Rumors of a closure have plagued Tallgrass Golf Course in Shoreham, N.Y. since last fall.
Turns out, the news that the course will become a solar farm was a bit premature. Tallgrass Head Professional Larry Menne says it could be fall before the course knows its future. For now, it's business as usual. The message is this: Play it while you can.
"It could be another year. It could happen this fall. It might not happen. It is totally up in the air," Menne says of the course's future. "All I can do is sit here and put the key in the door every day and hope it works."
Newsday has reported that the buyer, Chicago-based Invernegy, plans to install 125,000 solar panels on the course's 127 acres. The $89-million project has received local permitting, but not state approval.
Tallgrass, which opened in 2000, is arguably the top public golf course on Long Island outside of the famed Bethpage Black and possibly Montauk Downs . It's an early Gil Hanse design with links-like characteristics. I gave it four stars on Golf Advisor after an enjoyable round in 2014. Hanse's creativity shows on the unique sixth hole, which can play as a 166-yard par 3 or a 295-yard, drivable par 4 depending on where the tee makers are placed.
Menne says the course is in as good a shape as he's seen in his four years, although Golf Advisor reviews this spring have been mixed.
The rumors of the sale continues to hurt business. Tallgrass G.C. lost some major outings. It also canceled yearly memberships, offering month-to-month options instead. Tallgrass has increased local advertising to keep golfers better informed that it is open for the season.
It's rare that such a highly regarded state-ranked course by a hot architect closes, but it's certainly not the first time. Golf Advisor wrote last year about our favorite courses that closed during the recent recession.
Menne says many avid golfers are "horrified" that the green grass could eventually give way to thousands of unsightly solar panels.
"Anybody who plays here loves it," Menne said. "It probably has some of the best greens on Long Island, obviously of the public courses and a lot of the private clubs, too. It is a links course. There is nothing like it. It was designed by Hanse. Need I say more? The neighbors in the neighborhood don't want it to leave.