May 15-18, 2009
May 17-20, 2013 we returned to Syracuse and played four different courses. Links to the reviews of these courses have been added to the bottom of this page.
Where does one go for bargain golf? I think I've found a place.
In the summer of 2008 I visited Syracuse, New York for a brief family vacation and during that stay we got to play nine holes at a course called Arrowhead Golf Course, a 27 hole facility in East Syracuse. For just over $40 three of us played, and that included cart.
When I was approached to set up a golf weekend for May of this year the first location I investigated was Syracuse. I started by contacting the Syracuse District Golf Association and asked them what courses they recommended. While I awaited their reply I did a search for hotels in the area. I didn't want just your standard hotel but something a little bit special to make every inch of the trip memorable. One advantage I had was working with 12 golfers so requesting six rooms gave me much better leverage for negotiating a good price.
Baldwinsville, a village on the east side of Syracuse, provides a beautiful canal-side setting for the Red Mill Inn. The Inn used to be flour mill and dates back to the early 1800s. It stayed in operation until 2002 before the mill was moved to a new location. In 2005, a decision was made to convert the mill into what is currently a 32-room inn and conference center. Each of the spacious rooms at the Red Mill Inn features an aged support column or two that adds flavor and keeps the historic feel of the old mill even though the building and decor have been modernized. I had found our place of stay.
An email reply from the Syracuse District Golf Association gave me a nice starting list for obtaining tee times.
Water, water everywhere. The Links at Erie Village hosted our first round and features no less than 16 holes with water identified in play on the scorecard. And who would have thought that I could cross a fairway from the first tee and lose a ball in the water? Make that 17 holes with water in play. The Links at Erie Village is a great track to learn the importance of ball position and maybe to keep the big stick in the bag.
Lafayette Hills was the site of our second day and the "Hills" portion of the course name is very appropriate. The 18-hole championship course is designed by A.W. Tillinghast and Seymour Dunn and sits atop one of the highest points in Onondaga County. Lafayette Hills Golf & Country Club enjoys spectacular views and some severe hills. Quite a contrast from our first round at Erie Village. The back nine will especially challenge everyone's game with a few blind tee shots and a monstrous elevated tee on hole #14.
The Camillus Country Club also has dramatic elevation changes. Add in some extra tough contours to the greens and you're got even more of a problem. And it's not often I get play a 490 yard par 4 from the middle tee blocks and be able to reach the green in two as is the classic 9th hole at Camillus.
Our last round was played at Radisson Greens. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., Radisson Greens is listed as having the 7th highest slope rating in the state of New York. Its tight fairways and numerous bunkers can quickly add strokes to any score. A couple of beautiful par 3s over water provide only temporarily relief from the next tight tee shot.
For four days of quality golf we paid $125 and each game included cart. How's that for a bargain?
Other courses of recommended play were; Green Lakes Golf Course, Turning Stone and Timber Banks.
Green Lakes Golf Course is one of Robert Trent Jones first designs. The Green Lakes golf course opened in 1935 and is located in the Green Lakes State Park. This course is a bit hard to locate information on but I hear it's a beauty.
The Turning Stone Resort and Casino is a much higher end facility and features five championship golf courses. The Turning Stone Resort Championship takes place this year in late September and features some of the top names on the PGA Tour. Last years winner, Dustin Johnson, birdied the final two holes on Sunday to capture a one shot victory over Robert Allenby.
At the time of this writing, Timber Banks, a Jack Nicklaus designed course, had just opened nine holes. This course will undoubtedly become a must play for a future trip.
During our stay in Syracuse we were told not to miss out on a stop at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for some ribs. We tried to make our way through the doors on day #2 but we were told the wait was at least an hour. Apparently this wait occurs on every night of the week. A recommendation from a waiting nearby group suggested we try the Limp Lizard Lounge. Our 12 made the journey and we were delighted with the ribs at our second stop.
Around the corner from the Red Mill Inn was the Lock 24 Seafood & Deli. A spacious wooden outdoor deck wraps around two sides of the building was filled with diners. The setting was perfect for our first evening meal.
For a night of fine dining the we tried the Mohegan Manor. Again, just a block away from the Red Mill Inn and a great way to close out our special four days of golf.
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