South Shore Country Club

South Shore Golf Course

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

The entrance to the South Shore Golf Course is nestled among pine trees, flowers, hedges and ivy in the Staten Island neighborhood of Rossville. Rossville, once known as Blazing Star after the name of its local tavern, was renamed in 1836 in honor of Colonel William E. Ross, a wealthy local landowner.

The golf course borders land that once made up the town of Harrisville, later called Little Africa. Settled in the 1830s as a major destination for former slaves on the Underground Railroad, it was the first free black community in the nation. The area later became known as Sandy Ground for the poor quality of the soil; however, early settlers enjoyed the business opportunities provided by the rich oysterbeds of Raritan Bay. The neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Founded privately in 1930 as the Mayflower Country Club, South Shore Golf Course property was acquired by the City in stages. The first parcel was acquired in 1966, with funds from New York State Park and Recreation Land Acquisition Bond Act of 1960. The second was obtained in connection with the acquisition for the West Shore Expressway in 1967, and parcel three was purchased in 1982. Until 1984, Parks managed the course and the adjoining restaurant. At that time, the American Golf Corporation, a national corporation that operates over 300 recreational facilities, took over the management of the course, the ‘grill room’ snack bar, and the pro shop. In 1989, the restaurant came into the hands of Laurence Toto, who restored the existing 19th century Dutch Colonial revival building.

In 1994, American Golf Corporation allotted $100,000 to rebuild greens on holes 5, 12, 13 and 14. The signature hole is the ninth, a long par-five with a water hazard, a pond and fountain. A new sewer line was installed in 2000, sponsored jointly by the American Golf Corporation and the Country Club organization. That same year, Mayor Giuliani provided funding for a state-of-the-art irrigation system for the maintenance of the course.

Today, the restaurant, with its ballroom and dining, plays host to many charity events and community meetings. The newly improved golf course, located between the West Shore Expressway and Alverson Avenue, off Huguenot Avenue, continues to draw both visitors and lovers of the game. A natural stream flows through the surrounding park woodland, which is home to rabbits, red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), great horned owls (Bubo virginianus), and many others. These are joined every spring and fall by the clamor of migrating songbirds such as warblers and tanagers. The mixture of private and public management, wild and cultivated land, creates an integrated parkland capable of pleasing visitors of varied tastes and interests.

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