For the first time in recorded history, the ranking of golf courses across western New York has been crowd-sourced. The process began two weeks ago, with stage one of the mechanism. After public and private divisions were reduced to 15 courses each, a ballot was produced and golf aficionados ranked from first to 15th, the finalists in each bracket. Two courses that received attention, but did not ascend to the final segment, were Elkdale (Salamanca) and Willowbrook (Lockport.) Over the course of the next six days, we shall reveal the results of that ranking means. Today it is our pleasure to present the public course ranking, places 11 to 15, in reverse order.
Fifteen: Buffalo Tournament Club
The Buffalo Tournament Club, located on Genesee Road in Lancaster, is a Tim Davis design. The course plays across a fairly-level acreage, with a creek featured on its two most memorable holes, the par-five fourth and seventh. BTC earned a total of 162 points. Its highest vote was for an eighth-place ranking.
Fourteen: Ironwood Golf Course
Representing the country circuit, the collection of golf courses situated in western New York’s southeastern environs, Ironwood is a brilliant, Scott Witter layout in Cowlesville. If it were closer to the first ring of suburbs, it would have greater recognition, and a higher position in these rankings. Alas, things are as they are, and we can only recommend that you get to Ironwood as quickly as possible. There are no boring holes at Ironwood, and each green offers a glimpse at what awaits next. Ironwood earned a total of 326 points. Its highest vote was for a fourth-place ranking.
Thirteen: Elma Meadows Golf Course
It’s a shame that this ranking took place as the jewel of Erie county golf works through the first of two important projects. The 2020 regrading and improvement of tees, will be followed by a 2021 bunker restoration. Add this to the green reclamation that took place mid decade, and Elma Meadows v.2022 will be a different tract of land. The William Harries-designed course benefits from a spectacular piece of property, often used as a site for high school cross country meets. Elma Meadows earned a total of 355 points. Its highest vote was for a first-place ranking.
Twelve: Sheridan Park Golf Course
A generation back, Sheridan Park was a fixture in the top-five public courses in Buffalo-Niagara. Its back nine remains the most demanding alley in area public golf. The weaknesses of the meadow holes, featured on the front nine, hold it back from a higher ranking. Sheridan Park was built by William Harries in 1933. Its lost holes, located south of Sheridan drive, were as brilliant as its replacements are mundane. Fortunately, the stretch of holes along Two-Mile Creek comes in the second half of the round. As a result, golfers remember the closing stretch as one of the most dramatic and challenging around. Sheridan Park earned a total of 408 points. Its highest vote was for a first-place ranking.
Eleven: Terry Hills Golf Course
The Batavia course is the easternmost representative in our 2020 #BuffalosBestGolf ranking of public courses. There’s much to be said about each of Terry HIlls’ three nine-hole layouts. The original nine was laid out by the course’s namesake, Randall Terry. It features the Amen Corner stretch of East 2, 3, and 4. The North nine came next, designed by Geoffrey Cornish. It was followed by the South nine, added by Edmund Ault. Much credit goes to superintendent Thad Thompson and staff, who keep the course open, fast and firm, as long as no snow lies on the ground. Terry HIlls earned a total of 411 points. Its highest vote was for a first-place ranking. (Editor’s Note: Terry Hills is a sponsor of BuffaloGolfer.Com)