Preparing for this year’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and a return of the PGA Championship in 2023, Rochester, New York stands proudly as one of America’s premier golfing destinations.
ROCHESTER, NY (April 2019) — For a modest city adorning the southern shore of Lake Ontario in western New York, Rochester has long stood as one of America’s most avid golfing cities, steeped in the game’s history and traditions.
The seven-county area that makes up the Rochester District Golf Association (RDGA) — extending up to Lake Ontario, down into the Finger Lakes region, and midway to both Buffalo and Syracuse — boasts 66 golf courses, about half of which are accessible for public play.
RDGA Executive Director Tim Vangellow said the quality of golf in Rochester extends from the most exclusive private clubs to the least expensive public facilities.
“Golf really is the major sport here in Rochester,” Vangellow said. “You can play high-quality courses in Rochester for an affordable price. The number of options and affordable courses that are available make this a great place to play golf.”
Rochester will enjoy golf’s spotlight again this year, when one of the game’s major events, the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, returns to venerable Oak Hill Country Club from May 21-26.
In 2023, the PGA Championship will be contested at Oak Hill for the fourth time. Oak Hill is the only club in the United States to have hosted all six of the men’s major championships that move around the country, including the U.S. Open, Amateur and Senior Open, and the Ryder Cup.
“Having Oak Hill in Rochester, we have major golf events seemingly every decade or more,” said Vangellow, who has served as RDGA executive director for the past eight years. “That keeps us at the center of the golf world. Golf in Rochester is a very big deal and we are blessed with a strong local golf community.”
When Bryan Karns, the Championship Director for the KitchenAid Senior PGA attended the RDGA spring meeting last year, he told Vangellow that as they approach most events, his staff is typically working hard to find volunteers.
Not so with Rochester, where all the volunteer spots were filled within six weeks.
“He said it was astonishing to see how there was no struggle to find volunteers,” Vangellow said. “It shows the level of support of golf we have in Rochester.”
One of golf course architecture’s most legendary figures, Donald Ross, designed more than half-dozen around the Rochester area, including both layouts at Oak Hill, the Country Club of Rochester, Monroe GC, Irondequoit CC and Brook-Lea CC, which hosts an annual Symetra Tour event, the Danielle Downey Classic.
“We have a pretty amazing collection of Donald Ross designs that are very close together, all within 20 minutes of each other,” Vangellow said. “That’s one of the nice things about Rochester. We don’t have the bad traffic jams or huge long distances. Everything is quite easy to get to and very convenient.”
Among a very small sampling of the most memorable and highly regarded public access golf layouts around Rochester are The Links at Greystone, Ravenwood Golf Club, Shadow Lake and Mill Creek. “But I can’t stress enough that the list goes on and on,” Vangellow said. “The vast number of really great, high-quality daily fee courses we have in the area is what sets Rochester apart from other golf destinations.”
“You do not have to join a club to be a very avid golfer to do a lot of great golfing in Rochester,” Vangellow said. “You could literally play a different course every week and have a great, cost-effective experience.”
Learn more about Rochester golf and playing options at VisitRochester.com/golf.
*** Photo Courtesy to Rochester District Golf Association Facebook Page ***