While Long Island's beaches are famous, in golf circles the region is renown for its courses. Bethpage Black, for one, is a mecca for golfers who sometimes sleep in their cars overnight just for a tee time.
Since Long Island boasts scores of public golf courses, we've compiled this list of places in Nassau and Suffolk to offer golfers a change of pace – because there's no shortage of places to swing.
While Bethpage is the highest-profile public course on Long Island, other notables include Montauk Downs and Tallgrass (both noted by GolfWeek, along with Bethpage Red, as some of the state's top public tracks) on the East End of the Island, and Eisenhower Red, Lido Golf Club and Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course in Nassau.
Wherever you call your home track, we hope this guide serves as an aid to help you get to where you want to play, so you can explore the area's numerous beautiful courses.
And we welcome reviews, either below in the comments or by clicking through to many of the Patch listings.
Hit 'em straight.
Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course - Long Island's easternmost golf course, the 18-hole, par 72 Montauk Downs is also a fan favorite, known for its swirling winds due to its proximity to both the ocean and bay. Well-bunkered No. 12 is legendary.
Sag Harbor State Golf Course - Tight greens characterize this nine-hole course, situated on nearly 50 acres just east of Sag Harbor Village within the preserved, 341-acre Barcelona Neck Natural Resources Management Area.
Poxabogue Golf Center - Southampton Town's only public golf course, Poxabogue is currently owned jointly between Southampton and East Hampton Towns, though Southampton is working toward purchasing its neighbor's share of the nine-hole course, which also hosts a 75-station driving range.
Island's End Golf Course - Known for its signature par-3 16th hole that runs along the Long Island Sound, Island's End is an 18-hole course located on Sound Avenue just outside Greenport Village. The course is Southold Town's only public 18-hole option for golfers.
Cedars Golf Club - A par-three course tucked away behind the Village Green in Cutchogue, Cedars is one place you don't have to worry about slicing your drives into another fairway. This shot 9-hole course is a nice breath of fresh air tucked away on the North Fork.
Indian Island Golf Course - This county-owned 18-hole course provides discounts for golfers who have Green Key cards, and is located at the mouth of the Peconic River. Scenic views characterize holes 3 through 6, before play gets a little tighter on most of the back 9 as the course plays into the county park of the same name.
Long Island National Golf Club - This par 71 links-style course in Northville features 18 holes designed by renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., whose father also made a name for himself in the business. L.I. National is known as a true challenge for links golfers, with rolling fairways and plenty of hazards.
Cherry Creek Golf Links - Located just west of L.I. National on the south side of Sound Avenue, the par 73 Cherry Creek Links course plays more open than links-style, and is known to many regular Long Island golfers for its signature par 6 on hole No. 18, measuring over 600 yards.
The Woods at Cherry Creek - The Woods being the tighter of the two Cherry Creek courses - located directly across the street from one another on Reeves Avenue - both offer discounts for those looking to play 36 holes on the same day, a great value for someone looking to get a full day of East End golf in one day.
Sandy Pond Golf Course - This nine-hole course on Roanoke Avenue is a short drive for anyone in the area looking to get out for a quick nine holes without going too far.
Shelter Island Country Club - Known to locals as Goat Hill, Shelter Island Country Club is a hilly nine-hole course that can also be found on the National Register of Historic Places.
Calverton Links - This par 71 on Edwards Avenue in Calverton closes up slightly after the first nine - the course expanded after previously being a 9-hole course - offering a more challenging finish to golfers. A 20-stall covered driving range is also available for golfers who want to get some practice swings in during colder months.
Swan Lake Golf Club - Located south of the former Grumman site near the Calverton/Manorville border, Swan Lake offers a quiet, wooded 18 holes of golf with water in play on half of the holes. The fairways and greens often play soft due to its proximity to Swan Lake.
Great Rock Golf Course - Tucked north of the intersection of Sound Avenue and Route 25 in Wading River, this semi-private par 71 takes pride in both its course - named the 2012 course of the year by the Long Island Golf Course Association - and its restaurant, Blackwell's.
Rolling Oaks Golf Course - Something you don't see too often - a par 65 - Rolling Oaks was recently taken over by the operators of Mill Pond Golf and Catering in Medford after previously being run by the Town of Brookhaven. Town residents still get breaks on rates, though.
Pine Ridge Golf Club - Pine Ridge, located near the intersection of Route 112 and County Road 83, opened in 2006 and offers 18 holes in Coram. Though not a long course, Pine Ridge plays tight.
Pine Hills Golf & Country Club - This 18-hole par 73 course was ranked in the country's top 100 courses by Golf Links. It is located in Manorville just off Wading River Manor Road, south of the L.I.E.
Rock Hill Golf & Country Club - This course located in Manorville is at one of the highest points on Long Island, and unsurprisingly has few water hazards. It runs 18 holes, with a par of 71.
Middle Island Country Club - Renovated in 2008, M.I.C.C. offers 27 holes of golf on their Spruce, Dogwood, and Oak courses, including a signature island green on the No. 7 Spruce hole.
Holbrook Country Club - Narrow fairways characterize this course, which offers discounts to Brookhaven Town reisdents. The par 71 boasts its 17th hole, a par 3 with an elevated green, as its signature hole.
Mill Pond Golf Course - This Medford course is a par 70 and features a links-style layout. It opened in 1999, and is run by the same company that operates Rolling Oaks Golf Course.
Heatherwood Golf Course - This par 60, 18-hole course in Centereach offers experienced golfers a chance to polish their short game, and beginners a chance to get used to lengthier holes, with 12 par 3 holes and a handful of par 4's.
Hamlet Willow Creek Golf Course - Located on off Mt. Sinai-Coram Road in Mt. Sinai, Willow Creek opened up in 2005 and was designed by Stephen Kay, who mapped out Hauppauge's Wind Watch. It offers 18 holes and features heavy sand and water hazards throughout.
Spring Lake Golf Club - Spring Lake features 18-hole and a 9-hole tracks, and is located off Route 25 in Middle Island. The course, located on what was formerly farmland, is still family-owned and features large greens on many holes.
Bergen Point Golf Course - Another golf course that's part of the Suffolk County Parks System, Bergen Point is a seaside par 71 course in West Babylon where, unsurprisingly, water comes into play on well over half the holes.
Sumpwams Creek - This municipal course on Cedar Street in Babylon offers golfers a chance to leave their drivers at home and work on their short game for the day, with nine holes of par-3 golf.
West Sayville Golf Course - Another course in the County Parks System, this par 72 can play a bit longer than the scorecard indicates, with a headwind known to come off the Great South Bay.
Heartland Golf Park - Known as Long Island's only night - or day - golf course, this Edgewood course offers a fun experience for golfers and non-golfers alike, as a mini-golf course is even available for those who don't prefer the par-3, nine hole course.
Brentwood Country Club - Another municipal course, for Islip residents, Brentwood is one of the area's oldest courses, which is evident in its length. Three par 4's measure under 285 yards.
Dix Hills Park Golf Course - This Huntington municipal course plays well for those still getting a hold on the game or experienced players looking to get some work on their irons. This nin-hole, par 31 offers mostly par 3's, with a couple of short par 4's thrown in.
Dix Hills Country Club - Not to be confused with Dix Hills Park, this is another nine-hole course in the area on Half Hollow Hills Road, playing longer at a par of 35.
Timber Point Golf Course - Sweeping views characterize this 27-hole course in Great River, where the Connetquot River meets the Great South Bay, and Heckscher State Park borders the course to the west. Timber Point is one of four county-owned courses.
Crab Meadow Golf Course - Crab Meadow is Huntington's other municipal course, and located on the North Shore, offers scenic views on its 18 holes. Its par-5 eighth hole is considered the course's signature hole.
Smithtown Landing - A Smithtown municipal course, Smithtown Landing is closed to non-residents (unless they are accompanied by a Smithtown resident) during weekends. The course consists of 27 holes, including an 18-hole par 72 course with few water hazards and scenic views, and a par-27, nine-hole course.
Gull Haven Golf Course - Located in Central Islip, Gull Haven is a municipal, nine-hole, par-35 course featuring zero water hazards througout. Though a relatively short course, small greens provide a challenge to make up for the lack of distance.
Hamlet Wind Watch Golf Course - Owned by same company that runs Mt. Sinai's Willow Creek, Wind Watch also features a high number of hazard holes. A Hyatt Hotel is located on the course property, making an overnight stay for out-of-towners an enjoyable one - depending on how the round goes.
Northport Golf Course - Located on Northport's Veterans' Affairs grounds, this 9-hole course is a par 35, finishing with a ninth green tucked next to a pond and over a dozen gardens. Discounts are offered for veterans.
Stonebridge Golf Links - Stonebridge opened in 2001 and is located between Stump Pond and Route 347 in Smithtown. The 18-hole course also features a restaurant and catering hall on premise.
Sunken Meadow State Park Golf Course - This 27-hole hole course in Kings Park offers a few different varieties for golfers on the three different 9-hole tracks. The Blue Course offers five doglegs, the Green is the flattest and longest while the Red is the hilliest.
Cedar Beach Golf Course - This 18-hole pitch-and-putt on Ocean Parkway offers discounts for Babylon residents, with no hole greater than 100 yards; proximity to the waters might result in shifting winds.
Robert Moses State Park Golf Course - Another 18-hole pitch-and-putt, this one at the western end of the Robert Moses Parkway. This course offers scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean with - you guessed it - plenty of sand.
Bay Park Golf Course - This county-owned course offers nine holes of golf overlooking the Hewlett Bay. The par-30 has few trees to shield wind coming off the water.
Bethpage State Park Golf Course - Perhaps the country's best-known public golf course, Bethpage consists of five 18-hole courses, the most difficult and popular of which - Bethpage Black - hosted the PGA's U.S. Open in 2002 and 2009 and The Barclays Tournament last week. Four other full-length courses offer golfers of all stripes a chance to get out and take some swings.
Eisenhower Golf Course - Not far behind Bethpage in terms of appeal to golfers local, and not-so-local, is Eisenhower. This course in East Meadow run by Nassau consists of 54 holes, is run by Nassau County, and is best known for its Red Course, one which dates back to the 1920s and used to be a regular stop on the PGA's Champions Tour.
Cantiague Park - Another Nassau County course, Hicksville's Cantiague Park offers 9 holes of par-30 golf, with none of the holes measuring over 300 yards.
Lido Golf Club - This course in Long Beach designed by Robert Trent Jones - the same man who resedigned Montauk Downs in the late 1960s - offers 18 holes of waterside golf, meaning water, wind, and sand will likely play a role in the round. The par-5 16th serves as the course's signature hole, offering golfers a mental as well as physical challenge, with a split fairway that carries water not once, but twice.
Christopher Morley Park - This county-owned course in Roslyn plays similar to the other 9-hole county courses, with all holes below 300 yards and a par of 30 for the course.
Glen Cove Golf Club - Nassau's only public course looking out on the North Shore, Glen Cove is town-owned and though scoring at a par-67, this 18-hole course plays tight in several spots.
Harbor Links Golf Club - This 27-hole course opened in the late 1990s and, the land having formerly been used as a sand mine, does give off a southwestern feel at times. The course designed by Michael Hurdzan is now owned by the Town of North Hempstead.
Jones Beach State Park Pitch and Putt - Not too different than the ones at Robert Moses or Cedar Beach, leave pretty much everything except a couple of short irons, your putter and enjoy the scenery.
Merrick Road Park Golf Course - This waterside course by Merrick Bay runs 9 holes in length, and is located just east of the Meadowbrook State Parkway. The par-36 municipal course offers discounts for Hempstead residents.
North Woodmere Park - Another 9-hole, par-31 county-owned course, North Woodmere has the longest par 4's among the county-owned executive courses, and the park also includes a driving range (irons only).
Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course - Located at the corner of Jerhico Turnpike and S Woods Road, this town's course runs 18 holes. Water hazards are limited to less than a handful of holes at this par-70, and while on the shorter side, narrow fairways and well-maintained surroundings characterize this municipal course.
Peninsula Golf Course - Peninsula Golf Club offers the public a nine hole, par-37 golf course over a 57-acre expanse. It also offers three practice areas, a four-station driving net and a practice bunker.