Kevin Gaughan has championed the hiring of the Jack Nicklaus design firm to redesign and build a replacement course for Delaware Park Meadows, the unique, funky and flat course in Delaware Park. The Park Country Club was founded there, before moving out to Williamsville. The Country Club of Buffalo had its rudimentary beginnings across Nottingham Terrace from the park, on land that was later used for the 1901 World’s Fair. Alan Bozer recently had an Another Voice piece in the Buffalo News (to which Gaughan wrote his aforementioned response) on preserving Delaware Park and its golf environs.
As you can imagine, Mo’ Golf has his own slate of opinions on the Delaware Park Meadows golf course in its present form, and what it could and should become with a restoration or reinvention. As is his wont, he shall keep it brief and organized, so as not to send you into drowsy sleep.
Point #1: the holes across Ring Road are fun, but they have to go.
The par-3 1st and 18th holes are some of the only elevation change on the golf course, which could charitably be described as flat as a smashed pancake. There is no reason to have them, however. The 1st green and 18th tees, hidden beneath stately trees that should NEVER be removed, get little sunlight, lots of drainage, and rarely have grass on them. They are also disconnected from the meadow, and are fun but replaceable holes. Use that space for better purposes.
Point #2: the golf course doesn’t have to be 18 holes
There is this antiquated notion that a golf course need be 18 holes to be, well, a golf course. Anthony Pioppi, a passionate writer from the Hartford, CT area, dispels that notion with his treatise on 9-hole courses, The Finest Nines. Have you heard of Mike Keiser, the East Aurora-raised, golf course developer, of Bandon Dunes, Cabot Links, Streamsong and Sand Valley fame? His first course is a 9-hole venture in New Buffalo, Michigan. Sure, it’s private, but it is awesome! Why? Because you can play holes as short, medium and long par 3s, depending on the tee. You can play a par 4 as a par 5, and vice versa, again depending on where you peg your pelota.
Point #3: DPM should be 14 or 13 holes
You can condense the present 16 meadow holes into 14 or 13 holes, and still have a championship routing for club events. You can preserve the funky holes (more on those later) and the chill ambiance that welcomes golfers of all ages, skill levels, shapes and sizes. Jason Way, a lawyer and golf-community activist in Chicagoland, spearheads the redevelopment of Canal Shores golf course, all with community-based support and labor. It can be done, with or without the Nicklaus firm.
Point #4: preserve the funk
Have you ever played a par three over trees? That’s the 7th hole AND the 12th hole. Totally blind, hit and hope. LOVE IT! Then you play the 13th, beneath a canopy of arched trees. Also unique, also beloved. Oh, and you also have to play low on the 10th hole, a wee wedge down a hill, in the southeast corner of the property. You don’t have to keep all of it, but you can keep some of it.
Point #5: protect the history
Adjacent to the present 3rd fairway is a stone that marks the burial site of soldiers lost in the War of 1812. This hallowed ground needs to be recognized for its worth, highlighted and cared for. There is also a tree near the Scajaquada Expressway that is massive and beastly-old. Protect it and the other great arbor, too. Don’t forget that this is an Olmsted park. Do some diligence on its history and intent, and bring those features to bear.
And that’s all for today! Feel free to comment below, and we’ll engage in a civil discussion.
Images Credit: http://golf.delawarepark.bfloparks.org/