Had done most of the packing
last night but awoke early, finished packing, got dressed, had breakfast (Fiber
One, of course) and left for Oak Hill about 6:15am.Tee time was for 7:00am but we were able to
go out early (about 6:55).Had same caddy
as yesterday…Jack A., who is entering his senior year at Ohio State, majoring
in Finance.Jack is a wonderful guy…and a very good
caddy.Enjoyed being with him yesterday
and was the same today.
Today we are playing the West
Course at Oak Hill.Oak Hill is one of a
group of clubs built before the Depression with 36 holes consisting of a big
championship course and a shorter “more fun” track…examples follow (Club name/
State/Champ Cs/Fun Cs):
Not surprisingly, the Board of
Governors of the above clubs (for sure 100% male prior to say 1970) were not
noted for their creativity in terms of naming courses.
In some cases, the course that
ended up being the Championship track was not considered to be the great course
when the courses were originally designed.For example, legend has it that when Winged Foot hosted the US Open for
the first time in 1929, the event was scheduled to be played on the East.However, heavy rains the prior week caused
flooding on the East, but the West, built on higher land, was relatively dry…so
at the last minute, the USGA decided to switch the event to the West.After a very special win in a 36-hole playoff
by Bobby Jones, Jr., it was the West that continued as the host venue for the
big ones (East hosted the inaugural US Senior Open and two US Women’s Opens).
Some familiar with Oak Hill’s
history say that Ross considered the West to be OHCC’s tougher track, but when
it came time for the 1949 US Am and 1956 US Open…the East got the call.
Today, members generally prefer
to play the West…unless the have guests who usually want to play the US Open
track (yup…male egos)…and the same is true at many of the 36 holes clubs listed
above.I remember playing Winged Foot in
the 1970’s with my friend Bob, and if I asked if we could try the East…Bob
would respond that “the East is for wives and kids.”Bob is no more sexist than I…but some would
assert that that is not saying much.In
any case, before I get myself in deeper trouble, today, members at WF reputably
prefer East by a margin of at least 2:1. Now let me turn to the West at OHCC.
Oak Hill CC-West, June 8,
2017:The West plays to 6723 yards,
par 71.So 411 yards shorter (with one
stroke more for par) than East.Having
been tinkered with less than East, it is more of a pure Ross track today than
East.It has never been on a World or
USA Top 100, but Darius Oliver’s Planet
Golf Top 100 included Oak Hill West on its list of courses that either were
previously on his World Top 100, or were close to making the Planet Golf World Top 100.It has never hosted a major event.
Best holes on West are:
#3 a 420
yard par 4 turning right with a large bunker protecting the right front of the
#6a 543 yard straight par 5 with two large
mounds traversing the fairway, and a sharply uphill approach shot to an
elevated and small undulating green;
short (365 yard) straight par 4, uphill off the tee, then steeply downhill
starting about 215 yards from the back tee leaving a slightly uphill approach
to a difficult green to read and putt (sloping back to front); and
holes built on undulating land that offer many options for playing strategy.
If I was a member here, almost
of all my rounds would be on West…it is far more fun.Of the 36 hole clubs listed above, while I
have played all of the Championship courses, of the “fun” courses, I have only
played WF-East, Baltusrol-Upper, OH-West, and Firestone-North.Of these four, my order of preference would
be as shown in the prior sentence.
It was about 52° when we teed
off but quickly warmed up on a beautiful day.I played OK shooting a 42-40 = 82.We completed the round at 9:11 and by 9:25 after thanking Jack (and
exchanging contact info) and the pro shop staff, I was off in the car for a
drive of about 4 hours 30 minutes.
Silo Ridge Field Club, June
8, 2017:I was heading for Silo
Ridge Field Club in Amenia, NY, located in the Hudson Valley about halfway between
NYC and Albany NY (on the eastern side of the Hudson River, about 4 miles west
of the NY-CT state line).This is a
beautiful part of NY State.There has
been a golf course here for a couple of decades and Discovery Land purchased
the site and brought in Tom Fazio to completely rebuild the course, which
re-opened October 2016.
Discovery Land has developed 20
clubs to date (16 in the USA, two in Cabo, Mexico, one in the Bahamas, and one
in the Dominican Republic).Of these 20,
including Silo Ridge, I have played five (Gozzer Ranch—ID, Silo Ridge—NY,
Mountain Top—NC, Estancia—AZ, and Playa Grande—Dominican Republic).
After a drive of about 290
miles, I arrived at about 1:55pm, quickly changed into golf shoes, and went out
to play accompanied by the head pro Brian Crowell (whose voice sound just like
Jim Nance’s).I needed to play quickly
as I wanted to leave by 4:30, so that I could get back to home by around 7:30pm
(I still had a drive of 185 miles to get home).
This is a spectacular site, and
a beautiful golf course.Plays 7107
yards from the back, par 71.It is in
wonderful condition and the back nine has a good number of wonderful holes,
especially #10, #12, #14, #15,#17 and
#18.The land on the back nine is
especially dramatic…although the distances between greens and following tees
were longer than I like.The front nine
was somewhat more pedestrian with holes 2-8 running either NàS
or SàN.Silo Ridge is too new to have been on any Top
The ambiance at Discovery Land
clubs is frankly not to my liking.The sites
are beautiful, and the service first class, but I find them over-the-top.That reflects my personal preferences, but in
evaluating clubs and courses, almost everything is a matter of personal likes,
dislikes and tastes.Many obviously like
Discovery Land Clubs, as well as Tom Fazio courses, but I am not to be found on
that list.Spectacularly beautiful, yes…but
mentally challenging (offering various angles and options, testing your plan on
each hole, etc.), no.
Please see the attached two
pics…one is the home that Tom Brady is building on the left side of #10, and
the other is the very dramatic #17, a downhill 231 yard par 3 over a deep
Tom Brady's house on Silo Ridge #10
Silo Ridge #17...231 yd par 3...rather dramatic
I was able to leave at about
4:40pm…would have liked to spend more time, but I needed and wanted to get
home.This was a short, tiring trip, and
I still had a good drive ahead.Pulled
into the driveway at 7:45pm…was so so wonderful to see Pat!!She da best!
So there it was…a total of 80
hours…filled with six golf courses (five new and one…Oak Hill East…a repeat),
and 1195 miles of driving.Lucked out in
terms of weather for sure.Best course
IMO…probably Monroe or The Park.Most
interesting and different…CC of Buffalo for sure.Most disappointing given its reputation…but
at the same time the one with the highest potential, Oak Hill East.Four by Donald Ross, one by Tom Fazio, and
one by Colt & Alison.
Pat and I had a wonderful
dinner.Had to get some sleep…our very
good friend from Pinehurst, Richard Brown, was coming into Boston tonight on a
late flight (landing around 10:30) and taking a taxi to our condo.Richard is flying to Ireland Friday night at
5:50pm…and he and I are playing Old Sandwich GC in Plymouth, MA Friday at
8:30am.Who put my schedule together?That guy has to be nuts!!
Old Sandwich, June 9, 2017
Before too long it was 5:30am
and time to get up.Richard’s flight was
on time but he hit construction during cab ride here, so he looked to be almost
as much of a mess as I did (that statement may make me liable for a deformation
suit).We had breakfast, said goodbye to
Pat, and drove about 45 miles south to Plymouth, MA…yes someplace near The
We were playing with Gray G.,
the son of Kevan G. (who belongs to Old Sandwich and lives further south on
Cape Cod). Gray is a recent graduate of Villanova working for a mutual fund in
Boston.Pat and I know Kevan from ISAGS
trips…having played with him at places such as Cape Wickham on King Island,
Tasmania, Australia in February 2016.Kevan was in Maine for a college reunion and Gray was a most worthy
substitute…and is a wonderful, bright young man.
We arrived at just before
8:00am.This is at least my 6th
round at Old Sandwich, which was completed in 2005 and designed by Coore and
Crenshaw.Our friend who works for C-C,
James Duncan, worked on OS when it was being designed and built, and playing OS
with James a few years ago was a wonderful experience.
In its short lifetime, OS has been
well recognized on USA and World Top 100 lists.In World lists, Darius Oliver has it as #49 on Planet Golf andTop100golfcourses.com
has it currently at #80.In terms of
highest ratings, GM had it at #67 in 2013, Planet
Golf at #41 in 2009, and Top100golf courses.com at #68 in 2014.In USA lists, it’s highest current rating is
#40, and its highest ever rating was #28 (top100golfcourses.com in 2006).My sense is that #40 is about right.
My game stunk up the place…I was
(to say the very least) a bit tired from the Upstate NY trip.I fired a smooth 46-42 = 88.Disappointing is not strong enough, as I
think OS is a superb course.Off the top
of my head, I think only Sandhills, Shanqin Bay, and Friar’s Head are clearly
better Coore Crenshaw original tracks (excludes renovations).
Favorite holes are #7 and #14.Number 7 is 391 yard par 4 turning to left
and downhill to island green (surrounded by sand), and #14 is just to the east
of #7 and heading south (7 heads north) and is uphill doglegging right to an
infinity green well protected in front by deep bunkers and the rise before the
green (see pic).
Old Sandwich approach to 14th green
Other superb holes
include 3-6, 9, 11, 13, and 15-18.The 13th
is a 560 yard par 5 with one of the most natural green settings I have ever
seen (see pic).
Old Sandwich setting for 13th green
Given the rains that had
inundated eastern MA since late May (about 3.25” in the two weeks prior to our
round), it was not surprising that OS was a little softer than normal…but I am
sure it was back to its firm fast self in a matter of days.
After the round, we had lunch
took showers, then I drove Richard to Logan airport for his flight top
Dublin.Traffic was horrendous and when
I finally got home, I was ready to rest…
In any case, I as of June 18, I
stood at 936 courses lifetime, and for 2017 year to date 91 rounds on 57
courses (of which 42 were new and 15 courses I had played before 2017).My primary buckets lists stood at:
to reach 1000 lifetime;
to complete the USA Top 100 EVER
(all PGA sites) to complete Professional Grand Slam EVER
6 to complete Cups EVER (Ryder, Presidents,
Walker, Solheim, Curtis)
4 to complete US Amateur EVER
8 to complete US Senior Open EVER
5 states (AK, IA, ND, SD, UT) to have played
in all 50 states
Eliminating duplicates (for
example, Portland GC in OR has hosted a Ryder Cup, PGA Championship, and US
Amateur) 41 courses in total to complete the above bucket lists (except for
Next trip…June 21-27 to the
“hinterlands”…visiting IA, KS, ND, NE, and SD.If the trip comes off as planned, I will knock off:
of 17 USA Top 100 Ever
of 5Cups EVER
of 4US Amateur EVER
of 8US Senior Open EVER
of 5missing states to have played in
all 50 states
of 41 to complete all of above.
Oh, and it will get me to having
been in 49 of the 50 states (currently missing AK, ND, and SD).
And to answer your question, I played Erin Hills in July 2013, and really loved it.
Prouts Neck CC, June 2, 2017:Having played 44 or the 50 States, I always
have an eye out of an opportunity to knock off one or more of my remaining six
(Alaska, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Maine).I had tentatively planned to make a run up to
Maine on Friday 6/2 and then the day before played at Brookline with my regular
group of “grumpy old men” (a group where I feel right at home).One of the guys mentioned that he was a
member of Prouts Neck…which is 40 miles further north than the course I had
picked to play but for sure would be worth the extra mileage.
I left home around 6:00 Friday
morning for the 115 mile drive.Founded
in 1907 and designed by Wayne Stiles, PNCC is located on a small peninsula on
Maine’s Atlantic coast. PNCC is on the
west side of the peninsula (the “inside”) sitting alongside Saco Bay and the Nonesuch
River (perfect name for a river in Maine!), about 10 miles south of Portland.
Two of Stiles’ better tracks that
I have had the opportunity to play are Gulph Mills (PA) and Taconic GC
(MA).The Wayne Stiles Society website
lists over 75 still existing Stiles designed tracks of which about 60 are
located in New England.
I arrived at the club just after
8:00am but finding it proved to be my toughest task of the day.The entrance driveway is a single lane dirt
path leading about 50’ to a small clearing in the woods.This is a true “waspy” enclave and its
members see no need to spend big $$ to build large structures.They are here for Maine as it used to be (to
paraphrase the Bandon Dunes motto).They
are also here because of the peaceful nature of this beautiful site (more
There are 14 tennis courts
sitting off of the 18th fairway, and the course stretches to a short
6055 yards (par 70).The terrain is relatively
flat (and as a result is a very pleasant walk) but the fairways are nicely
rumpled and offer very few flat lies.The greens are reputed to be beautifully crafted with subtle breaks, but
unfortunately had been deep punched four days earlier and were covered with
sand (standard practice) making subtle breaks impossible to notice.Fully five holes run alongside the Bay or River,
and the water is visible from almost every part of the course…making for a
glorious site.The club removed about a
thousand (or thousands of??) trees recently and was nicely open.It does not get much play given its small
membership roll, and this early in the season with recently punched greens it
was especially empty.There were five
players on the course ahead of me and I don’t think anyone played after I teed
This is more than a beautiful site…it
is a fun course.It has never been on a
Top 100 list and the chance of it even desiring to be on a Top 100 list is
equal to the chance the sun will rise in the west tomorrow.It is an escape for its members and they just
want to enjoy it.It offers challenges
on a number of holes, but they are not there to “beat-up” the members or their
guests.Interestingly, Ran Morrissett
(of golfclubatlas.com and an extremely astute observer of golf courses) played
it with hickories about 5 days before I did (just before the greens were
punched) and simply loved it.If you get
the opportunity, play it…but do not expect to be previewing a future US Open
site…all you will get is a fun round of golf, in a beautifully peaceful setting…and
in many ways, it doesn’t get any better than that!
After the round, I drove back
down to Milton…pleased that I drove the extra miles to Prouts Neck….and of
course pleased to get to 45 states!Oh,
and I shot a 41-36 = 77.Holes #11 and #12
were closed due to standing water from heavy rains earlier in the week, so I
played two balls and registered two scores on #15 and #18.
Upstate New York, June 5-8, 2017
Looking at my remaining bucket
lists, it was clear that one “pocket” of courses that I needed to play was
located in the upstate NY cities of Buffalo and Rochester (which areabout 75 miles apart).Donald Ross designed a good number of courses
in this area.Both are directly west of
Boston…Rochester about 385 miles and Buffalo about 460.Looking at the schedule I decided to drive
instead of flying and that made for a hectic 4 days.
Additionally, the weather
forecast was quite dire even up to the point when I left (around noon Monday
6/5).While I thought there was a good
chance that the trip could be a wipe out due to weather, I also knew that if
things did clear up, I could not make the drive, etc. at the last minute.
Finally, due to a heavy schedule
of club events at most of the clubs I wanted to visit, the driving schedule was
going to be more extensive than ideal…but as the saying goes “beggars cannot be
Boston was heavily overcast as I
left just before noon 6/5, but the drive went well with only two difficult
pockets where I drove through heavy rains.I arrived at my hotel around 5:45pm.One good thing about my itinerary is that I would spend three straight
nights in the same hotel…and the Woodcliff Hotel in Fairport, NY was excellent
and relatively inexpensive.
My original plan was to play
five courses…Monroe GC and Oak Hill CC (both East and West courses) near
Rochester, and The Park CC and CC of Buffalo near Buffalo.Just before leaving a received a call from
the pro at Silo Ridge Field Club in the Hudson Valley between New York City and
Albany, NY.I had originally
contemplated a trip to New York these 3-4 days and had called, and he was
returning my call.I realized I could
fit in another round at Silo Ridge on my drive home 6/8, so we arranged a round
for about 2pm that day.
Monroe Golf Club, June 6,
2017:Monroe GC was designed by
Donald Ross and opened for play in 1924.In 2007, Gil Hanse developed a long term renovation plan for the course
which was implemented over the next few years.Today, Monroe plays to 6898 yards (par 70) from the tips.It has never made one of the true USA Top 100
lists, but since the completion of its renovation and for the last 7 years, it
has hovered between #80 and #100 on Golf Week’s Top 100 Classic Courses
Since 1937, Monroe GC has hosted
the Monroe Invitational Championship, one of the oldest and most respected
amateur events in the country.When I
contacted Monroe’s head pro, Jim Mvra regarding the chances of playing Monroe
during this time frame, he advised that this was the week of the MIC, but I
could play in a members only shotgun event the morning of 6/6.I was amazed that he would afford me this
opportunity and jumped at the chance.
The morning of 6/6 the forecast
called for rain starting around 11am…but the forecast certainly looked better
than it did the evening before.I arrived
at Monroe about an hour prior to the 8:45 shotgun start and Jim came out to
greet me and show me around.I was
astounded…here he was running an event this week for 108 of the best young
amateurs in the USA and Canada and he was giving me interesting stories about
the history of Monroe.Simply a
wonderful guy (and as I later learned, 2011 PGA Golf Professional of the Year).
Monroe is built on magnificent
land…just enough land movement as well as “rumpled” fairways…signs of the work
of glaciers during the last ice age (before global warming commenced some
10,000 years ago..,Al Gore was there) and perfect for a golf course.Fairways here are wide (as designed by
Ross…there are certain advantages to having never hosted a major championship)
offering a large range of options and angles (both good and bad) from which to
play each shot (and these options are highly dependent on pin positions).Most (but not all) of the greens slope
sharply from back to front (typical of Ross greens).Best holes include:
o#5, 484 par 4 dogleg right…uphill off tee to
crest about 200 yards short of the green, then sharply downhill to flat for the
last 150 yards to green (plays with prevailing wind); perfect drive carries
crest and runs out to flat part of fairway, but needs to be close to perfect;
o#7, 389 par 4…key to this hole is the green;
approach shot totally dependent on pin placement; green slopes very sharply
from left front to back right and right edge guarded by two very deep bunkers;
if pin is left, impossible to get down in two if you shortside yourself left of
green, and if pin is back right, target coming in is very small to catch the
o#13, 192 yard par 3, uphill to large sharply
sloping green with a large false front and sitting on top of a hill (anything
short will roll back 40 yards…at least mine did).
Monroe Par 3 #13 from Tee--192 yards
Monroe Par 3 13th green from back right
Lie after drive on Monroe #15; confession, I moved it out of divot...and birdied; Cheating pays?
Monroe approach shot on par 4 #17
Monroe 7th green...note slope from front left to back right
Like most Ross tracks, the
greens dictate play…and dictate all long shots.Golf is something like pool…you play a shot to set up the next shot or
the next 2 shots.The slopes on some of
Ross’ greens mean you are dead if you end up on the wrong side (as I ended up
on #7 green and three putted with 3 good putts).Nothing wrong with greens with impossible
putts from certain positions to certain pins…so long as there are enough “pinnable”
positions that have places to put an approach shot that leaves a makeable putt.
We finished the round with no
rain and I considered that to be very lucky.Ended up shooting 41-39 = 80.Had
a quick lunch with the flatbelly college kids, said thanks and goodbye to Jim
and his staff and headed to Buffalo.
The Park Country Club, June
6, 2017:The forecast for the
afternoon for Buffalo was for overcast skies but no rain.However, it was misting heavily on the drive
west with no signs of letup as I approached The Park.Perhaps it was time for my luck to run out?
The Park Country Club was
founded in 1903 and subsequently moved to its current location in 1928.The current course was designed by Charles
Alison and Harry Colt, and in 1934 hosted the PGA Championship won by Paul
Runyan (defeating Craig Wood in 38 holes).The property if an interesting combination of very flat land and nicely
moving terrain.From the tips it stretches
to 6908 yards (par 71), but during its current renovation (mainly rebuilding
bunkers) will be stretched to just over 7000 yards.For reasons unknown to me, it has never been
included on a USA Top 100 listing (even the GW Classic or the GD 1966/67 200
The Park’s clubhouse (see
pictures below) is simply one of the most imposing structures I have ever seen
on a golf course.C. C. Wendehack, who
also designed clubhouses at Winged Foot, Ridgewood, Bethpage, and Mountain
Ridge, designed Park’s clubhouse as well.I thought the clubhouse reminded me strongly of the clubhouse at Country
Club of Detroit and it turns out that CCD’s clubhouse was designed by the firm
of Smith Hinchman & Grylls…which is where C. C. Wendehack completed his
career.That is made more interesting by
the fact that both Charles Alison and Harry Colt worked on both courses! (at
least interesting to moi).
Best holes include (see pics
228 yard flat par 3 with Elliot Creek to the right, behind and circling left;
595 yard straight par 5 that runs flat for about 375 yards, then sharpy
downhill and then flat again to green overseen by imposing clubhouse;
195 yard uphill par 3, to green sloping strongly back to front and guarded in
left front by deep bunker;
386 yard par 4, flat off tee then uphill and to right to very difficult green;
445 par 4, heading directly toward imposing clubhouse (runs parallel to #9)
with Elliot Creek fronting three tiered green sloping sharply back to front.
Park CC #9 from 250 yards...note modest clubhouse
Park #10 par 3 195 yards uphill
Park #18 par 4 approach shot w modest clubhouse
One final comment regarding the
course.Elliot Creek winds it way throughout
the property and a series of arched wooded bridges cross the Creek (see
photo).These are very simple but
magnificent bridges…the only set of better bridges I have seen on a golf course
are at Sleeply Hollow (NY) and Addington (London, UK)…and the bridges at both
of those transverse gorges and hollows, rather than creeks and are not arched
like The Park’s.
Park CC--typical bridge over Elliot Creek--this on #13
It misted heavily for about 8 of
the holes and was quite cold and windy…but I got the round in and very much
enjoyed the course, so run of luck continued.Played well (39 -39 =78).When
the renovations are completed this would be an excellent candidate for a USGA
After the round, met the head
pro, Eddie Suchora, another wonderful guy. Then drove back to Rochester for
dinner and sleep.When will the low
pressure front move on???
Oak Hill-East, June 7, 2017:I was the first one off this morning…playing
at 7am and the rain/drizzle had stopped…but the high pressure front brought
with it winds from the northwest and cold air (48° when I teed off).But allow me to describe the East Course.
First the history.Oak Hill was founded in 1901 and the club
leased a plot encompassing 85 acres on which 9 holes were constructed.By 1910 additional land had been acquired and
the course was now a full 18 holes.In
1921 the University of Rochester proposed a land swap offering a 355 acre farm
in Pittsford for Oak Hills’ land (on which they wanted to build a new campus).The deal was consummated in 1924 and Donald
Ross brought in to design two courses.After a few big exhibitions and tournaments in the 1930’s and 1940”s
(won by the likes of Leo Deigel, Sam Snead, and Ben Hogan) the parade of major
events started in 1948:
Amateur Championships (2)—1948 and 1998
Open Championships (3)—1956, 1968, and 1989
Championships (4)—1980, 2003, 2013, and announced for 2023
Cup Matches (1)—1995
Senior Open Championship (1)—1984
In terms of Top 100’s, another
glorious record. For World 100 listings:
Ever--#26 Golf World UK 2011
Current--#26 Golf World UK 2011 (last time published)
Ever Golf Magazine---#31 (1987 and 1995)
Ever Top100golfcourses.com--#44 (first list in 2006)
of 41 lists…appeared on 30
For USA 100 lists:
on every one of the 68 lists
Ever--#10 Golf Digest (2003)
Current--#20 Golf Digest (2017)
Ever Golf Week Merged List--#49 (2007)
Ever Golf Magazine--#18 (1997)
Golf Week Merged List--#110
Golf Magazine List--#37
Returning to design matters,
just before the 1956 US Open, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. removed the par 3 6th
hole and placed it near the entrance gate.But within 15 years, George Fazio came in and built all new holes 4, 5
and 6, and made changes to 15 and 18.This set the stage for Jack Nicklaus’ 1980 PGA win.
I had played the East one time
previously, in 1981.I vividly recall
the new holes 4-6 feeling very much “out of place” with the rest of the
course.Going back further, I remember
the 1956 US Open as being the first US Open I noticed…having started playing
this silly game 50 weeks earlier (early July 1955)…and recall Sports Illustrated’s write up discussing
the monstrously long 13th hole at Oak Hill East.
OK, enough history.Now for my reaction to today’s course.First of all, it is in great condition (even
if a little too green, but this was after some heavy rain).Second, no question this is a tough tough
test of golf. Third, the trees are magnificent…beautiful to look at and sit
under to enjoy the shade.However, IMAHO
(“AH” = always humble):
one agrees that one of the superb tests of greatness in a golf course is “when
you putt out on 18, do you immediately want to head to the first tee to do it
again”, then Oak Hill-East has issues.Only the criminally insane would want “to do it again” here.
course has way too many trees that crowd out the angles and options designed in
by Ross…at least 600 trees should be removed.
soon as those trees get taken down, the next step will be to widen then
fairways which are simply too narrow to provide interesting options…virtually
all bunkers should lie within the fairway so that the ball can reach them.While I have not seen Ross’ original drawings
for OH-E, the drawing for Mountain Ridge and Monroe both reflect fairways 50-60
yards in width…that is what Ross intended.
4, 5 and 6 still look wildly out of place…the fairway bunkers on 4 look unlike
any other bunkers on the property…and the creek on 5 and 6 looks totally
hole 15, the stone wall and pond to the right front of this par 3 look as much
like a Ross hazard as I look like Donald Ross
location of the creek on some holes (especially #13) was superb until tour pros
started hitting drives over 300 yards on a regular basis…so now #13 is a 594
par 5, uphill for the last 125 yards or so, and the creek starts at 307 from
the tee and requires a 320 yard carry to clear it.As a result, without a strong helping wind no
pro would try to carry it, and some would have to hit an iron or utility...on a
594 yard par 5.
Oak Hill-East #2 from behind green--do not be long here
Oak Hill-East #15--does this look like Ross?
My sense is that this was a
great design that has been altered so many times (and has been affected by
changes in equipment, etc.) that it no longer is the course it was.This is reflected in the GW and GM ratings
BTW…I frankly doubt that the
club will proceed with the type of changes I suggest (nor should they based
only on my thoughts).The property has
at least two commemorative plaques (see pics) on display citing the work of Dr.
John R.Williams who at one point stopped counting the trees he had planted when
his count exceeded 75,000!!I firmly
believe visits by Bill Coore, Tom Doak, and Gil Hanse (in alphabetical order)
are necessary, but might not work.
Oak Hill East--Two plaques commemorating Dr. Williams who planted 75,000+ trees!!
One last interesting note...there was a ladies member guest scheduled later in the day...on this hole, instead of a prize for closest to the center of the fairway (marked with the rope)...here they play closest to a rope that zig zags...see black rope in picture...making result totally random...could not make this up?
see closest to rope rope diagonally across fairway
After the round, it was back to
the hotel for a needed nap, and then drove to Buffalo and to play Country Club
of Buffalo.One final note…I had a 43-41
Country Club of Buffalo, June
7, 2017:Round trip from Rochester
to Buffalo and back started around 1:30pm on 6/7, and I arrived at CCB around
CCB was founded in 1889 and golf
was first played at the club in 1894.New land was acquired in 1900 which included an 18 hole course revamped
by Walter Travis in 2010-11 in anticipation of the US Open played at CCB in
1912.As an aside, in late July 2015 I
played that CCB course (now a muni called Grover Cleveland) and almost shot my
age.The present property was acquired
in the early/mid 1920’s and the Ross course opened in 1926.In 1950, CCB hosted the Curtis Cup.
CCB has never appeared on
anyGHD, GM or merged GW Top 100 list
(highest rating being #146 on GW’s merged 2005 list).On the GW Top 100 Classic list, it appeared
in 2011, ’10, ’06, ’05, and ’04…highest being #80 in ’05 and ’04.
This is a very interesting track
in many ways.First, holes #1 and #18
are on the clubhouse (east) side of Youngs Road, and holes 2-17 on the west
side of Youngs Road.Second, most of the
course was built on top of the Onondaga escarpment and therefore on and through
a large limestone quarry.Holes 6, 13,
17 and 18 sit below the top of the escarpment and the rest (for the most part)
sit above it.Interestingly, the
drainage on the upper level holes is amazing…with all the rain over the prior
few days, the fairways and greens were absolutely firm and fast.
There are several truly golf
holes at CCB worthy of comment.First
and foremost is #6, known as one of the great “Volcano Holes” in the
world.While the tee lies on top of the
escarpment, Ross constructed a large hill within the quarry and placed the
green on top of the hill.The green
slopes from back left top front right, necessitating a draw off the tee (plays
187 yards from back tee…I played it from 161 yards with wind against).The green is fully 45 yards deep.I hit a solid 3 utility to about 20’ andsunk the putt for my birdie. Even without the birdie it is a fabulous hole!!
CC of Buffalo #6 Volcano hole...par 3 187 yards...two views
#11 is also very good…a dogleg
right par 4 of 453 yards (I played from 404 yards) and the last 125 yards is
over a portion of the quarry as well (but the green sits above the
limestone).See pic below:
CC of Buffalo #11 from right edge of fairway from 125 yards---across quarry
Other good holes are #5, #10,
#12, #16, and #18.Unfortunately, many
of the other holes are fairly ordinary, in part because the limestone means the
bunkers must be very shallow.BTW, total
of 128 bunkers on the course.
I ended up with a 40-43 =
83.Was tired on the back nine but got a
second wind for the last 4 holes.Overall a fun course, but not a USA top 100 (too many ordinary holes).
Played with a young assistant
pro, Mike Shine who is a really good guy as well as a Golf Week panelist from
Chicago, Paul R. (another Paul R. that is) who turned out to be almost as much
of a golf nut as I am.
We finished playing around 7:10pm
and I had a 75 minute drive back to my hotel so quickly headed back to
Rochester.Sleep required and am teeing
off at 7am Thursday.Another 36 and lots