The Crab Meadow Golf Course is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month.
The town-owned golf course in Northport hosts between 42,000 and 45,000 rounds annually, according to Don McKay, director of parks and recreation for Huntington Town.
“The playing conditions here are outstanding,” McKay said in a phone interview. “There is a very dedicated staff and I think one of the best features of this course is that you have a view of the Long Island Sound from 16 of the 18 holes on the golf course. The views are stupendous.”
McKay has been researching the history of the golf course since its beginnings in the 1920s.
Originally, Crab Meadow Golf Course was part of the Northport Country Club, which was established in the 1920s. McKay believes that world-renowned golf architect Devereux Emmet designed the original course in 1921, and that the membership then was approximately 125 people. The Northport Country Club was abandoned in the 1940s, according to McKay, and he speculates it had to do with the Great Depression.
Then in the 1960s, with Huntington Town Supervisor Robert J. Flynn, the Crab Meadow Golf Course began to develop.
“I say it all the time, if it weren’t for Flynn, we would never have the golf course today, along with many other municipal parks in Huntington,” McKay said. “His vision for Huntington was extraordinary.”
McKay said that in 1961, a $2.5 million bond was put up to vote to Huntington residents to fund a townwide park program. Included in that plan was use of the Crab Meadow property to create a new golf course. The referendum failed, but Flynn did not give up. He got more groups to back his plan, including the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, and was able to get the bond approved the following year in 1962.
Robert J. Flynn Jr. said his father’s greatest pride was knowing how many people enjoyed the town parks and Crab Meadow Golf Course.
“He believed in the importance of recreation,” Flynn said. “His vision was to establish a municipal park program that would last for decades to come.”
According to McKay, once the town made the purchase of the land, the municipality began to restore the course and alter the layout a bit.
William F. Mitchell designed the current course, which officially opened in 1965. It’s an 18-hole course that is 6,574 yards by 5,658 yards and open to the public. There are social clubs at the course, including clubs for men, women and seniors, that anyone is welcome to join. “The club members are the MVPs of the course,” McKay said. There is also a restaurant, concession stand, locker rooms and a pro golf store.
Maureen Lieb worked at the golf course at its inception in the 1960s. She started working for the town in 1964, immediately after she graduated from Suffolk County Community College.
“When the golf course was opening, they asked if I would want to work there,” Lieb said in a phone interview. “It was between being a meter maid or working on the golf course. There wasn’t any question.” She started as a cashier and eventually became the manager.
Lieb said she worked out of a trailer when she first started working for the golf course, because it took another year after the course was opened for the club to be built.
“I always loved my job,” Lieb said. “I was very lucky. I enjoyed the residents the most that came to golf. They were so nice and I’ve actually kept in touch with some I met when I first started working there.” She retired in December 1993.
The Huntington Town Board authorized a special one-day reduced tournament green fee of $25 at the course on Oct. 21, as part of the 50th anniversary celebration. The day will also feature reduced fees for golf carts, driving range and food.