The itinerary for September 25th read: Golf at Watkins Glen Golf Course; hiking at Watkins Glen State Park; touring New York’s Farm Sanctuary; and drinking our way around Finger Lakes Wine Country. How our day actually turned out…
Schuyler Medical Center Emergency Room, Watkins Glen, NY – 3 hrs; Cayuga Medical Center Emergency Room, Ithaca, NY – 6 hrs. What a wonderful way to spend a vacation day! Well, there is (hopefully) always September 26th.
September 26th has arrived, we’ve left the ERs’ behind and have arrived at Watkins Glen Golf Course. Still not able to play, we grabbed a cart and bravely made our way to Hole #1 to review this course. The initial drive needs to clear a pond at this uphill. dogleg left, par 4, 316 yard beginning hole. If you are dry and successfully landed on top of the hill, the green awaits your second shot which is better to be short than long and in the bunkers behind the putting surface.
Hole #2 is a short par 3 that requires an airborne shot to avoid the gully that crosses the fairway. I wish I would have had the opportunity to play the third hole. It’s a par 5 of 487 yards (white) that needs a drive to be past (and right of) the tree (and hidden pond); then you have a downhill 2nd (and 3rd) shot to the green while avoiding the front bunker. If you have destroyed this hole, take the time to savor the beauty of Seneca Lake behind the green.
Hole #4 is a lengthy, ascending par 5 with woods paralleling the entire stretch of the left side. The tee shot is blind, but the fairway (which has a slight bend to the left) is very forgiving way out there. As you approach the green, a few trees on the right could cause a bit of bother.
Seneca Lake and the scenery behind the green at Hole #5 can cause a distraction. It is better to miss short at this 159 yard par 3 because any errant long shots might find either bunkers or water. The driveable par 4 sixth hole has a small green and a big pond that may cause trouble if you try to drive the green. Be careful here…or not! It’s best to play Hole #7 from the right side of the fairway. If you successfully fly the gully with your drive, and happen to draw it left, the green is over in that direction but so is a pond that fronts it. Like I said, just slice it to the right!
The looming lake in the distance may give a false sense of the configuration of Hole #8. There is a flag straight ahead in the distance (hole #9) but this hole is a 90 degree dogleg right. Pay close attention to the sign in the fairway that directs you to the correct green. Time to have that big slice/fade working for you at Hole #9. Your tee shot needs to be long enough to clear the trees on the right side of the fairway that create a barrier to the green. If you are successful, you will have a clear shot to the green that uses Seneca Lake as a scenic backdrop. Oh by the way, the lake front may not be in play, but the water guarding the green left and right will easily capture a wayward approach.
Ace: Even though my eye issue prevented me from playing, Dave, the course employee, graciously allowed us to survey this wonderful course on the hillside overlooking Seneca Lake. Since there is so much to do in the Finger Lakes area, I suggest you start with this course – you won’t be disappointed. From there we were able to recreate some of our missed agenda from the day before. Karen was able to tour the Farm Sanctuary even though it was not open this day. An outstanding employee took us on a tour and Karen spent some time with the sheep as they grazed in the pasture. These sanctuaries are home to hundreds of rescued farm animals and worth the time to visit and learn about the plight of these animals. It was then off to Watkins Glen Sate Park and a hike along the Gorge Trail. I wish we could have spent more time in the area but our escapades of the prior day did not permit our other travel adventures.
Watkins Glen International (or “The Glen”) is the famed automobile racetrack located in the area. A must for any racing fan! Lastly, we missed drinking our way around the Finger Lakes Wine Country. Probably a good thing as my medication stated, “do not drink alcoholic beverages when taking this medication; may cause drowsiness; use care when operating a vehicle (Karen drove the golf cart), vessel (no boating for me on Seneca Lake), or machinery (none of this – we are on vacation). If you have never visited upstate New York, start making your plans. A few suggestions – Lodging: Barbara & Tom were excellent hosts at Echoes of the Glen B&B, located on the main street and walking distance to Watkins Glen State Park. Eat & Drink: You can start with a beer at Rooster Fish Brewing and finish with a meal at Wildflower Cafe and The Crooked Rooster Brewpub.
3401 NY-14, Watkins Glen, NY 14891; 607-535-2340; www.watkinsglengolfcourse.com