For those who are overwhelmed by the noise and the never stopping pace of New York City – and also have a passion for golf – the New York Golf Trail is an unforgettable trip.
This trail crosses the whole of New York State, but the crown jewel is the portion that takes place in Finger Lakes region. This area is renowned for its numerous scenic drives, fantastic wine country, and, of course, its championship golf courses. Golf enthusiasts are sure to absolutely enthralled.
Bristol Harbour Golf Club
The Bristol Harbour Golf Club is king of the Finger Lakes golf courses. It sits on the shores of Canandaigua Lake and is in right of the heart of wine country. The golf course itself was designed by Robert Trent Jones in a championship layout. The course holds a par of 72 for both men and women and has hosted a number of State Amateur Championships. It has been recognized by Golf Digest and The American Golfers Guide as one of the top public golf courses in the state.
Currently, the course record belongs to Jack Nicklaus, so rookies or leisurely golfers can strive to beat his record of 67 and be hailed a king among golfers. The front nine of the course offers beautiful views of the lake, while the back nine is a tighter affair, having golfers traverse through the woods. The signature hole of the course is the 14th hole, which hosts a stunning drop in elevation from the fairway to the green.
After a hard day of tearing up the turf, visitors should sample some of the fantastic wineries in the area. This self-guided trail takes in Casa Larga Vineyards, Arbor Hill Grapery, Widmer Wine Cellars and Finger Lakes Wine Center, to mention just a few. These establishments are always open for visitors to stop in for a tour and a sample of some of their eclectic vintages.
Ravenwood Golf Club
Creativecommons.org/Visit Finger Lakes
The Ravenwood Golf Club is one of the premiere championship golf courses in the Rochester area. Since its grand opening in 2003, it has been named America's 5th Best Public Upscale Course by Golf Digest. The course was designed by the architect Robin Nelson who usually works on the lush and tropical Hawaiian layouts, hints of which are noticeable in his design for this course. The course earned its fame when it served as the setting for the 2003 and 2009 New York State Golf Championship as well as the 2004 U.S. Open Qualifier.
The course features a rolling terrain where the holes flow seamlessly into one another, with a par for 72 for both men and women. Visitors who are up for a challenge should find just that in the back nine, where par threes are strategically guarded by water.
After a day on the links, there is still plenty to do in the area of Victor, New York. However, the main attraction for most visiting golfers after a day's play is done is the Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack Centre. This casino hosts over 1,500 game tables and machines to whittle away those winning golf bets. However, the main affair is the thoroughbred horse races that run 160 days of the year. This establishment also simulcasts horse races from all the top tacks around the world.
Mendon Golf Club
The Mendon Golf Club is a private club that boasts a 6,000 yard, 71 par course that spans over 150 perfectly manicure acres of the rolling landscape of Mendon, New York. The course features a creek, two lakes, a wooded back nine and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. It hosts a large driving range, two practice putting greens and a practice bunker.
After playing the 18 holes, Mendon is located just 15 short miles from Victor, so visitors should consider paying a visit to the Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack Centre. However, visitors who are looking for a less money-sucking affair should head to the Mendon Apple Farm. It hosts everything from apple cider to apple doughnuts, as well as the staple of apple pie.
Mill Creek Golf Club
The Mill Creek Golf Club sits on and around the highest point in Monroe County, New York. This course features views of the Rochester skyline, as well as the beautiful rolling hills of the Finger Lakes. This is the newest course not just in Rochester, but on the New York Golf Trail. It takes extensive advantage of the glacial drumlin that bisects the forested rolling hills and windswept fescues.
This championship golf course was designed by the design team on Raymond Hearn and Paul Albanese. They blended natural aesthetic with the well-crafted challenge of the course. It is guaranteed to deliver a memorable experience for golfers of all skill levels. The par for the course is 72 for both men and women and it provides a unique experience for each play by blending mature trees and bent grass fairways with greens and bunkers.
For those who still have the energy after conquering the Mill Creek course, there’s plenty to do in Rochester. However, for those with excess of energy, the Erie Canalway Trail shouldn't be missed. This trail, which will eventually span across the whole state, was created from the former Erie Canal towpath. Not only will visitors get to see the daunting gorge along the northern section, but this trail is a great way to get to Downtown Rochester if visitor's legs are up to the challenge.
Wayne Hills Country Club
The Wayne Hills Golf Course is one of the most respected courses in the region, with a par of 72 for both men and women. It is nestled in the drumlins of the Finger Lakes region, which – combined with its unique design, picturesque surroundings and championship layout – provides a challenge for golfers of all skill levels.
This golf course was so inspiring that it was included in the book The Beauty of Golf in New York State by John McCarthy. It was also given four stars in the 2008-2009 edition of Golf Digest's Best Places to Play. The course's most infamous hole is the par three 7th hole. This hole combines the stunning beauty of the surrounding landscape with a steep elevation drop that gives players a hearty challenge.
After the golf is done there is, admittedly, not much to do in the town of Lyons. It is very much a quaint, quiet rural town full of B&Bs and little local businesses. Head to the Trail of Hope next to Lyons’ Community Centre. The trail is no strenuous hiking trail, but rather a serene and beautifully groomed garden.
Greystone Golf Club
The Scottish-style Greystone Golf Course is a gem in the New York golf scene. It was rated four and a half stars by Golf Digest and holds many memorable features, such as dramatic elevation changes, scenic vistas and native grasses.
Since the grand opening of the course in 1996, it has been regularly voted as "Reader's Favourite Course" in the annual Golf Rochester Guide. The course holds a par of 72 for men and women and the 18th hole is a real show-stopper. Its downhill fairway runs into a pond, so visitors will need to lay up their drive before hitting the approach shots over the water and onto a double green.
This magnificent course lies in the rural town of Walworth, a small town surrounded by wonderful countryside. It’s quite close to the coast of Lake Ontario, which opens up a whole new world of outdoor adventure possibilities. Visitors can charter boats for both fishing and leisure or merely go to the lakeside to enjoy the beaches.