Flushing Valley Golf Course Review
Flushing Valley Golf Course
Teachers’ Comments: A classic design marred by poor conditions
Flushing Valley Golf Course was originally designed in 1930 by Wilfred Reid, the Scottish pro who also designed — among other courses — Olympic Club’s Lakeside course, and the Old Course at Indianwood. Formerly a private club, Flushing Valley now is open for play to the public.
Routed between the Flint River and a steep bluff, Flushing Valley is tight, with narrow tree-lined fairways. It is a course that requires precision off the tee and precision in shots into the small greens.
The twelfth at Flushing Valley crosses the Flint River. Thirteen and fourteen play on the far side before crossing back over with the fifteenth. Other than the crossings, the Flint River does not come into play, and rarely comes into view.
As befits its age, Flushing Valley is not a long course. From the back tees, Flushing Valley stretches to 6, 347 yards and plays to a 71.5/130. The middle tees are at 6, 040 yards and play to a 70.3/127.
My favorite hole was the par four fifteenth. Measuring 352 yards, it begins on the far side of the Flint River from a slightly elevated tee. The target fairway — across the river — is a dogleg left that rises from the riverbank to an elevated green.
This hole perfectly encapsulates what makes Flushing Valley so tough. The fifteenth is not long, but offers a lot to think about: a close treeline; a dogleg; bunkers on the outside of the dogleg and; a fairway that both slopes right to left and rises to the green.
If you can draw your tee shot through the goalposts and roll out to the middle, you’ve got a shot at reaching the green of this short par 4 in regulation. Good luck with that.
The first hole is the only one that takes advantage of the height that boxes the course between bluff and river. The tee box is positioned on the side of the bluff, giving a nice elevated tee shot to start.
The eighteenth at Flushing Valley is a bit unusual. The approach shot has to carry over the main entrance road to the club. A road hole, indeed.
Flushing Valley has an interesting history. It began as a private course in 1930 with a design by Wilfred Reed, but only nine holes were built. The original club lasted only a year before it defaulted on the mortgage and reverted to the original owners (it was the depression, after all). From 1930 through 1944, it was run as a public course by landowner Walter Heenan.
Beginning in 1944, the club lay dormant for fourteen years after being purchased by a group from Flushing. It reopened in 1958 as the Flushing Valley Golf and Country Club. The remaining nine built in 1973.
I have not seen Reid’s original plans, but I would not be surprised to learn that holes twelve through fifteen were not in the original plans. They just don’t have the same feel as the other holes.
Conditions on the day I played were not very good. Portions of some fairways were waterlogged and other parts were simply rotting away. In places, the trees needed trimming and undergrowth controlled.
I think that, with some work, Flushing Valley could be an outstanding course with its (mostly) classic architecture. As it was on the day I played, however, it needed a lot of work.
The Flushing Valley Golf Course Review was first published March 19, 2020 from notes and photos taken on a round played July 23, 2019.
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A photo tour of Flushing Valley Golf Club follows: