Bring your 'A' game to Turning Stone golf resort in New York
VERONA, N.Y. – This just in: Golf is a humbling game. The last three days at Turning Stone Resort Casino in central New York prove that. High winds, cold temperatures (for two days) and three very challenging golf courses combined to lighten my bag the last three days.
I can’t remember the last time I lost this many golf balls, and this came on the heels of playing the Pete Dye Course at French Lick (Indiana).
It was really the perfect storm. An extremely wet spring means that the ground crews haven’t been able to keep up with the rough, and that translated into near U.S. Open conditions. Start spraying the ball, and it’s ball-hunting time. Curve it one way or the other, and the wind just takes it. Don’t take enough club, and well, you get the picture.
Other than that, I loved the three courses at Turning Stone, and the resort was top-notch as well.
This is the place that has hosted the PGA Tour’s Turning Stone Resort Championship the last four years. Unfortunately, the PGA Tour didn’t renew the contract, but the course, Atunyote, remains in tournament condition.
Ironically, I thought Atunyote Golf Club was the most playable of the three, but we tackled it after a cold front blew through Thursday morning. The wind chill, from what seemed like a 50 mph gale at times, felt like it was 32 degrees. That’s fine on the links courses of Scotland (not really), but not on this Tom Fazio-designed, heavily bunkered, water-surrounded shot-makers course with 4-inch deep rough, it was constant work.
When you get these kind of conditions, the fairways don’t seem so wide and greens seem to get smaller. But in truth, if you play the right tees, there is plenty of room to hit the ball.
The course I played Friday, not so much. Kaluhyat is a Robert Trent Jones Titleist buster. Not only was the rough deep, but there is 3-foot tall fescue just off the fairways and around the greens. If you get in that stuff ? and it wasn’t difficult to do that ? you were on your way to a high number. But the course itself was stunning. Kaluhyat is an Oneida Indian word that means “the other side of the sky,” and the views are worthy of the moniker.
The other 18-hole course is Shenendoah Golf Club, designed by Rick Smith. No as difficult as Kaluhyat, you still had to be careful. We played this one Wednesday afternoon in the heat, but it was really windy as well.
If I seem like I’m moaning, I’m not. I just wasn’t up to the task. But if you’re expecting resort friendly golf at Turning Stone Resort, think again. All three courses are good tests, and it’s rare see three really good courses in one location.
The resort also has an outstanding par-3 course, also designed by Smith. Called Sandstone Hollow because of the sandstone rock found there, it’s a fun, challenging course you can play in about an hour. A golf academy and a golf dome in the offseason complete the golf picture.
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