It was the birthplace of the legendary Walter Hagen and Robert Trent Jones.
It has been a home to the LPGA for years
Hosted the 2013 PGA Championship
And now the Traveling Golfer has been there too!
By: Claudio DeMarchi – The Traveling Golfer
I had been to Rochester, New York many times in the past and golf was the reason for being there but it was always in the winter while representing clients at the Rochester Golf Show. You knew that golf was special here as there was always a buzz in the air at the show and through conversation you could feel the passion – these folks know their golf!
Let me tell you, Rochester in the summer is nothing like the sub-zero Rochester during the golf show season. It is an easy drive from a number of Canadian border crossings and I have no doubt that your expectations will be exceeded as mine were.
Leaving at 9:30 AM from Toronto’s west end we were on the tee at the Greystone Golf Club at 2:30 PM and that was with a leisurely lunch at the courses Shoney’s Pub. There is more than meets the eye at the 4 ½ star Golf Digest rated layout. A Scottish links style course that offers up some elevation changes, countryside vistas, rolling fairways lined with either fescue or some big old trees, plus, for good measure, some hidden pot bunkers. The greens, the greens, the greens are large and undulating and I mean large and undulating! That is all I am going to say! It is a favorite amongst the locals and judging by the number of Ontario plates in the parking lot, a favorite for golfers from Ontario as well.
After a quick pint of Yuengling at Shoney’s Pub and keeping with the brew theme we were off we were off to the Genesee Brew House. The century old packaging center has been transformed into a restaurant and bar with an outdoor patio overlooking the cascading High Falls of the Genesee River which flows through the downtown. The wings are awesome while the brew is nothing but Genesee’s finest and rightly so! Do make sure you leave yourself some time for a tour of this historic facility and a visit to the gift shop.
Another hoping downtown hot spot is at the Strathallan Hotel. A Hilton property that is home to one of the city’s finest steakhouses and a lounge frequented by the who’s who of Rochester.
Next morning came much sooner than expected. Our sights (more like the GPS) were set on one of Rochester’s premier courses, Ravenwood Golf Club. Golf Magazine ranks it #7 on its Top 20 Best Public Courses in New York State list. Ravenwood has hosted the NY State Golf Championships in its opening year 2003 and 2009 along with a US Open Qualifier in 2004.
Minutes from the course you will find a really neat Mickey Finns pub located adjacent to a historic train station. Cool spot for a cold one after the round.
Our home for the weekend, the Hampton Inn & Suites, was ideally located, approximately 10 minutes from downtown Rochester in the suburb of Victor. A beautiful property surrounded by many restaurants, pubs and more shopping than most could ever want. The Outlet Mall was also just 20 minutes down the road.
The Distillery, a 2 minute drive from the hotel, was one fine place to catch a cold one or two or three while having a bite to eat and catching up on all things sports with their many TV’s.
We were done with Rochester for this visit, but not done with New York. Moving east about an hour and a bit along the New York Golf Trail to the Syracuse area we found ourselves at the only Jack Nicklaus designed course in upstate New York – Timberbanks Golf Club. The course layout was exceptional. Traditional Nicklaus style with plenty of risk reward opportunities, doglegs favoring the fade and the necessity to play some strategic shots to score well. Where this course differs from any other Nicklaus course is in the greens. Never have I come across such diabolical Nicklaus greens. There is some resemblance to a Pete Dye style with false fronts and drop offs but with the mounding on top of that it made me think of Donald Ross on steroids.
If you did not have a reason to LOVE NY before you certainly do now! Great golf at exceptional prices with all the amenities that anyone could ask for.
Legends of the game have walked here as will future stars of the game – you should too!
For more information on golf in the Rochester and Syracuse area visit www.nygolftrail.com