Among the eastern bluffs overlooking the Hudson River, just north of Tarry Town, New York, near the Tappan Zee, where the river widens to a breadth of 3 miles lies Sleepy Hollow. In his classic tale of ambition and fright, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," author Washington Irving described the place as "a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquility. If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley."
A lot has changed in the 200 years since Irving wrote that, but some things stay the same. While the village of Sleepy Hollow has developed and become more densely populated, it still maintains a charm and a peace about it that some might not expect so close to the bustle of New York City. It remains a place of retreat and an idyllic setting. It occurred to me that those of us who share a passion for golf often look to the game for the sort of withdrawal about which Irving wrote -- to escape for a time from the world and its distractions. And as such, Sleepy Hollow offers the perfect setting for one of the game's most wonderful golf courses.
I was delighted to receive an invitation not long ago to visit Sleepy Hollow Country Club (which is technically located in Briarcliff Manor, New York, but let's not get hung up on the details when the story of Sleepy Hollow remains so rich). As I made my way toward the club along Broadway, driving through the village of Sleepy Hollow in late September, I was excited to see the degree to which the locals embrace the Legend. And given the ghostly nature of the tale, it's fitting that I should share this particular blog post as we near Halloween, one of my favorite times of year.
As you head north through Sleepy Hollow, you can't miss the Headless Horseman statue that depicts the famous chase from Irving's "Legend." Rising above the grounds of a small park in the median between Philipsburg Manor and the Old Dutch Church is a wonderful sculpture created by local artist Linda Perlmutter in which a terrified Ichabod Crane is chased to his doom by the Headless Horseman, poised to hurl a carved jack-o-lantern. Across the street, outside the small store you can see in the background of this picture, I noticed vendors selling tables full of Sleepy Hollow and Headless Horseman merchandise to enthralled tourists. And throughout the village I saw similar scenes of "Legend" and town merchandise for sale, along with pumpkins and Halloween decorations as the spooky season was officially underway.
The statue stands just feet away from the Headless Horseman Bridge, the site about which Irving wrote, where the fateful chase of the Horseman and the schoolteacher came to its thrilling conclusion. And as I continued north toward the country club, I passed Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where not only is Irving buried, but so are many other historical figures, including industrialists Andrew Carnegie and William Rockefeller.
Even the club has fully embraced the great tale.
Its logo, featuring the Headless Horseman, is one of the best in the game of golf. It's not only an homage to Irving's classic, but some might contend that it's also an omen of the terror that awaits for players who fail to find the fairways or master the greens on this great golf course!
As I drove onto the grounds -- which include 27 holes of golf, tennis, swimming, horseback riding and more for the members of the club and their guests to enjoy -- I was taken by the majesty of the clubhouse, sitting high on the hill above the town and the Hudson Valley below. It was easy to imagine what an incredible venue this must be for weddings and the like. But I was there to play the club's Upper Course, ranked No. 62 in the country by Golf Digest and No. 36 in the nation by Golf Magazine.
The club and course have a rich history. Once known as Woodlea, in the 1800s it was the country estate of Colonel Elliot Shepard, a Union Army recruiter during the American Civil War, who became a prominent banker and lawyer and founded the New York State Bar Association. In 1910, the estate was sold and ultimately passed into control of the organizers of The Sleepy Hollow Country Club, a veritable who's-who of New York's social elite. The men hired famed golf course architect C.B. Macdonald to design their golf course, and Macdonald enlisted engineer Seth Raynor to help him build a masterwork. The course opened in 1913.
A decade later, A.W. Tillinghast made his mark at Sleepy Hollow, expanding the club to 27 holes. And nearly a century later, in 2008, Gil Hanse and George Bahto led an effort to restore the course in line with the original vision of its early architects.
The Upper Course plays to par of 71 and a total length of 6,902 yards from the tips. The day we played, facing remarkably stiff winds blowing down the valley hard enough to create white caps on the Hudson, we played from the course's white tees at 6,340 yards, and it was plenty of challenge from that distance. As such, for the purposes of this blog post, all yardages mentioned for the remainder of the post will be from the white tee markers.
Hole No. 1 - Par 4 - 406 Yards - "Leven"
Never hurts to open a round on a great course with a par, but that's not why I really like the first hole at Sleepy Hollow. Rather, I love the framing of the first hole, playing from an elevated tee through a chute in the trees toward a fairway that bends gently from left to right. Aim at the fairway bunker on the left, about 255 yards away, and play a little fade back to the center. Should be simple enough. But even for players who miss the fairway, this hole isn't set up to be terribly penal. So long as your tee shot makes it through the gap between the trees, the hole is wide open to the left, and to the right you may even find the 18th fairway. In either case, there isn't a lot of trouble between your ball and the green. We played this hole into a stiff wind, which made it play longer than the yardage on the card, but still it remained a relatively inviting opening hole.
The approach on No. 1 sets up well for a low, running shot with ample room to roll a ball up the fairway and onto this deep green. Bunkers guard the putting surface right, left and long, but it's a deep green without a tremendous amount of undulation. My approach, which settled in the rough just left of the green and short of the bunker, made for an easy up-and-down. It did occur to me, though, that if they ever let the rough really grow, this entire course could go from challenging to torturous in a hurry.
Hole No. 2 - Par 4 - 321 Yards - "Climbing"
No. 2 is a short par-4 that plays uphill all the way from tee to green. It's important to find the generous fairway on this hole and to avoid the bunkers that pinch in from the sides -- one at about 200 yards on the right side of the fairway and a larger one that plays almost like a cross bunker coming in from the left at about 235 yards off the tee. From the sand on either side, it can be very difficult to land and hold a ball on the putting surface.
The elevation change makes it difficult to see, but the second green is protected by a large reverse-L-shaped bunker on the right that must sit 10 feet or more below the surface of the green and another deep bunker to the left. The green slopes significantly from back to front, which means high-spinning wedge shots into this hole are as likely to zip back off the green as they are to get close, and those that come back can wind up rolling 20 yards or more back down the fairway. This may be a short four, but it was not made to be easy.
This look at one of our playing partners making his way up the second hole offers both a beautiful view of the Hudson -- the first glimpse players get of the river from the course -- and a sense of the slope of this hole from tee to green. Take a little extra club, make a shorter swing, and try to take a little spin off the ball to reach and hold this green.
Hole No. 3 - Par 3 - 153 Yards - "Eden"
If the 16th hole weren't so iconic, the third might be considered the best par-3 on the golf course. Played across a valley to a green that hangs on a rocky outcropping, the third may only be a mid-iron -- or even a short-iron -- shot for most players, but it's a short hole that will challenge your nerve and test your mettle. It's also the first opportunity players have to cross Sleepy Hollow's unique "Haunted Bridges," built of timber and rough-cut tree branches in a style that feels like it might have been lifted straight out of the period in which Irving's "Legend" was set.
The kidney-shaped green wraps around a deep pot bunker front-right; has two smaller bunkers left and another one long from which it can be hard to hold the green, playing downhill to a surface that slopes away from you; and features a long bunker right of the hole on the hillside that sits well below the level of the putting surface, collecting balls that might otherwise have bounded down the hill and into the trees. None of the bunkers presents an easy up-and-down to this multi-tiered green. Outside of about three feet, I'm not sure there's an easy -- or even a straight -- putt on this hole. Par on this par-3 is an exceptional score.
Hole No. 4 - Par 4 - 404 Yards - "Headless Horseman"
The 4th hole is a straightaway par-4 played to a generous landing area. A fairway bunker on the right sits about 245 yards off the tee, but there is plenty of room to play to the left and still find the fairway, which slopes from right to left. One note of caution for those who miss the fairway altogether: the bunkering that protects the green can be treacherous; it is not the worst idea to plan to layup should you find yourself in the rough with a less-than-ideal lie to setup your approach.
A series of six bunkers defends the approach and green complex on No. 4. Two cross bunkers some 20 or so yards front and left of the green will collect balls that come up short and can make for a very difficult up-and-down. Meanwhile, two large greenside bunkers -- one right and one left -- aren't incredibly difficult to escape from, but stopping your ball close to the pin on this huge green as it slopes from back to front, can be near-impossible. I found myself in the left greenside bunker, played a decent splash onto the green and still somehow wound up walking away with a double bogey. In hindsight, I think the play might have been to lay up from the fairway short of the cross bunkers and play a low-trajectory, low-risk pitch into the green from 40 or so yards out. Guess we'll have to give that a go next time!
Hole No. 5 - Par 4 - 388 Yards - "Panorama"
Hole No. 5 plays uphill and back in the direction of the Hudson, which on this particular day meant back into the teeth of the wind. There's no particular trouble off the tee, as the fairway bunker on the right side of this hole, sits more than 275 yards from the tee. Balls that crest the top of the hill could potentially run out as far as the bunker on a day when the wind is with the player, but that wasn't the case this day. What's more, the irregular shape of the fairway on this hole, bending from left to right but opening up wide to the left from about 225 yards to 260 yards off the tee, where the fairway is shared with the adjacent 6th hole.
The approach on the 5th hole plays uphill again to a plateaued green beyond which the course drops sharply away toward the river. Four deep bunkers protect the green with one short-right and three to the left. Recovering from any of them to steal a par would be a feat. The banked areas around the green will reject most balls that don't find the putting surface through the air, but the green itself is relatively receptive even to longer iron shots, sloping from back to front.
The view from No. 5 green is one of the best on the front-nine, but be aware that the wind blowing in from the Hudson will affect these putts more than you might expect.
Hole No. 6 - Par 5 - 458 Yards - "Lookout"
After playing into the wind on No. 5, turning around with the wind at our backs on the 6th hole was a welcome change. This short par-5 plays uphill, and players have options from the tee. First is to lay up off the tee with a shot of maybe 185 or 200 yards, at most, to the fairway short of the hill. From there, it's definitely a three-shot hole, but that may be the safest route. Bigger hitters -- or gamblers -- need about 220 yards of carry to reach the upper fairway but run a chance of blasting a well-struck drive through the hole and into a difficult lie on the other side. On a day with the wind at your back, it's also an option to bomb one over the trees and cut the dogleg, setting up a very manageable second shot of 200 yards or less. I lucked out; I intended to stay left of the trees and aim for the upper fairway, but I wound up hitting a big fade that I thought for sure would be lost to the forest. Somehow -- the wind, I guess -- my ball made it over the trees and found the rough along the right side of the fairway just about 200 yards from the green. Not all of the players in our group were so lucky; for a short par-5, this hole has bite.
With three deep bunkers guarding almost the entire front of the green, playing a long-iron into No. 6 is no easy task. The green will hold a well-played shot, but it features a false front that will reject any ball that doesn't make its way to about the center of the putting surface. It also slopes steeply from back to front, and even a player who finds his way home in two is not guaranteed anything better than a par as they attempt to negotiate the undulations of the putting surface.
Hole No. 7 - Par 3 - 193 Yards - "Redan"
Interestingly, while the 7th hole is named Redan, the hole itself is actually a reverse Redan, as the green moves from left to right away from the tee. Traditionally, a Redan hole moves from right to left. It's a noteworthy take on the template given that the men most responsible for the design of Sleepy Hollow -- C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor -- are frequently cited as the Golden Age architects who employed the template design most among their contemporaries. With deep bunkers front-right and over the shoulder of the green to capture balls both short and long, the hole is well defended. Players will find that a mid- to long-iron played to the left side of the green will funnel balls toward the back half of the green, consistent with the traditional characteristics of Redan holes. But play your tee shot too far left, and you'll be left with a tricky pitch over a hump on the left side of the green, and it prove very difficult to stop your ball as the green slopes away. It's a really terrific hole both in terms of the challenges and opportunities presented by the design but also for the aesthetic as players stand on the tee box and survey the course around and beyond the 7th hole. (For more information about the design, history and architectural significance of Redan template holes, check out this article from The Fried Egg.)
Hole No. 8 - Par 4 - 439 Yards - "Road"
No. 8 is a long, tough par-4. Off the tee, it's important to keep the drive from straying right, as high fescue and tall trees may make it impossible for players to reach the green in two from that side of the hole. There is more room left, but getting home in two from the rough will require a lot of luck at this length. Ideally, the player's drive will cover the distance to carry the top of the hill on the right side of the fairway, catching the downslope that will fire the ball down the fairway to a mid-iron approach. The left side of the fairway is also safe, but balls on that side won't run out nearly as much and will leave the player with a long, difficult second shot.
There is plenty of room to play your approach low and running up the right side of the fairway to the right half of the green, but a false front may make it difficult to hold the putting surface. Still, balls left short of the green are better than a shot played into the deep bunkers short-left and long. The most important aspect of scoring on this hole is keeping your approach on the same side of the green as the flag. It's not a particularly difficult hole to putt, but if you're on the wrong side of the green, getting it close with your first putt may be a real challenge.
Hole No. 9 - Par 4 - 369 Yards - "Knoll"
No. 9 may be my favorite hole among nine great holes on the front at Sleepy Hollow. The hole bends gently from left to right with fairway bunkers that make for a visually intimidating tee shot. The bunker on the left sits about 200 yards off the tee, while the bunker to the right is about 250 yards out. Players will want to favor the left side of the fairway for the least amount of trouble off the tee and also to set up the best-possible angle of attack for the approach shot.
Unlike many of the earlier holes on the course, it is not an option to play a low, running shot into the green on No. 9. The green is fronted by a stretch of rough that separates it from the fairway. And a runway of closely mown grass extends beyond the green to the back, which will send balls flown long bounding down and away from this elevated green, making distance control very important. Also complicating the approach are bunkers left and right of the green that sit well below the putting surface. Ideally, the approach is played with a high-lofted club into the backstop toward the rear of the green, with enough spin to bring your ball back to the center to set up a potential birdie bid.
Hole No. 10 - Par 3 - 156 Yards - "Lake"
If the front nine was terrific, the course only gets better as it transitions to the back nine, beginning with the only hole on the course that features a major water hazard. This mid-length par-3 requires a tee shot that is all carry across the lake from any of its five tee boxes and its drop area just short of the Haunted Bridge. This view is from the left-most tee box, which wasn't in use the day we played the course, but it's worth a look to see just how daunting an opening shot from this angle might be -- water short and right, a narrow green, and a steep hillside left and long from which recovery would be very difficult. Playing downhill, this hole might not require more than a 6-iron for most players even from the back tees, but it's by no means an easy hole.
We played this day from the back-right tee box, and I appreciated the opportunity to look at the field of stones behind the tee here. As I noted in my write-up about Hudson National some months ago, the rock formations in this part of the Hudson Valley are really incredible.
From the tee boxes on the right, the green doesn't seem so narrow, but the hole is no less difficult with the putting surface tucked between the water and the hillside beyond. From this angle, you also can note the spine that runs from back to front, making it very important to land your tee shot on the same side of the green as the flag. I can tell you from experience that putting up and over that spine and getting your ball close to the cup is very, very difficult. And as I witnessed first-hand, playing a ball from the bunker left of the green or the hillside above it takes nerves of steel as you look back at all that water.
We found this guy sunning himself on the bank just short of the rock wall that separates the green complex from the lake, and I think we all came to the quick conclusion that the Headless Horseman isn't the only thing to fear in Sleepy Hollow! (Full disclosure, this is actually a harmless northeastern water snake, but if you had a fear of snakes and saw this big fella, you might be halfway through the village on a horse of your own before you even considered whether or not he was venomous!) There is wildlife aplenty in the area. In fact, our host -- a wonderful retired teacher and school administrator named Phil -- shared with us his recent sighting of a bob cat that came out of the woods to chase a turkey near the 12th hole.
Hole No. 11 - Par 4 - 366 Yards - "Ichabod's Elbow"
Just a few paces away from the 10th green, the 11th tee sits just above the water and at the base of a rocky hillside and dense trees that form the eastern boundary of the club's property. Named "Ichabod's Elbow," the 11th hole is a slight dogleg right, and at just 366 yards, it doesn't require a huge drive. In fact, anything longer than a drive of about 215 yards risks running through the fairway unless you play farther to the right and cut the corner. Balls played short and to the left side of this fairway will feed to the right in the direction of the green. It really may not be a bad play to simply hit a shot of 185 or 200 yards to ensure you play your mid- or short-iron approach from the fairway.
From the fairway, the approach plays to an elevated green with four deep bunkers -- two right and two left -- waiting to snag the slightest mishit. Similar to the second hole, this green slopes from front to back, and high spinners run the risk of seeing what looks like a great approach come racing back, off the green and down the fairway. Once again, a bit of shot creativity may help a skilled player to hit a lower-trajectory, lower-spin shot into this green in order to hold the putting surface and set up a possible birdie.
Hole No. 12 - Par 5 - 513 Yards - "Double Plateau"
The 12th hole at Sleepy Hollow is another really interesting take on a C.B. Macdonald template hole. As this write up of double plateau template holes from The Fried Egg details, the design was most often used to make long, straight par-4s even more challenging. No. 12 at Sleepy Hollow is a mid-length par-5 that turns from right to left. It also departs from the traditional double plateau template in that there is no principal's nose bunker but rather a meandering stream that crosses the hole, snaking its way in from about 75 yards out on the left and exiting the hole to the right about 40 yards short of the green complex. Still, the most important aspect of the template hole remains -- the three-tiered green.
The hole features a generous landing area off the tee, and players who find the left side will have the best opportunity should they choose to go for this green in two, provided their drive is long enough to open up a view beyond the trees and rock formations that make up the inside corner of the dogleg. Those who choose to layup will have to contend with the stream, deciding whether to play short of it or across it.
The green itself is elevated and features a steep drop-off in front and to the left. A 15-yard-long bunker guards the right side and isn't visible from the low areas of the fairway on the approach. Playing from it can be especially delicate as the green slopes significantly from right to left and back to front. The day we played, the hole was cut on the front-left tier, and I was very pleased to hit my approach to just a few feet. I imagine that to be the easiest of the pin positions, as holes cut on the back or front-right tiers would require players to contend more directly with the steepest slopes on the putting surface. (Full disclosure: while I did hit my approach to just a few feet, it did not set up a birdie putt. I'd hit a terrible drive off the tee into the fescue left of the hole, chunked my next shot out and laid up to about 180 yards. With the wind howling directly into our faces, I hit maybe my favorite shot of the day -- a beautiful 5-iron that stayed low, bore threw the wind, just crested the front of the green and disappeared. It wasn't until we arrived at the green that we discovered my ball just a few feet away. And I missed the putt for my par. Such is golf.)
Hole No. 13 - Par 4 - 384 Yards - "Sleepy Hollow"
No. 13 is a straight, uphill, mid-length par-4 with dense trees right and high fescue down the left side, making accuracy at least as important as length on this hole. The tee shot plays out and over a rise at about 165 yards, which isn't really in play for most folks. But what the hill does do is obscure the series of fairway bunkers on the left side, beginning at about 250 yards. The fairway is rather generous until your drive reaches 275 yards or so, but players -- especially longer hitters -- need to be aware of those bunkers before they just swing away. It's far too easy to aim down the left side in order to avoid the wooded area right of the hole and find yourself sitting in a very difficult lie in the sand if you aren't aware those bunkers are there.
The approach on 13 plays uphill to a green fronted by a very deep bunker on the right from which it's impossible to see the putting surface and a small pot bunker front-left that may be even more treacherous because it's small size can so easily limit your ability to make a full swing. The green slopes severely from back to front and features a false front. It also gives way to steep drops off the back and right of the green beyond the bunker. While the rest of us were knocking our knees trying to figure out how to get our putts into the cup in two, our playing partner Jerry -- a terrific golfer from the Philadelphia area -- miraculously holed an impossible shot from the right bunker, well below the green. And he didn't just hole it, he flew the ball blindly from the bunker and directly into the cup. Now that's how you make a birdie in style!
Hole No. 14 - Par 4 - 380 Yards - "Spines"
The 14th hole is really interesting for the way its fairway bunkers define the landing area and, as the name of the hole suggests, the spines that define the contours of the green. Off the tee, it's only about 180 yards to carry the right fairway bunker, but big hitters beware as another bunker awaits about 250 yards down the left side and encroaches more than halfway across the fairway. Players may want to hit something other than a driver off the tee here -- something in the range of 200 to 235 yards would be perfect -- to find the fairway that lies between the two bunkers. Beyond about 245 yards, you either need to be able to carry it 260 or stay to the right-third of the fairway to avoid the sand.
But finding the fairway is only half the challenge on this hole. Next, you've got to find a way to land your approach shot on the same section of the green as the pin. The green on No. 14 features two spines that create three distinct channels or valleys from front to back on this green. With the pin on the far left, as it was the day we played, a ball on the far right of the green would have to go up and over two peaks in order to get anywhere near the hole. Fortunately, most players will approach this green with a short-iron or wedge in their hands, which ought to make it easier to get the ball nearer the hole, but any lack of accuracy on the approach to this hole can take birdie and even par straight off the table for an average golfer. Adding a big more difficulty, left and long of the green are a series of bunkers that are in play on both this hole and the 4th.
Hole No. 15 - Par 4 - 437 Yards - "Punchbowl"
Another Macdonald/Raynor classic template hole, No. 15 plays off the tee to a fairway angled slightly from left to right. It's important to favor the left side of the fairway with the drive in order to avoid the fairway bunker on the left. It's about 225 yards to carry the bunker on the fly. Meanwhile, a ball down the left side of the fairway has the opportunity to catch the slope and run well past the bunker, setting up a mid- to long-iron shot into this long par-4.
From the landing area, the fairway moves slightly uphill to a ridge maybe 40 yards in front of the green, which sits well below and out of sight. Punchbowl greens such as those found at 15 already introduce a lot of chance into an approach shot, as well struck balls in the direction of the pin may funnel away from the cup and toward the middle of the green. And the 15th at Sleepy Hollow introduces the added challenge of a blind shot. Count on a line from your caddie here or aim at the tall Sleepy Hollow flag in the distance beyond the green to know just where to play the ball. Then, trust your swing, and hope for a good result.
The green at 15 slopes more from left to right than some other punchbowl designs that I've played. Still, the important features are there as the banks around the green all work to move the ball toward the middle of the putting surface. That can make for some very interesting putts and no easy par.
Hole No. 16 - Par 3 - 145 Yards - "Short"
The 16th is Sleepy Hollow's signature hole and one of the coolest par-3 holes I've played. Teeing off in the direction of the Hudson, the wind blew hard into our faces, affecting club selection. On a calm day, this may not be more than a 9-iron for a lot of players. But on this day, we found ourselves trying to figure out whether it was a two- or three-club wind. The green, which is squarish in shape, is virtually surrounded by a shallow necklace of sand. The center of the green is depressed almost like a giant thumbprint that will help to collect well-struck shots, but balls played long of the thumbprint run the risk of bouncing through the green and either into the bunker behind or down the hill beyond, from which a recovery for par becomes very difficult.
I wrote earlier about Sleepy Hollow's "Haunted Bridges," and there is none more iconic than the bridge that spans Tower Hill Road on the way from tee to green. The short video above offers a sense of what it's like to make the walk across one of Sleepy Hollow's "Haunted Bridges."
As it turned out, the 8-iron I played into 16 was nearly perfect, cutting through the wind with just a touch of a draw and finishing just five or six feet left of the pin. I was taken by the beauty of the view of the Hudson as I considered my birdie putt ... and the fact that my put slid by the hole without dropping may haunt me forever the way the Headless Horseman haunted ichabod Crane!
Hole No. 17 - Par 4 - 433 Yards - "Hudson"
No. 17 is a long, straight par-4 that plays shorter than its yardage due to the significant downhill elevation change. Drives that find the fairway will bound forward, down the hill and toward the green, setting up a short- to mid-iron approach. But fairway bunkers left and right make accuracy off the tee more important than length. It's easy to be taken in by the view of the Hudson River, but losing focus on this tee could be a terrible mistake.
A lone tree just left of the fairway about 65 yards from the green threatens to block out players who wind up in the rough on that side of the hole, especially when the flag is on the left side of the green. The two-tiered green is protected by five bunkers. There is room to play a low shot along the ground through the fairway and onto the putting surface to avoid the danger of the sand, and that may be the ideal way to set up a putt from the center of the green.
Hole No. 18 - Par 4 - 395 Yards - "Woodlea"
The 18th at Sleepy Hollow is a fantastic finishing hole -- reminiscent (to me, at least) of the famous 18th on the Lake Course at Olympic Golf Club. The hole plays uphill toward the club's magnificent clubhouse and is framed by a high, wooded hillside to the left, and a single large tree on the right that hangs over the fairway. The hole demands an accurate tee shot to a fairway that feeds the ball from left to right. There is a fairway bunker to the left, but that really shouldn't be in play except to penalize the worst of the worst mishits.
Though the green is deep, it is no easy feat to land your approach on the putting surface. The first 10 yards or so of the green make up a false front that will send balls back down the fairway and potentially into the large, deep bunker front and right. The hillside left of the green will direct balls hard to the right as the green slopes significantly from left to right. Another bunker guards the back-right of the green, ready to catch balls that don't hold the putting surface. Making the challenge slightly more difficult are the members who tend to gather on the veranda beyond the green to cheer on (or heckle) their friends as they make their way home on the final hole of the day.
Huge thanks to our host, Phil, for having us out on this spectacular day. I really can't say enough good things about the club and the course or Phil as a host. It was a real treat to be able to invite along a couple of friends -- Jerry and Dustin -- to share in the experience. Sleepy Hollow is one of those courses you play, and immediately after you finish you start to think about how much you'd like to play it again. It may have kicked our butts a bit on this blustery day, but truly, what a wonderful time!
I couldn't leave town without a selfie with the Headless Horseman statue. Whether I ever get to play the golf course again or not, the village of Sleepy Hollow is absolutely a place to which I hope to return.