Over the course of the past few months, we’ve written reviews about a number of different locales in the Northeast.
As you might remember, my time is somewhat limited in this part of the country, but it’s a place I’d dearly love to get to soon. And we’re just about in the sweet spot of fall when the leaves are changing and the mornings are crisp.
Even though the golf season is nearing an end in the Northeast, our readers felt it was the perfect time to write a review of the best public courses in Rochester. That’s because the limited time that’s left in this season is some of the best. Ask and you shall receive. That’s my motto as long as our readers are willing to collaborate.
And that they did.
Eagle Vale is located just a few minutes from downtown Rochester making it easy to get to.
A premier daily fee facility, this course prides itself on providing a private club experience to everyone that plays. Always in immaculate condition, these greens roll fast and true all season.
Even though the course is in an urban area, natural wetlands and wildlife abound. Because of their thoughtful stewardship of the land, the course has earned the certification of a Certified Audubon International Sanctuary.
The course itself is a traditional parkland layout with tree lined fairways and small, sloping greens. Accuracy and precision are the assets you need to score.
It’s no secret why golfers from near and far continue to put Eagle Vale at the top of their lists.
Wildwood Country Club
Ask anyone that plays Wildwood on a regular basis, and they’ll tell you that’s more than a golf course. It’s a complete experience.
Of course, it starts with a layout that’s traditional and parkland. Pine and deciduous trees line the fairways. One of our readers sent me some pictures of this track when the leaves are changing and it’s downright beautiful.
Wildwood isn’t overly long, but it still provides a challenge. Fairways are narrow and the greens are well protected and tough to hit.
In the summer when the course plays firm and fast, stay below the hole at all costs. Failure to do so can result in some high scores.
Aside from great golf, amenities and the restaurant are top shelf. This is the perfect place to gather for a drink after your round, or even bring that special someone for an upscale dinner.
Mill Creek Golf Club
Mill Creek sits on the highest point of land in Monroe County. As such, views of the Rochester skyline to the east, and Finger Lakes to the south are stunning.
The course traverses 320 acres of natural rolling terrain and native fescue grasses.
The layout itself is open. But the wind seems to be a constant factor and the greens are slick. Just because you can hit driver comfortably, doesn’t mean this course is a pushover.
In addition to 18 spectacular holes, the property boasts one of the finest practice facilities in the state and an award-winning instruction academy.
An unparalleled experience awaits at Mill Creek.
Chili Country Club
Chili Country Club has been a favorite for Rochester locals since 1968.
The parkland layout is known for being one of the best conditioned courses in the area. It’s also one of the tougher tracks.
Though not long by modern standards, the fairways are narrow and the greens small. Putting for birdie requires well struck shots from both the tee and into the green.
If you happen to play in the summer when the greens are at their fastest, stay below the hole at all costs. Trying to putt or chip from above is treacherous.
A hidden gem, don’t overlook Chili Country Club.
Arrowhead Golf Course
Arrowhead is located just a short drive from both Buffalo and Rochester.
A newer design, this course has quickly garnered a reputation as a premier facility in Western New York.
Bent grass fairways and greens are some of the purest surfaces you’ll play off anywhere. It’s hard to make excuses for poor shots out here.
What also makes this place attractive is the price. During the week you can play here for as little as $32 including a cart.
The Links at Woodcliff
Even though the Links at Woodcliff is only nine holes, it’s been one of the region’s favorite courses for more than 30 years.
The course is surrounded by miles of wooded forests, so you’ll feel like you’re far removed from the city. Fortunately, the first tee is just a short walk from the hotel and spa making access easy.
The layout features some significant elevation changes that make picking the right club important.
Along with great golf, the hotel and spa make for a complete experience at Woodcliff.
Lima Country Club – Charleston Pines Course
The Charleston Pines Course at Lima Country Club opened for play in 1962. It was designed by John S. Checho Sr.
Even though the course is an older layout, it measures almost 7,000 from all the way back. Fortunately, there are four other sets of tees to choose from.
The course meanders through a mature pine forest. Narrow fairways move both left and right, so accuracy and precision from the tee are a must.
A pleasant mix of both long and short holes afford ample opportunity for risk and reward. Choose your spots carefully.
A solid test for golfers of all abilities, Charleston Pines won’t disappoint.
Lima Country Club – Island Oaks Course
John Checho Jr. was the mastermind behind the Island Oaks Course at Lima Country Club.
Opened in 1995, this track is significantly shorter than Charleston Pines. It measures just 6,100 yards from the back tees.
What this course lacks in length though, it more than makes up for in character. Rolling topography, water hazards, and undulating greens make Island Oaks both challenging and fun to play.
When you finish your round, be sure to save time for a bite in the Restaurant. The menu is full of delectable options to satisfy any appetite.
Buttonwood Golf Course
A course doesn’t have to measure 8,000 yards to be fun and challenging. That’s exactly the case at Buttonwood.
This 18-hole par three course doesn’t require a tee time. Just show up and play.
Holes range from 100-150 yards, so this is the perfect spot to work on your short irons and wedges.
The atmosphere is relaxed. Come as you are and enjoy yourself.
Buttonwood is the perfect spot for families and beginners that don’t want the pressure of playing a full-length course and the trappings that come along.
Webster Golf Club
Just a few miles from the city, you’ll find Webster Golf Club. This course is set in the New York countryside. The setting is beautiful.
Webster dates to 1959 and its age is reflected in the layout. The fairways are tree lined and narrow. The greens are small and undulating. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the hole, you’ll be faced with some quick putts.
Over the years, this track has hosted numerous prestigious events like U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open qualifiers. It’s a good test, even for the lowest of handicaps.
The facility also boasts a first-rate banquet facility complete with a wide array of food options to suit parties of any size.
One of the most underrated courses in the state, don’t miss out on Webster Golf Club.
The mornings are starting to have a hint of fall in the air in the Rochester area. The leaves are beginning to change, and it won’t be long before fairways are covered in white instead of green.
With that being said, this just might be the best time of year to play golf in the Northeast. Kids are back in school, and the courses are much less crowded than they are all summer.
If you find yourself in the Rochester area before the snow flies, be sure to bring your golf clubs. There are plenty of quality options to choose from.
As always, the guide was made possible by the input from our loyal readers. Thanks to all of you that contributed your thoughts.
If you have more you’d like to add about golf in Rochester, please let us know in the comments.