BEST OF THE REST
Several holes at the Stonebridge Golf Links & Country Club ($35$60; 631-724-7500) in Hauppauge may strike golfers as oddly familiar, especially those players with "links" to the famed courses of Scotland. The re-creation of the old Hauppauge Country Club, Stonebridge features a "Road Hole" fifth, a "Principals Nose" sixth and an "Eden" seventeenth. Island's End Golf & Country Club ($28$47; 631-477-0777) in Greenport is, as its name suggests, a far cry from the courses of Nassau County. But the course itself comes recommended, and early risers may take advantage of a morning eighteen before an afternoon's bacchanal through North Fork wine country.
LONG ISLAND DINING
Carl Sagan's mantra, "billions and billions," only slightly overstates the plethora of good choices available on Long Island and especially in New York City. Here are a handful of Long Island standouts not far from Bethpage and many of the hotels and courses in this guide, as well as three Manhattan classics of special interest to golfers.
(French) 290 Glen Cove Road, East Hills; 516-621-6630. $$$$
French for "The Spot," this Long Island bastion of elegance lives up to its moniker. Chef and owner Avelino De Sousa serves up the souls of both France and Northern Italy with equal results in a romantic, luxurious setting.
MILL RIVER INN
(American) 160 Mill River Road, Oyster Bay; 516-922-7768. $$$$
Owner Ken Stephens's lovely French-country dining room features a working fireplace and bursts of fresh flowers. Chef Nick Molfetta's preparations are equally beautiful and utterly delicious. Two brilliant appetizers are the light, crisp, cornmeal fried oysters on a bed of mango salsa and the salmon mousse surrounded by a moat of crème fraîche.
(French) 404 North Country Road, St. James; 631-584-5999. $$$$
A visit to Long Island is not complete without a meal at Mirabelle. Regarded by many as the best French restaurant east of the city, Mirabelle's chef and owner, Guy Reuge, offers an ambitious revolving menu. The experience itself is cultivated by the restaurant's quaint farmhouse setting.
(French-Asian) 70 Glen Head Road, Glen Head; 516-671-2498. $$$$
Chef Michael Maroni hangs his ducks for two to three days, partially cooks them, hangs them two to three more days, air dries them for another three, then roasts them four to five hours. The result is his signature dish, crispy duck in Grand Marnier. If it sounds cloying, fine: You'll be even more delighted when you take your first bite.
(New American) 872 East Jericho Turnpike/Route 25, Huntington Station; 631-351-1727. $$$$
Both the atmosphere and presentation are pillars of fine taste, but it's chef Matthew Hisiger's creative cooking that shines through, prompting one regular to deem the menu "out of this world."
(Steak) 255 Northern Boulevard, Great Neck; 516-487-8800. $$$$
For lovers of steak, chops, roast and anything else formally sporting four legs, Peter Luger is the ultimate. The perennial pick for most popular restaurant on L.I. by the prestigious Zagat guide, Luger's, in the words of one critic, is "by far the best steakhouse this side of heaven."
(Spanish) 23 East 22nd Street, Manhattan; 212-228-2200. $$$$
In 1993—two years into the success of their nearby Mesa Grill—Food TV celebrity and seven-handicapper Bobby Flay (Bo) and partner Laurence Kretchmer (Lo) opened this Spanish restaurant in New York's Flatiron district with a goal, says Kretchmer, of doing "for Spanish cuisine what Mesa Grill did for Southwestern." The resulting experience is a memorable one.
(American) 42 East 20th Street, Manhattan; 212-477-0777. $$$$
Owner Danny Meyer's Flatiron restaurant is a favorite among New Yorkers and features star chef (and golf nut) Tom Colicchio, who recently helped to open a restaurant overlooking Tom Watson's Cassique course at Kiawah Island Club. If you can't get a reservation in the dining room, try the front "tavern" room for braised short ribs or a grilled-lamb sandwich.
(French) 405 East 52nd Street, Manhattan; 212-755-6244. $$$$
If you show up at Le Perigord and identify yourself as a golfer to the man who greets you (owner Georges Briguet), he will cap your meal with a complimentary calvados soufflé in the shape of—VoilÀ!—a golf ball. Why?Briguet loves golf. His chef, Jacques Qualin, previously held a kitchen post at the Michelin three-star Taillevent in Paris. "Our food is modern French," Briguet says. "No fusion, no mishmash, no tutti-frutti."