A while back, one of our faithful viewers left a comment on site, suggesting that the writers of BuffaloGolfer are partial to the courses that sponsor us. Yep, we are. We’re lucky that a number of fine area courses support our mission to highlight the local and regional golf scenes. The writer went on to suggest that we might even overlook foibles of sponsoring courses or favorably skew our evaluations. That’s where we drew the line.
We’re golfers, all of us. We like golf in any weather, over any golfing terrain, with any golfing partners. Some prefer fast and firm, while others like soft and green. A portion of us opts for aerial golf, while another sector selects the ground game. Part of the herd deems sun a necessity, while other grazers vote for golf in the snow, the rain, the wind and the hail.
The same goes for our golf courses. While we’d love to have every course, private and public, on our roll of sponsors, that’s not feasible (yet.) Whether a course sponsors this site or not has nothing to do with the way we view and review the experience. If we have a problem with a course, we’ll let management know that we had a problem, then take another look. If the problem has been resolved, the review takes note. If the problem continues, the review takes note as well.
So what do we like in a golf course? We like the option of running the ball in that we get at Ironwood and Diamond Hawk. Have you played either course? Although Hurdzan/Fry at DH and Witter at IW placed an appropriate amount of bunkers, they left space in front of greens to allow the ground game to flourish. In a summer as hot and dry as the one of 2012, we’d be dead if we had to fly and spin every approach shot. It’s great to have options in Buffalo-Niagara.
We enjoy the large greens of Ivy Ridge and Glen Oak. Golden-age courses from the teens, 20s and 30s might not have anticipated the increase in the golfing population (and the subsequent need for more hole locations and less foot traffic by-the-square-yard on greens) but these two, modern-era courses did. We all need to sink a snake from time to time, or at least work on our long putts, or yodel from a different zip code on the same green…
We take great pride in the challenges that Seneca Hickory Stick and Ravenwood demand. SHS was designed by the RTJ2 architectural firm after its Chambers Bay epiphany, while Ravenwood is the only eastern-USA course from the unique Robin Nelson. The former eschewed the punitive-carry, aerial game of some of its earlier designs at Chambers Bay and continued on at SHS. The latter gave us a course with more feng shui than we get in an average day.
We travel across the border to Thundering Waters, Whirlpool and Hunters Pointe, and we drive up and down the area’s highways to Terry Hills, Byrncliff and Chestnut Hill. When your Mo’ Golf was a golfing lad, back in the late 80s and early 80s, there were two high-end public courses. One of them went private in the 1990s and then there was one. It was muni or nothing, and you know how difficult it is for a muni to keep up conditioning, given budgets, staffing and amount of play. Beginning in 1995, our regions brought forth six to ten of these privately-owned, public-access courses on either side of the border and the golfing landscape of Buffalo-Niagara changed forever.
We like the municipal layouts at Sheridan and Deerwood and the private tracks of Lancaster, Lockport and Brierwood. The ode to the muni would begin with access for every man. State-owned (Beaver island), county-owned (Chestnut Meadows, Elma Meadows and Grover Cleveland) city-owned (South, Delaware and Cazenovia Parks) and town-owned courses (Sheridan and Brighton, Deerwood, Audubon and Oakwood, Hamburg) offer access to their residents at reduced rates. Sure, Beaver isn’t much of a bargain, but head east to Long Island to play Bethpage, flash that NYS drivers license and see how much money you save! Take advantage of that opp to play the five courses there or the ones at nearby Eisenhower Park. And, if we’re not fortunate enough to have the wherewithal to enjoy membership at a private club, we know someone who does…or we bid on a foursome at a charity auction…but we find a way to play a round from time to time at an area private track, and what an escape that is.
In the end, we try to be as honest as possible. If you disagree with the take of one of our writers, leave a comment. We’ll address the suspicion, the insinuation and the accusation in due and proper time. After all, we’re glad to have your input. It makes BuffaloGolfer.com a better site.