More than a hundred of the metropolitan area's top amateur and professional golfers competed Monday in the Inaugural Brooklyn Open Championship at the Marine Park Golf Course. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
They woke up early, as golfers often do, and spent some time warming up in the crisp morning air. Ahead of them: Four hours on over 7,000 yards of greenery and the chance to win the first ever Brooklyn Open.
"Golf is fantastic because any day you can have anybody win," said Golf Pro Evan Silkworth.
The event sold out beyond its original capacity of 112 players, including 28 pros from the five boroughs and beyond.
"Players get to come out as individuals and challenge themselves against the best in the area," said one golfer.
The conditions of the course can be tricky. For one thing, there's the wind off Jamaica Bay.
"Wind changes the personality of the course from day to day hour to hour," said Course Operator Mike Giordano.
But the real challenge tends to be underfoot.
"The greens are very fast," said Course Superintendent Don Asinski.
"The speediest greens in New York City without a doubt," said one golfer.
The grounds weren't always so well maintained. In fact, local golfers say not long ago, the pristine setting was a run down mess.
But millions of dollars in renovations over the past few years, and the public course is now being heralded as not only the city's longest but perhaps its best.
"The place was just a cabbage patch. And now it's a golf course that anyone can be proud of," said Bob Cooney, an amateur golfer.
"The new administration has really turned it around and turned it into what you see here which is unbelievable for golfers," said Course Head pro Hunter Watkins.
"This is going to be the jewel of Brooklyn. Definitely," said another golfer.
First prize in the first Brooklyn Cup is over $6,000. And given the high demand, organizers say next year they could see as many as 180 entries.