Turning Stone Resort offers golfers a variety of golf courses but their crown jewel is Atunyote Golf Club. The championship course played host to the PGA Tour's Turning Stone Resort Championship from 2007-2010 and more recently has hosted Notah Begay's Fundraiser which brought in big names from the PGA and LPGA Tour. There's a reason Atunyote hosted these events, it's a great golf course.
When I called to make my tee time (about 18 hours before I played) I asked if there was a problem getting out. I was told there would be no problem...they only had five tee times scheduled for the day. I was speechless. A Saturday morning round at a public course and it wouldn't be bunched up with slow play? I booked a 7:30am tee time and slept with a smile on my face.
Atunyote Golf Club at Turning Stone
After driving past the entrance to Atunyote twice, I managed to find the little sign and driveway to enter the golf club. I pulled up an was greeted by a magnificent gate that I wish I had taken a picture of. As the gate opened, I began the mile drive from entrance to clubhouse passing a few holes along the way. It's a beautiful ride and it gave me an appreciation for the Audubon Sanctuary the course was carve out of. Finally, I reach the clubhouse.
When I'm paying $200 for a round of golf (in Upstate New York no less) I expect to be treated like I'm the only golfer at the club. I was the only golfer at the club and I was treated that way. I was welcomed and told about the the facility: where I could find the driving range, first tee, locker room and anything else I needed. I was literally the only golfer but the crews were hard at work making sure Atunyote was ready for anyone playing. I was shocked considering they had 11 golfers (including myself) on the sheet for the day. The workers outnumbered the golfers, something I had never seen before.
Atunyote Golf Club: The Golf Course
The first thing I noticed about the course is the length. Atunyote Golf Club offers four sets of tees ranging from 6,069 (Gold) to 7,315 yards (Black). I considered being brave but thought teeing it up from the White tees at 6,561 and 71.6/131 would make for a more enjoyable round.
The course was in near perfect condition. Starting with the first hole and ending with the 18th, I didn't see a brown patch, scuffed green, water filled bunker... it was perfect. The greens rolled true and quick. The bunkers were deep but filled with soft sand. The rough was thick and forced me to think about what club to play. At times a long iron out of the rough was not always possible.
My 3 Favorite Holes
3. The 18th Hole (Bald Eagle): The 18th hole is a long par 5 with water running the entire length on the right and a few fairway bunkers along the left. The PGA Tour plays it at 598 yards, I played it closer to 550. A good tee shot into the fairway, lay up and solid approach (see my ball in the first picture) allowed me to finish with a birdie 4.
2. The 14th Hole (American Kestral): I like this hole for the scenery. The waterfall (pictured above) can be a distraction if your tee shot is to the left side of the fairway. Stay right and there is plenty of green to work with. The hole plays 385 from the tips, I played it closer to 350 and walked away with a par.
1. The 12th Hole (Spotted Sandpiper): I can't believe this was my favorite after making a snowman here. This hole plays the opposite of the 18th with water running along the right side. The left rough, where I hit my tee shot, is thick and I couldn't find my ball. After reteeing I was able to make "par" from the 500 yard tee box. A short approach lands in the water, over the green runs off the back to a collection area and your chip from behind the green will run away from you.
If you have the opportunity to play here don't pass it up. The golf course receives doesn't receive regular play so it's in great shape and you won't have to worry about being held up by slow play. If possible, take advantage of the replay rate. A regular round is $200 and you can replay for $100. If you want to replay at Shenendoah or Kaluhyat it will only cost you $50 where it's regularly $125.
What: Atunyote Golf Club at Turning Stone
Where: Verona, New York
Why: Three great championship golf courses. Take advantage of the replay specials!
Facility: Clubhouse, Locker room, Driving Range, Practice Facility, Restaurant/bar
Play Again: Save up for a special round and play Atunyote. If you have the time, make it a 36-hole day.