Nicklaus project in NYC underway


Sean Dudley

Construction on Ferry Point, the long-awaited golf course on a former landfill on the edge of the East River in the Bronx, is well underway.

The routing for the course is complete and construction is transforming the 185 acres of treeless land into a golf course. The project is being designed by golf architect John Sanford in collaboration with Nicklaus Design.

Ferry Point marks the second time Sanford has teamed up with Nicklaus and his company. Sanford is the design associate on a Nicklaus Design course for a golf-hotel development, the Palm Hills Golf Resort opening this year in Cairo, Egypt.

"The site is most special," Sanford said. "It is a former landfill in a spectacular location. It borders the East river on the south side, it is at the base of the Whitestone Bridge on the Bronx side, and most of the holes have spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline."

"Unlike a park, a golf course will create revenue for the city and we are transforming a degraded piece of land into a beautiful landscape," he added.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nicklaus said the site is ideally suited for a challenging course that will be open and playable for the public but capable of staging tournaments.

He said rather than plant 10,000 trees that would take decades to mature, a more open feel would lend itself to what he referred to as a "now course."

"Now courses are ones that look like they have been there forever," Nicklaus said. He said the design would create a course difficult enough to challenge professional play but one that everyday players can enjoy and keep coming back.

Sanford said building the course on a former municipal solid waste dump has design advantages.

"The City has been bringing fill material to this site for the past ten years so we have plenty of material to create landforms emulating an Irish links course,” he said. “I think that will separate this golf course from others. Shaping the landforms to the strategy that Jack is supplying us with will create risk-reward possibilities to make it special."