About a year ago, before the great purge of tenured sportswriters at The Buffalo News, one of the area’s deans of sports journalism contacted me with an idea: he wanted to poll the area’s golf experts on what they considered to be the area’s 25 best, public-access golf holes. The caveats were that all holes had to be stateside, could be found as far east as Batavia, as far north as Lake Ontario, and as far south as the Pennsylvania border. Knowing that any delay would result in never compiling the list, I considered how I would break down my personal list. There is a new golf course in Canada, called Cabot Cliffs. It is part of Mike Keiser’s stable of successful golf developments, and it has a unique 6-6-6 configuration. 6 par three holes, accompanied by 6 par four holes, joined by 6 par fives. That’s my dream course.
Realist that I am, however, I decided that since most courses have a 10-4-4 configuration, I should probably select twice as many fours as fives or threes. I came up with an eclectic list, and I’m aware of its shortcomings. In the table below, I enumerate the hole selections in the first and third columns, while in the middle column, I offer my reasons for accepting and eschewing certain criteria. The coming months will see me break down the list, complete with photos, on a hole-by-hole basis. I hope that you check back, or follow us on Twitter (@buffalogolfer) or Facebook (buffalogolfer) or Instagram (@buffalogolfer) for new postings. For now, here is the opening salvo, the one list that rules them all!
Par Three Holes
1-#4 at South Park golf course
2-#12 at Glen Oak golf course
3-#3 at Diamond Hawk golf course
4-#3 at Concord Crest golf course
5-#12 at Seneca Hickory Stick golf course
6-#3 at Hyde Park golf course
Par Five Holes
1-#18 at Harvest Hill golf course
2-#17 at Sheridan Park golf course
3-#14 at Byrncliff Resort
4-#2 at Harvest Hill golf course
5-#9 at Seneca Hickory Stick golf course
6-#16 at Batavia country club
The reality is, some of our courses are world-class, and a case could be made for all 18 holes as the “best” in Buffalo-Niagara. Forget that. Even a little course in Concord, or Niagara Falls, or Akron, has a hole that deserves mention on this list. That’s my direction.
Difficulty went the way of the dinosaur as a measuring stick for greatness. That’s why “The Monster” is no longer in anyone’s Top 1000 courses, and why “The Reserve At Thunderhill” is no longer a golf course! Subtlety, playability, enjoyment, diversity–those are the characteristics of great golf holes.
I hope that you disagree with me, both early and often, and I hope that you and I engage in civil discourse on why a certain hole is better than a certain other hole. If you convert me, I’ll be public with my epiphany. If it works the other way, I’ll expect the same from you.
Par Four Holes
1-#2 at The Links at Ivy Ridge
2-#14 at Arrowhead golf course
3-#14 at Sheridan Park golf course
4-#15 at Batavia country club
5-#16 at Seneca Hickory Stick golf course
6-#15 at Dande Farms golf course
7-#9 at Buffalo Tournament Club
8-#6 at Peek’n Peak upper course
9-#2 at Elma Meadows golf course
10-#18 at Holiday Valley
11-#5 at Arrowhead golf course
12-#5 at Elkdale countryclub
13-#18 at Diamond Hawk golf course
If you question my acumen and enthusiasm for the game, my deep and profound affinity for the area’s courses, and my years of high school coaching and service on the BDGA board of directors, know this one, eternal truth: I’m the guy in the middle in the featured image 🙂