Grossinger Country Club
127 Grossinger Road
Liberty, NY 12754
OK, so the hotel at Grossingers may be waiting renovation but the golf course is alive and well! Grossinger is continues to be a beautiful country oasis and is among the elite golf courses in the Catskills – and it is perhaps the best design work of Houston architect Joe Finger.
Surprisingly Joe Finger didn’t follow his design mentor Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and go the Texas Big route in designing Grossinger’s “Big G” golf course. Instead, he took an exceptional piece of land with natural elevation changes, lakes, creeks, hardwood trees and wonderfully created it to reward ball flight and touch rather than excessive power and distance.
Like Finger’s other Hudson Valley masterpiece course, the Concord Monster, each nine tee at Grossinger starts on a hill and works down into the valley and then back up to the top of the hill. Many holes have bends – most are right to left that go around bunkers and challenging water hazards. Add the the changes in elevation come all manner of up, down and sidehill lies. If you plan to score at Grossinger, you better have control of your ball from the tee to any uneven lies.
Golfers really like the risk-reward par fives, all within reach of well-placed drives, but are loaded with danger and water hazards that are in front of many of the greens. The most unforgetable–and one of the most challenging holes in the Catskill area– is the 13th hole, one of the first original holes to have an island green.
While your are at Grossinger, you might consider checking out the Vista course. This golf course is part of the original nine holes which was opened in 1925. This is said to be designed by legendary A.W. Tillinghast. It most certainly has a Tillinghast feel with its tabletop greens which are guarded by flashed up bunkers.
|Golf Course Information|
|Number of Holes||18|
|Weekdays After 2:30 PM||$45.00|
|Weekends &amp; Holidays||$85.00|
|Weekends &amp; Holidays After 2:30 PM||$55.00|
|Carts Extra Per Golfer||Included|
|Walking Permitted||Not permitted|
|Golf Discounts||Check web site for course specials|
|Hudson Valley Golf Pass||Yes|
|Annual Membership Available||Yes (contact club for details)|
According to Active Golf:
Grossinger’s is still a beautiful country oasis among the elite courses in the Catskills – perhaps the best work of Houston architect Joe Finger. Surprisingly Finger didn’t follow his mentor Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and go Texas Big in designing Grossinger’s. Rather he took a blessed piece of land with natural elevation changes, lakes, creeks, hardwood trees and wonderfully routed it to reward ball flight and touch rather than brute power and distance. If that sounds a little like pre-Tiger Augusta National when guys like Fuzzy Zoeller, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Jose-Maria Olazabal deftly worked their way around the course with precision and putting, there is an apparent similarity.
The most obvious Augusta resemblance is the risk-reward par fives. All three are reachable with well-placed drives, but loaded with danger and water hazards in front of the greens. The most memorable of the par fives and one of the most recognizable holes in the area is the 13th – one of the original holes to have an island green. But before you get to the green there is the tee shot over a creek 220 yards away to a narrow sliver of fairway framed by a lake on one side and a bunker on the other. It’s a special hole that can be a relatively easy par if you play safely…but if you tempt the island green, any score is possible.
The 13th is part of a back-and-forth row of holes that is anything but pedestrian. Unlike parallel holes which usually lack identity, this foursome is among the best set of holes anywhere, personified by a running creek, narrow landing areas and well-guarded greens.
With two of the holes risk-reward par fives, you can pick up strokes during this stretch or have a round implode. That’s the beauty of Grossinger’s in general – every hole can be as easily parred as it can be bogeyed. On the front nine, holes 3, 4 and 6 also provide opportunities to play aggressively around water hazards and profit with birdies. But such an investment can also sink with bogeys and more with slightly errant shots. Technology has eliminated some of the risk on these holes as today’s clubs and balls can now carry some of the fairway bunkers and water hazards that previously had to be played around. Fortunately, director of golf Todd Barker had the foresight to see this evolution and built two new back tees on holes No. 16 and No. 18 to bring trouble back into some of the landing areas.
Like Finger’s other Catskill masterpiece, the Concord Monster, each nine at Grossinger’s starts atop a hill works down into a valley and then back to the top of the hill. Many holes bend – most right to left – around bunkers and water hazards. With the changes in elevation come all kinds of uphill, downhill and side hill lies. If you’re going to score at Grossinger’s, you must have control of your ball from uneven lies. A quick tip: take more club, choke up and aim to the right when the ball is above your feet. Use less club and aim to the left when the ball is below your feet.
Similarly, the greens at Grossinger’s are sloped and very quick in spots. There was a time in the late 1980s when the greens were so fast, players in the New York State Open had trouble breaking par – for a winning score. But the greens were also very grainy back then and slightly inconsistent. Thanks to a commitment by longtime superintendent Mike McNamara to eliminate the grain, the greens are now silky smooth.
When you think that Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Lee Elder, Joey Sindelar, Jim Thorpe, George Burns and other winners on the PGA Tour have all played The Big G, the realization becomes clear: great courses attract great players.
Golf Digest rates the Big G four stars out of five, eliciting such comments as “the best public course in New York state” and “back nine takes your breath away” from the panelists.
While at Grossinger’s, you might want to check out the Little G or old Vista course. This is part of the original nine holes opened in 1925, believed to be designed by
legendary A.W. Tillinghast course. It certainly has a Tillinghast feel with table top greens guarded by flashed up bunkers.
Top three reasons to play Grossinger’s
1. Unsurpassed beauty
2. You will use every club in your bag
I have played Grossinger Country Club and I think it is one of the finest courses I have ever played. It is beautiful and serene. The course is playable for almost every golfer and yet as challenging as you want it to be. The views are wonderful and the course outstanding. If you have never played here do yourself a favor and make a tee time today for it truly is one of the finest courses in the area.
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