Down The Fairway: Windy Hills offers scenic, challenging day on course
Windy Hills Golf Course was a pleasant surprise for my cousin, Scott, and I as we enjoyed a pleasant round of vacation golf this week.
We didn’t get much wind, thank goodness, but we did experience plenty of the hills on this scenic course just off Route 29 in Greenwich.
Many of the holes — especially midway through the round — featured breathtaking scenery. Elevation changes kept us on our toes, and we had to make numerous educated guesses on club selection to both elevated and downhill greens.
If you expect Windy Hills to be a soft touch, think again. There are plenty of challenges on this course, which plays to a very deceiving 6,023 yards from the white tees and 5,325 from the gold. Many of the holes play much longer than their yardages due to the severe elevation changes. The greens rolled true, and despite a lack of rain, most of the fairways were in excellent shape. Another nice feature of this place is that a majority of the fairways are plenty wide to
accommodate the occasional sprayed tee shot.
But be warned. Unless you have played this course before, there are many tricky holes that can mess up your scorecard. It would be wise to scout the green before trying your blind approach shots on many of the dogleg holes.
Big hitters can pull out their drivers on the front nine, which includes three hefty par-5s of 523, 545 and 485 yards. Although the back nine begins with another
par-5 measuring 515 yards, shorter par-4s and challenging
par-3s take over the spotlight as you make your way back toward the clubhouse. Two of those par-3s, the 13th and 15th holes, share the same green.
If you are not in the best of shape, it would be wise to take a motorized golf cart for this course, although
you might miss some of the fantastic views if you rush through your round.
Pricing is excellent, both during the week and on weekends, with numerous specials available. On Mondays, you can play 18 holes with cart for just $22, while you can get 18 holes, golf and lunch for $34 on Tuesdays. Wednesday through Friday, prices range from $25 to $30 for 18 holes with cart, while on weekends, it costs $38 with cart.
“Part of the property was a gravel pit, originally,” said owner/manager Karen Kehn, whose daughter, Susan,
runs the restaurant, and whose other daughter, Katie, does all the fine-tuning around the course.
“We opened in 1995. We built the back nine first by buying five different pieces of land. We bought 200 acres overall, but the first 86 acres was the original course. Part of one of the nines doesn’t have the character of the other, but I think every hole is different and challenging. I think the elevation changes are the key to the course.
“On the fourth hole, everything changes as far as the type of holes you will see and the scenery. I think most people are surprised by what they see when they come here,” Kehn said. “But we’re laid-back people. We let the people come to us, and we don’t necessarily go out and try to bring them in. Once they are here, however, I think they will be pleasantly surprised.”
The course superintendent, who like everyone else in the business is desperate for more rain, is constantly trying to improve the place, and you can see evidence of that with a newly built tee on the ninth hole.
And don’t forget to stop by the clubhouse for something to eat. Susan Kehn has a degree in the restaurant/service business, and her cooking is outstanding.
I recommend Windy Hills for a day of challenging yet fair golf at a modest price. Call 695-4902 for tee times.
STILL A GEM
The Arthur Carter Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course is still one of the best public courses in the region.
Designed by famed architecht Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1938,
Amsterdam Muny still offers a
special mix of challenge and fun.
We stopped by the course on Monday and had a sensational day on the links.
Fortunately, Amsterdam had just received some much-needed rain the night before, and it helped soften what had become some very hard fairways.
Head pro Joe Merendo showed off the alterations on the featured 15th hole, which took a major hit during the flooding last year. The stones near the creek have added quite a lot to what is the most memorable hole on the course. It’s one of the better risk-reward holes in the region. Only the big hitters dare try to hit their tee shots over the creek to leave a shorter shot to an elevated green, but the fairway slopes dramatically from left to right, making it difficult to keep your shot away from the rough or off the course completely.
Merendo said new cart paths are in the works any day now, and that’s good news on a course that is very hilly. You can walk this layout, but you better be in top condition like my friend, Doug Hopkins, who refused a cart during our latest trip. Heartbreak hill is too much for most of us.
WHAT’S IN THE BAG
We all make sure we have our 14 clubs in the bag along with tees, plenty of golf balls, a towel, maybe an umbrella and a jacket. But there are times when we guys need a little bit extra.
La Fresh products has just the cute little package to help golfers freshen up and avoid sun problems and bugs during the warm weather.
The new La Fresh Lite Golf Pack includes an all-natural
biodegradeable insect repellent, a few sunscreen towlettes, two shoe shine towelettes to clean off mud and scuff marks from your favorite golf shoes and two deodorant towelettes for men to help you freshen up.
The La Fresh Lite Golf Pack is very small and comes in handy. For more information, check out www.-lafreshgroup.com.
u The Peter Famiano Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 9,
at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. There will be a continental breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by a scramble with a shotgun start at 9. There will be gross and net winners. The cost is $300 per foursome, and includes green fees, cart, continental breakfast and buffet following golf. Interested golfers can sign up by calling Bob Pezzano at 346-9297 before Aug. 24. The tournament will be limited to 30 foursomes. The event is held in honor of Peter Famiano, a member of the Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame.
u Winners of the Rotterdam Elks Junior Golf Tournament at Schenectady Municipal included Connor and Kyle Adams in the boys’ 12-14 division, who both shot a 79 before Connor took first in a four-hole playoff; Jimmy Hamilton (76) and Andrew Cyr (92) in the boys’
15-16 division; Ryan Corbitt (98) and Cody Skeals (110) in the boys’ 17-18 division; and Emma Ward (80) in the girls’ 15-16 division.
u The Mohawk Golf Club Member-Guest, one of the area’s oldest and most prestigious events, concludes today.
u The Capital District Women’s Open, one of the featured partners event for local players, is set for Monday and Tuesday at Ballston Spa Country Club.
u The Gazette’s 15th annual Capital Region Newspaper in Education Junior Golf Tournament is scheduled for Aug. 3 at Schenectady Municipal. Entry fee is $35 for the
8 a.m. shotgun event, which includes lunch and prizes. The competition will be divided into the boys’ 12-14, boys’ 15-18 and girls’ 12-18 age divisions, with gross and net prizes in both. Entry deadline is Monday.
u The annual Fulton County YMCA Golf Tournament will be held July 30 at Hales Hills in Johnstown. The four-person scramble begins with a 1 p.m. shotgun. Entry fee is $100, and includes golf, dinner, refreshments and prizes. Call 848-3447 for more information.
u Rolling Hills at Antlers Country Club will host the Eastern New York Golf Association event on Wednesday.
u Local pros will play in the Center for the Disabled Pro-Am Monday at Albany Country Club.
u Scott Berliner of Normanside Country Club (22nd, 218, $1,325) was the top local player at this week’s New York State Open on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. Joey Fitzsimmons of Mill Road Acres, Don DeNyse of Capital Hills at
Albany, Justin Deitz of The Edison Club, Frank Mellet and Ian Breen of Colonie Golf & Country Club and Scott Battiste of Eagle Crest failed to make the cut.
u The seventh annual golf tournament to benefit Amanda’s House, a home away from home for families of patients at Glens Falls Hospital, will be held Aug. 5 at Country Meadows, a 14-hole executive course on Route 149 between Fort Ann and Lake George. Entry fee for the four-person scramble is $25, and includes a buffet after golf. There will be a 3 p.m. shotgun start. For more information, contact Country Meadows.
u The inaugural Puttin’ for Kids golf fundraiser to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, will be held Friday.
Entry fee for the four-person scramble at Western Turnpike Golf Club is $500 per foursome, and includes golf, cart, breakfast, lunch, a hot and cold buffet after golf and a gift bag. Contact Joe Trapasso at 348-0870 for more information.
u The 14th annual Glenville
Rotary Golf Classic will be held
Aug. 2 at Van Patten Golf Course. Entry fee for the four-person scramble is $100, and includes a snack at the turn and lunch. Call John Weldon at 399-0048 or 596-0320.
Steve Ostrander holed out with a 5-hybrid on the 146-yard 17th hole at Eagle Crest.
Don Daley eagled the par-4 16th hole with a driver and a wedge while playing in the Frog Island league at Mechanicville Golf Club.
Gary Graham eagled the 18th hole at Amsterdam Municipal.