Our Town: Fresh Meadow the epitome of country-club life

Our Town: Fresh Meadow the epitome of country-club  life
The rolling hills of Fresh Meadow Country Club

Fresh Meadow Country Club, founded in 1923, is located along Lakeville Road in Lake Success and is one of those classic old-school courses that have history, class, exclusivity and beauty.

It was designed by the famed British golf course architect Charles Alison who also designed Century Country Club, Milwaukee Country Club, the last three holes at Pine Valley and Hirono which is widely considered to be the best course in Japan.

The Charles Alison bunkers have that restrained and clean cut look of the bunkers at Augusta and Royal Melbourne and that’s because Alison learned his craft from Alister Mackenzie who was his mentor.
Fresh Meadow Country Club has long had a history of attracting world-class players.

Gene Sarazen was a club pro there and so was Al Ciuci. They now have Matt Dobyns who is considered to be one of the best club pros in the nation and Johnny Doppelt is a long time member at Fresh Meadow who is a nationally ranked amateur and a guy who’s won their club championship many times.
I was delighted to learn that the Met Golf Writers Association planned an outing of the year at Fresh Meadow so I decided to indulge myself and go enjoy some golf with them. I always look forward to seeing Chuck Stogel and his band of merry pranksters from the world of print journalism, television and radio.
True, traveling up Lakeville Road at 9 a.m. on a weekday is no picnic but when you turn into the club all that pain is fast forgotten. You wind your way up a hill along a tree-lined road and you look out over the front nine holes with all those huge oak trees and emerald green fairways and you know you have arrived in the land of plenty.
The clubhouse is a sprawling Colonial-style stucco building which affords views of the entire golf course. As you head to the men’s locker room you notice pictures of Babe Ruth and Ben Hogan hitting shots at Fresh Meadow.
One of my goals for the day was to chat with their head pro Matt Dobyns. He is two-time PGA Professional National Champion and has qualified for the PGA Championship five times.

This is no small task for a club pro who spends most of his time running events at his club, teaching and making sure his pro shop is presentable. Matt is not in the least bit physically imposing. He is not remarkably tall or lean or fit and even admits that he’s not a gym rat.
I asked him what he thought was the secret to his accomplishments and he said two things.

The first was that he had very good balance and the second was that he knew how to manage his expectations while playing. One of his closest friends on tour is the South African Brandon Grace who I have always felt has the best swing and the finest balance on tour.
He then mentioned that his dad was a child psychiatrist and my guess is that’s where he learned about realistic expectations and character.
After our morning chat, I got to play golf on this gem of a course along with an attorney, a TV guy and a Daily News editor. The news editor and I commiserated on the fall of print journalism and the rise of the electronic media. I also got to express my disgust for Brett Kavanaugh et al as I spoke to the attorney.
The glory of golf is that it affords you the time to be in a spectacular setting among the huge oak trees, the manicured grass, the babbling brooks and the rolling hills all of which are doing a very fine job of shielding you from the stress of life as we know it.
Then you get to go inside a wonderful clubhouse and take a long shower in a stall made of fine marble, dry off with the largest and softest towels imaginable and feel renewed once again.

Indeed I am a man who has been spoiled his whole life thanks to parents who were kind and good and generous to me. And that is why I feel so comfortable in a place like Fresh Meadow.
The world of golf has been wringing its hands and gnashing its teeth about things like “falling membership” and how the millennials don’t have the time or patience to play golf and how country club life may be in danger.

I find all that laughable. Fresh Meadow Country Club is a perfect example of why country club life will always grow. This club and others like it will continue to thrive no matter what the state of the economy is in because everyone on earth loves beauty and elegance and safety and shelter and fine food and wonderful service and a place to relax and a place that welcomes you and makes you feel that you are at home.

Country club life is a place where successful adults go to relax and luxuriate and play golf and swim and where their children learn about breeding and manners and etiquette. All that and more is what Fresh Meadow offers its lucky members.

As Jackie Gleason once said “how sweet it is!”

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