The early roots of Laurel Links Country Club were just that, 225 acres of rich farmland nestled between the Main Road and Peconic Bay in Laurel, NY a small hamlet on the beautiful North Fork of eastern Long Island. The transformation began in early 2001, when the land was purchased and golf course architect Kelly Blake Moran commenced excavating, shaping and planting what would become the magnificent layout now in existence. Kelly’s land-based design vision of incorporating the natural features of the area- sandy out-of-play areas, native shrubbery, etc. with strategic play in a traditional manner combined to evolve into a beautiful and challenging course that supplements nature in an unobtrusive manner. To quote Kelly:
“Working the routing to the site’s natural features puts much more emphasis on the strategic design, making the course more challenging, interesting, and pleasurable for a wide range of golfing abilities.Ideally, as a player improves their physical and mental playing abilities, they find new ways to play each hole, and discover new challenges and pleasures in the course. In this way, a course that captures the organic spirit from deep inside the land will never become outdated or boring. The course will remain intriguing, mysterious, and enjoyable as the player graduates to the next higher level and becomes more familiar with the natural and manmade features that make the strategy of each hole.”
Laurel Links opened for play in the fall of 2002 and the course layout and conditions received rave reviews from members and guests that continue to be voiced today. Members found the various risk-reward strategies of Kelly’s design enhanced their playing experience and the natural breezes off the nearby waters added to the challenge as well.
As the membership and golfing activity grew, attention shifted to completion of the other facilities and member amenities. By the 2005 season, the clubhouse, golf course halfway house, pool and pool house and tennis courts were available for member use and added to the Laurel experience, a private country club providing not only a top-notch golf course, but premier dining and other superior recreational enjoyment as well. Recently completed capital improvements include total renovations of men's and ladies locker rooms and a superb short game practice area. Member demographics reflect primarily a family constituency with avid golf interest and a seasonal non-primary residence on the east end, most of whom have other private club experience.
Along the way, Metropolitan Golf Association golf course ratings placed Laurel Links on a level with some of its prestigious neighbors- Shinnecock Hills, National Golf Links, Maidstone as well as other great Long Island clubs. The club was asked to host noteworthy golf tournaments such as the Long Island Regional U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament (2007 and 2009), the Met Section PGA Head Professional Championship (2007) and the Long Island Golf Association Stroke Play Championship (2008). In August 2010, we were honored to host a Sectional Qualifier for the 2010 U.S. Amateur Championship.
Flash forward to today and Laurel Links has evolved into an established private club known for its challenging golf course kept in superb condition, other member amenities maintained at the same high level and a staff that consistently meets and exceed member expectations with superior service!
William “Bill” Shuford, Golf Course Superintendent, came on board early in the construction process and worked closely with Kelly during the construction and grow-in period prior to the opening of the course. Head Golf Professional Steve Haggerty also joined the staff prior to the opening, bringing additional valuable premier private club experience and forming, along with Bill Shuford, General Manager Joseph Pfaff, Executive Chef Jon Lopresti, Controller Ellen Creighton and Tennis Professional Joe Slovak, a core senior management team that is still in place today. These managers, as well as the rest of the LLCC staff team, focus intently on providing a truly satisfying private membership experience.