The Buffalo News golf poll on Best Public Course is closing in on 2700 votes. The candidates for the top slot, in alphabetical order, are:

*Buffalo Tournament Club
*Diamond Hawk
*Glen Oak
*Harvest Hill
*Links at Ivy Ridge
*Peek ‘n Peak Upper
*Seneca Hickory Stick
*Sheridan Park

At press time, the leader with 1/5 of the votes is the site of last year’s BDGA Men’s Individual, Tri-County. I’ll give you a ribbon if you know where Tri-County is located and I’ll give you another if you’ve played the course. I like Tri-County a good bit; it’s a classic, home-designed hill course, located in Forrestville. Is it the area’s best public course? Probably not. Nevertheless, it is 20% of the voting public’s favorite course and is therefore in the lead.

Second place is shared, with 17% each, by Glen Oak and Harvest Hill. For those who remember, Ransom Oaks Country Club became the Country Club of Amherst, then finally went public and became Glen Oak. Harvest Hill is one of the newer courses in the area and easily the best-equipped public complex, with a championship, 18-hole track, a 3-hole beginner track, enormous practice range and sizable short game facility.

What I find most interesting about the poll’s current results is that two of the courses that I consider to be the area’s best, Seneca Hickory Stick and Arrowhead, are mired in last place, with barely 2% of the vote. SHS is new to the area and has a green fee that is, let’s just say, healthy. It’s up in Lewiston, so many public golfers from southern and central Erie county have probably not yet made the trip. Arrowhead has one of the purest layouts in the area, created by the talented Scott Witter from Lockport. A failed economy drove Witter from the golf course architecture business, although his other work at Deerwood-Fawn and Ironwood are also well worth the drive.

Keep in mind, at BuffaloGolfer.Com, it’s our business to play these courses, and not just once. We know the difference between a Witter, a Trent Jones, a Hurdzan and a Trent Jones II the way oenophiles differentiate between vintages. Would we have ranked the courses the way they have shaken out in the Buffalo News poll? Absolutely not! And that’s the beauty of the poll.

You see, what matters most is that the people have spoken. What matters most is that the Buffalo News has a healthy sample of golfers.

To view the poll, click here.