With the Manhattan Skyline as a backdrop, Jack Nicklaus joined New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Donald J. Trump on October 16, 2013, to announce the completion of the last hole of the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park. The course sits on 192 acres at the foot of the Whitestone Bridge in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx. It is constructed on a former municipal landfill and reflects the City’s continuing commitment to remediate former brownfields and expand the public’s access to the waterfront.
This also marks the completion of a complex decommissioning project that has been on the docket for more than 60 years, and fulfillment of a request first made by the local community more than 30 years ago. Nicklaus was also joined at the event by Nicklaus Companies Co-Chairman Howard Milstein, who is Chairman and CEO of New York Private Bank & Trust; New York City Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Council Member James Vacca; State Senator Jeffrey Klein; Assembly Member Michael Benedetto; former Council Member Madeline Provenzano; and members of Bronx Community Board 10.
“We have great public courses around the five boroughs, but we’ve never had a pro tournament-quality public course—until now,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Ferry Point Park is just the latest example of our work to re-use and re-imagine brownfields around the city. It’s also the culmination of a process that’s been six decades in the making. The new course will bring revenue to the City—and also bring great new opportunities for recreation and relaxation, as well as a beautiful new green space, to the Bronx.”
The Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course was designed in consultation with Sanford Design, with construction managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation. The golf course will be operated by the Trump Organization, under a 20-year concession agreement, and is scheduled to open for youth programming in the summer of 2014 and fully open in the spring of 2015, allowing for time for the grass to grow in completely. When it opens, the 7,365-yard, links-style course will include a practice facility, as well as a rain shelter, comfort station and snack bar constructed by the Department of Design and Construction.
“I think Ferry Point will be a tremendous golf experience,” Nicklaus said. “I’ve been asked to create something that is world-class, a source of pride for New York City, and if they wanted to hold a national or international event, a course that will be a strong golf course from the back tees. Most important, the course needs to service the needs of those in the Metropolitan New York area who hopefully will play Ferry Point. Ferry Point was created to be a unique public golf experience and it is our collective hope that the golf course will add to New York City’s global reputation, enhance New York’s reputation for quality golf, and give the proud residents of New York City a place to play and call home.
“Donald Trump has a deep-rooted love for New York City and he deserves a great deal of credit for getting Ferry Point to the finish line and for delivering it to the golfers and golf fans of New York. If you are going to have a golf course that has the ability to host a high-profile national or international event, you have to have some spice in it,” Nicklaus added. “Our goal as a public golf course is to have it play well on a daily basis and serve the needs of those golfers who visit Ferry Point. But when asked to host an event, we believe we have the ability to move to the back tees, hide the pins, and create a test of golf, fitting of any tournament or championship.”
The course will be operated and maintained by the Trump Organization, selected though a 2010 request for proposals. As part of its agreement with the City, Trump will be spending a minimum of $10 million constructing a new publicly owned clubhouse for the course, in addition to the concession fees. Construction on the clubhouse is expected to start early next year.
Reflecting the City’s commitment to green infrastructure, the golf course was sustainably designed and responsibly constructed. The course’s contours were largely shaped with recycled schist rock, excavated as part of the 2nd Avenue Subway and East Side Access projects. The course uses a state-of-the-art irrigation system that also can be used to distribute fertilizer. Its drainage areas feed back into the course and its roughs are planted with native, drought-tolerant fescue grasses, reducing its overall water consumption to approximately one-quarter of that of an average course. With the site’s former use as a landfill, construction was completed under a permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and with the aid of an independent environmental consultant. A vent trench around the site’s perimeter was constructed to allow landfill gasses to harmlessly dissipate, with monitoring wells to allow regular readings of sub-surface conditions.
At 222 acres, the eastern portion of Ferry Point Park is one of the largest pieces of undeveloped parkland in New York City. As part of the development of the park, the City is also constructing two new parks: a 10-acre community playground and park, and a 19.5-acre waterfront park. The community playground and park, which opened in phases in 2011 and 2012, includes ball fields, basketball courts and playground equipment. Visitors to the site can walk along paths that circumnavigate the park’s ponds and through areas planted with wildflowers and native grasses. A new comfort station is currently being built. The building will house public restrooms and includes planted green walls that will provide shade and reduce heating and cooling needs. The 19.5-acre waterfront park project, which will include the creation of new tidal wetland to provide wildlife habitat and stormwater capture, is currently being designed.
The land on which Ferry Point Park was built was part of the Throgmorton Grant of 1642, and was farmed by a series of families through the next two centuries. In 1850 the land was purchased by shipping magnate Augustus diZerega and tobacco manufacturer Jacob Lorillard. It was acquired by the City in 1937. The property took its name from the ferries that traveled though the area during the early 20th century. In 1948, an additional 72 acres were acquired by condemnation. Over the next 18 years, the Department of Sanitation used Ferry Point Park as a municipal waste importation site. Fill operations ceased at Ferry Point East in the 1960s, and the site was covered and left to naturalize. The City’s long history of providing public golf courses began in July of 1895, with the opening of the country’s first municipal golf course in Van Cortlandt Park. Ferry Point is New York City’s 14th public golf course, but its first tournament-quality course.