I had heard good things about Salem Golf Club in North Salem, NY so when the opportunity presented itself to play I had to take it. A private club, and no connections, I was able to access this beautiful course through and MGA Play Day as the season expired.
One of the best things about being a golfer in the Northeast is playing in the Fall. I probably missed some of the outstanding views this course offers in October by a week but as you can see from picture above, it's a beautiful Fall golf course.
Carved out of the woods in Northern Westchester, North Salem Golf Club is a tale of two nines. The front nine is narrow and rewards accuracy over distance. It's more important to hit your spots than it is to get an extra 25 yards. This is target golf. Keep it in play, hit fairways and greens for the first seven holes, then it opens up for you.
The back nine allows golfers to swing more freely. A combination of tree-lined fairways and well placed water hazards and bunkers still create a challenge but I found it the "easier" of the two sides. Playing 6,760 from the tips and 6,484 from the white tees, the course is challenging. The 73.5/138 rating/slope (72.1/137 from the white) is a fair. You will be challenged here.
Salem Golf Club- The Course
I speak of the challenge above (possibly because of how poorly I played) but I think this course is a gem. It was in immaculate shape and offered a new challenge on each hole. Hit your spot and you're rewarded. Miss your spots and it's likely to cost you a stroke. There are some blind shots and if I didn't have a partner who had played here before, it may have been tough to navigate.
My 3 Favorite Holes
I could name several golf holes here that I enjoyed but as usual, I'll keep it three....
3. 13th Hole (407-Par 4): This makes the list because of the bunkers that guard the green. Almost identical to the 11th hole, this par 4 requires an accurate tee shot to a narrow fairway. The tree-lined left and the water hazard on the right offer very little room for error. If you manage to find the fairway you're left with an approach to an elevated green. Leaving your approach short and you'll find the three staircase like bunkers. If you do hit into the green, it's best to be below the hole.
2. 5th Hole (375-Par 4): It's not flashy but it's well designed and may offer the smallest green on the golf course. Left is better than right off this tee box. Anything right and you will need to re-tee, go left and you still have a shot at the green. If you find the fairway, you're hitting into a small green tucked in the corner and surrounded by hazards. Short is better than long on your approach and a par will leave you feeling good.
1. 11th hole (341-Par 4): No need to hit driver here even though I did. This narrow hole has trees on the left, trees on the right, and a water hazard that can come into play when hitting an iron. A well placed tee shot will leave you a short approach into an elevated green. A good chance to make birdie on the back side with two good shots. Enjoy the view from the tee box if you're playing in the fall.
I would add Salem Golf Club to my places to play if you're in the tri-state area. It offers a new challenge on each hole and some great views during the fall. It's in great shape and gives you a good feel for what playing golf in Westchester is really like.