The gift that keeps on giving: Smithtown Landing Country Club—A Muni Golf Course on the North Shore of Long Island
By Anthony Scorcia
As I ride along 25A, I take stock in the familiar storefronts that dot every corner of Long Island suburbia—Deli, Pizza, Deli, Pizza, gas station, and Carvel. When I reach King’s Park HS, I know I’m closer and anticipation builds. When I pass the 7-11, I’m no longer listening to whoever is talking in my ear piece. In a few minutes that won’t be a problem at all. A smooth rise in the road tells me I’ve reached the finish line—Rose Street. It’s the crossing of Rose St. where my 2000 Civic, with 230,000 miles of service on her wheels, transforms into the Titanic and I mentally position myself on the hood like it’s the bow and stretch my hands upwards in a V. I glance at my phone it says, “Call is lost.” My ship has officially disappeared into some sort of cellular fog. I’ve arrived, paradise at last—Smithtown Landing Country Club. I’ve experienced Smithtown Landing countless times and not just for the cellular blackout. It’s a wonderful place and today I will be playing with my friend, assistant pro Henry Kilroy.
I park my car and walk up the hill to the clubhouse. Before walking in, I put my bag down and take a long look down the first fairway. The early morning or late afternoon light make the tree-lined, uphill dogleg to the right look like an Ansel Adams picture. I call it “The Chute.” In the late fall, I’ve been in this same spot with the rest of the rank and file actually watching the frost thaw down the fairway. While waiting for course superintendent Chris Hesling to give the green light, I feel like a rooster waiting for the sun to come up.
Its funny how you can look at a hole or think of a golf course and your golf life flashes in front of your eyes—pars, bogeys, doubles, others, and countless up and downs from the trees and trouble. If I had a dollar for every ball that hit the tree at the dog leg on number one, I would play for free for a number of years. Then I think of number two—an uphill, 180-yard par three and the time I hit it to two feet and missed the putt. Or number three, a short par 4, where I yanked my hybrid right into the trees and short sided. I hit a ridiculous low running hook that barely made it through the rough, onto a green that was running away from me, and made birdie. I think of the shanked approach shot on five that almost killed Henry.
If I had this recall in school, I would have graduated pi alpha omega. I go through the whole front nine before someone reminds me that I’ve been blocking the door to the club house for who knows how long. When I walk in I hear the Seinfeld-Newman greeting from Henry—“Hello Anthony” and I think—Game On.
Sadly, this tradition is no longer a reality and my nightmare has come true. Smithtown Landing now has cellular service and my excuse for being cut off from the world has expired. To some degree, there is a level of relief. I have a wife and two kids now, so the thought of being out of touch in case of an emergency is a bit unsettling. But I remember the days with joy when I knew the bells and whistles on my phone were rendered helpless at Smithtown Landing.