The magical morning at Monroe involved touring a course where Ross and his team — which included a young Robert Trent Jones Sr., according to the club website — used sand beneath the ground and the flow of a ridgeline to create enduring variety. Monroe grips members, guests, visitors and employees. Delly grew up working on the course, returned as assistant superintendent in 2006 and became just the fifth superintendent in club history following the tragic death of Mark Hughes in 2007. He understands the responsibilities of the job, thus the tremendous pride and satisfaction he exudes when describing what his team has achieved in 2020. “This has been the best turf of my career,” he says while staring at the 18th green.
Skaneateles Country Club’s surroundings contrast the suburban setting of Monroe and a new maintenance facility represents a dream instead of reality. Skaneateles (which is pronounced more like “Skinny Atlas”) takes the name of the 16-mile Skaneateles Lake, the easternmost of upstate New York’s charming Finger Lakes. Only one hole, the par-3 first, features an up-close view of the lake. A clubhouse, marina and picnic ground occupy the club’s lakefront property.
Superintendent Alan Hammond operates a crew based in two maintenance facilities. Equipment is stored in a former airplane hangar parallel to the fourth hole and maintained in a shop near the 11th tee. The annoyance hasn’t slowed Hammond or his team. In just three seasons as superintendent, Hammond has added short grass near greens, expanded fairways and the practice area turf, removed trees, increased the amount of bentgrass in fairways, bolstered the topdressing program, and developed an energetic staff.
The chance to tell an upcoming story about the restoration of the East Course at Oak Hill served as the impetus for this entire trip. Starting a sunny Monday morning at Oak Hill touring the course with manager of golf courses and grounds Jeff Corcoran and club officials offered an inside and candid look at the restoration process, agronomy and club management. In short, a course roamed by every giant of the men’s game over the last seven decades has reached a new level of greatness.
The sun continued into the afternoon as I entered Terry Hills Golf Course by turning between a miniature golf course and a red barn. I had no idea the red barn doubles as the maintenance facility until calling superintendent Thad Thompson from the parking lot. Thompson walked outside and greeted my arrival with a friendly wave. I was a bit surprised to learn the maintenance facility lurked at the entrance of the property. The high-profile location means Thompson must always factor red paint into the budget.
Terry Hills is a 27-hole family-owned course. Golf outings and weddings account for a significant portion of the business, so uncertainty reigned as spring stretched into summer. Like thousands of daily-fee facilities, Terry Hills received a boost from renewed golf interest. Located between Buffalo and Rochester, golfers from New York’s second- and third-largest cities are flocking to Terry Hills and they will likely keep coming until it’s too cold to swing a club.