There is a great variety of golf at Turning Stone resort in Verona, New York. Three championship courses, an uncommonly-common nine hole and a nine-hole par three give the resort 72 memorable holes. I’ve had the fortune to play each of the courses on more than one occasion and recently had an epiphany while playing the most penal of the layouts, Kaluhyat.

During my previous two voyages around the Robert Trent Jones II course at Turning Stone, I tipped the decks at 7100 yards and struggled mightily all the way around. Kaluhyat (pronounced ga-LOO-yuh) is that singular type of course that demands forced carries off many tees, through some fairways and into many greens. If you’re not flying the ball well, you’ll struggle. Kaluhyat is not a course for the ground game!

My epiphany came when I moved up two tee decks, past black and blue (ominous!) to the white boxes (around 6200 yards). This move allowed me to play 3-metals and hybrids off certain tees and avoid similar clubs into the par 3s and 4s. The 5s were still monstrous, albeit with less ferocity.

Here’s the epiphany: I arrived at a resort, to play a course with which I am neither familiar nor comfortable. Both of those elements add strokes to anyone’s game. Add the championship nature (this course was not designed to be easy on the ego) of the layout to the recipe and a few more strokes get marked down on the scorecard (not to mention a few lost golf balls.) Since most amateur golfers recover poorly from a bad swing or number, the aforementioned grow/replicate until the round becomes frustrating, UNLESS…

You do as I did…check the ego at the door. If you want to play the second set of tees, do it on Shenandoah. Want to play the back set of tees? Head to Atunyote (pronounced ah-DUNE-yote.) Shenny is more forgiving than Kaluhyat, even though it traverses similar ground (wetlands, forests, grassy earth dunes.) Despite being the tournament course at Turning Stone, Atunyote offers the most manageable rough (no cruelly high second cut) and few forced carries.

By checking my ego at the gate, I moved through Kaluhyat with ease and enjoyment. After all, I wasn’t at Turning Stone to compete. My time at the resort was focused on relaxation and recuperation from the daily grind. Why return to that by making the golf equally taxing?