial) love. Rees Jones came, saw, and added his two cents. Without question, Montauk Downs is a top track on Long Island. I would even argue that if not for logistics, it could be in consideration for a USGA Public Links Championship. Of course that’s a moot point now that the USGA is discontinuing the championship. Still, no avid golfer who vacations at “The End” of Long Island misses a chance to play Montauk Downs once or twice or… .