The Porter Cup has a five-point marquee for spectators on its website. I’ll be honest, it’s a good start, but you need the low-down, nitty-gritty spectators guide to experience the true Porter Cup, from middle to finish to start (or some other order.) With all respect due to the Porter Cup committee, here’s the Mo’ Golfdown on the Porter Cup Experience.
Begin at … the middle. When you park across from hole #10 (or next to hole #14, or on alternate hole #whichisit~doesn’t matter, they’re all the same space) and pay the Boy Scouts their sixpence, you’ll find yourself in the geographic center of Niagara Falls Country Club (I haven’t triangulated this hypothesis, so don’t bet the Cobras on my supposition.) To the west are the 14th green and the Triple Scoop (holes 15-17…I know, it’s a terrible nickname. I’ll keep working on that one.) If you’re all about drama, save those holes for later, when the leaders come through. If it’s Wednesday or Thursday, go check them out. Chances are that the tee on #15 is up and the field is trying to drive the green.
The more traditional aficionados will head north, cross the street and stop by the clubhouse for a program, pairings sheet, souvenirs and a look at the leader board (adjacent to the 10th tee.) In the space between the pro shop and the clubhouse stands the putting green (the old one was removed a few years back, to make room for the tent that houses the M & T Bank VIP facility, a cool feature.) It’s a nice point of departure, as fans can tour either nine from front to back or back to front, as both halves finish by the clubhouse.
Other than Triple Scoop on the back nine, a nice confluence of early action is found at “Doc’s Corner,” near the 4th and 7th tees, and the 3rd and 6th greens. The 4th green has been opened up in recent years. Trees blocking wind and sun have been removed and the change is noteworthy and remarkable. A green whose grass-growing capability was average on its best day, now boasts a putting surface equal to the other 17 carpets. This year, Tournament Director Denn has guaranteed that the 7th hole will play from the up tees at least one day, promising wedge shots galore that dance around the hole (and hopefully, go in!)
Two holes that don’t get much attention, yet typically figure prominently in the outcome, are the 5th and 8th. Both are long par fours that demand strong drives from the players. Tree trouble lurks on both holes, often impeding the long to mid-iron approach shots. When you add the long 9th into the mix, three of the club’s longest two-shot holes come within a five-hole stretch. You might not see a slew of birdies along this pathway, but you will see a share of bogeys.
If you find a new spot or know of one, let us know with a comment below.