Like Grover Cleveland, Sheridan Park is another course whose fine 18-hole layout was sacrificed for commerce. Six holes across Sheridan Drive were lost when the land was sold off during the 1960s. The holes that replaced them are serviceable, but it is safe to assume that this course, not Brookfield, would be considered William Harries’ masterpiece if the original 18 were still intact.
Par four that doglegs right downhill. Bending around a pond, the tee ball should be aimed at the pavilion or the hill on the left. The second shot must avoid two bunkers fronting the green, and stay short of the out of bounds beyond the green. A long green with subtle breaks, thought must be applied to these first putts.
An early opportunity for birdie, this par five doglegs right uphill, then straightens out to a slightly elevated green guarded by bunkers. The right corner can be cut with a high and long tee ball, leaving a long iron or fairway wood into the green. The putting surface is not an overwhelming one, leaving an opportunity for a one putt.
A slight dogleg to the left, this hole returns to the south. Trees, rough and mounding on the left require a bit of attention to the right side of the fairway, leaving a longer approach to the green. Once putting, the green is again not noteworthy for its difficulty.
This par four brings water into play, in the form of a wrap-around lake at the green. A well-struck drive will leave a short-iron approach to a fairly flat putting surface.
The longest par four on the front, this hole often plays into the wind. Patience is required here, as two extremely long shots will be required to reach the putting surface in regulation. Protected by two bunkers, this green rolls a bit, forcing careful thought processes.
Almost an afterthought, this tiniest of par fours barely measures 110 yards. Also protected by sand, it has a long green with two levels, set at an angle to the tee. It is the type of hole that makes the golfer think, “how can I mess up ?” Well, you can.
A terrific par five, this hole doglegs sharply left, then straightens, then goes slightly back to the right, causing a varied thought process throughout the playing of the hole. Out of bounds over the fence on the left encourages the golfer to play the tee shot to the right, again lengthening the hole. Thoughts of birdie necessitate a bit of daring down the left on the tee ball. Once in the fairway, the golfer debates the pond to the right of the green, the trees, bushes and OB to the left, and wonders whether to go for the green. A lay-up still leaves an excellent chance for birdie. The green is a unique affair, long on the left, with a shelf to the right, for a terrific “Sunday” pin position. Here more than any other hole on the front, the golfer wants to be close to the hole with her/his approach.
A neat par three, it requires an uphill short iron to a green fronted by bunkers, elevated above the tee, falling off on sides and back. Miss it short, if at all. The green has two levels, front and back, so the straighter you are to the hole (as opposed to side-hill right or left), the easier it plays.
The first of the great water holes on the back portion of the course (well, it’s close enough to the back), this par four rises slightly from tee to landing area, demanding a straight drive of some 235 yards to see the green. The putting surface sits downhill to the drive zone, to the right, and is fronted by water. As the approach suspends above the green, against the sky, we remember why we play golf. The putting surface is evilly canted toward the water, so below the hole is best.
A break from the water here, in the form of a meat-and-potatoes par four, straightaway, trees left and right. Two bunkers front the green, which is a saucer-shaped putting surface, with no particular noteworthy portions.
The trickiest drive on the course, unless you can Tiger a drive 270 yards on the fly, forget about carrying the water. Aim an 8 or 9 iron at the bridge on the left, and it will roll down to the water. Another short iron to the green, set against the hill at the corner of Sheridan and Parkside, a green similar to number 9, will afford an opportunity for birdie.
Back across the water, you can drive along the fairway to the left and play it as a three-shot hole, or you can cut the corner over the trees, gambling for a shorter approach. Miss any shot to the right and you will be faced with an uphill, side-hill recovery from trees. DO NOT MISS the long putting surface to the right.
Terrific par three, requiring a mid-iron uphill, across the water, to a two tiered green with a false front. Again, miss it straight and short, as OB lurks beyond the fence behind the green. All putts taken on this green require the proper borrowing and speed, making it the toughest putt on the back nine.
The hardest public par four in Western New York. The drive funnels downhill, over two-mile creek, to a fairly narrow fairway. Some burly fellows Tiger a drive to the right, over the maintenance sheds, taking the creek out of play. For the mortals, the drive should be aimed toward the mound in the fairway, staying left of the creek. The approach goes up over the fairway mound, back over the creek, uphill to a green that falls away to the back. Once on the surface, the golfer can breathe, and attempt to make a putt or two.
A hole almost identical to number two, it parallels the par five in every way except one; number 15 is a par four. A long, uphill dogleg to the right, it requires two meaty blows to reach the slightly elevated green. Putting is not a chore, although escaping from the right-side bunker might be.
Another wonderful par three. This hole goes back over the creek, from elevated tee to elevated green, over a vale. The green is canted heartily from front to back, necessitating much forethought before putting. This is the hole that can be seen from the I-290/Youngman Highway.
This hole would be right at home in Amen Corner. Drive along the left edge of a fairway that begs you to stay right, and you will bound down into a valley from which you can see the green above you. From here, a long iron or fairway wood will bring you to the putting surface with a chance for eagle. Miss the drive to the right, and your lay-up will require tremendous planning and concentration. The green slopes slightly from front to back, collecting at the front. Subtle breaks around the hole result in many putts missed by a fraction.
A superb end to a golf course know for a fairly wide-open nature, the good player will hit less than driver here, out of fear of knocking the ball through the fairway on the right, into the trees and water along number one. Miss it left and you fall down toward the fairway of number fourteen. Keep it straight, son. The approach from the center of the fairway is an average one, to a green without much protection. A common saucer shape, it is extremely puttable, and a well-earned birdie to close the round is not uncommon.