Hurricane Sandy Update: Lido Golf Club

One of the water holes at Lido Golf Club, during an event I played in back in September. There are more water holes now.

Back in September, I played in a literary golf outing, called the Grudge Cup, at Lido Golf Club, in Lido Beach, New York. That’s one of the competitors in the photo above, teeing off on (I think) the fifth hole, a par 3. A little over a month later, Hurricane Sandy hit Lido hard. Here’s a post-storm aerial photo, which Golf World ran a couple of weeks ago to illustrate a story by Bill Fields:

Postdiluvian Lido Golf Club. The green of the hole in the photo at the top of this post is at the upper left. (Photo from Golf World.)

The golf course was inundated—and, it goes without saying, the neighbors got it worse. The Google Earth screenshot below, which predates the storm, shows just how vulnerable those neighbors were. (The body of water at the bottom of the image is the Atlantic Ocean.)

The golf course is near the center of this Google Earth screenshot. The course and the adjacent neighborhoods were flooded from both sides.

Lido Golf Club is still closed, and the front page of its website has a button you can click to make a donation to the Red Cross.

Lido Golf Club in better times.

Critical Golf Accessory: Pocket Handkerchief

There are several New Yorker writers and at least one award-winning novelist in this group. Lido Golf Club, Lido Beach, New York, September 21, 2012.

On Friday, at Lido Golf Club, three members of my foursome had an odd thing in common: we were carrying little packs of Kleenex, in response to a tenacious cold that’s been burning its way through the Northeast. Kleenex isn’t an ideal golf accessory, because it goes airborne in a breeze and doesn’t hold up to rain or even dew. On Saturday, back at home, I remembered to carry a handkerchief. As a result, I never did what I have often done when my nose was running on a golf course: find the least disgusting square inch of my golf towel and blow my nose into it.

Handkerchiefs have fallen out of use in the general population, but they’re good for golfers, especially in high winds, or during cold or allergy season. I paid fourteen dollars for a thirteen-pack of Van Heusen cotton handkerchiefs—just right for a week-long golf trip to Scotland or Ireland. If I had any sense, I’d keep at least one clean handkerchief in my golf bag all the time.

Incidentally, Kleenex facial tissues were introduced in 1924 as a “sanitary cold cream remover,” but sales remained modest until six years later, when Kimberly-Clark re-positioned them as disposable handkerchiefs. Times change.  In 2003, one of my nieces, who was eleven, saw her grandfather using a handkerchief and asked, with astonishment, “Is that a cloth Kleenex?” I had handkerchiefs when I was a kid—some with monograms—but I would bet that neither of my children, who are in their twenties, has ever used one.

Daniel Wexler, in his terrific book The Missing Links, devotes a chapter to the original Lido, which was designed by Charles Blair Macdonald and Seth Raynor. Bernard Darwin called it “the finest course in the world,” and Claude Harmon called it “the greatest golf course ever.” Part of the current course—which was designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1965—occupies part of the original property, but suburban tract houses cover much of the old layout, and Jones’s course is nothing special. Anyone interested in golf history should own a copy of The Missing Links—and not only because Wexler was a college roommate of my brother’s.

The modern Lido, with smoke stacks and a landfill on the far shore. JFK International Airport is about nine miles to the left.