Laid out on a hilly, 325-acre woodland site, the old course at the Country Club of Troy was Walter Travis’s final design. Recently extended during restoration work by Renaissance Golf Design, it’s still short by modern day standards.
“This hidden gem up the Hudson from New York City traverses some steep hills, commented Tom Doak in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, “but Travis’ wonderful set of greens make it worth the hike. Their combination of serious internal contours and the general tilt of the land can make deciphering putts quite difficult. Bruce Hepner has done his best to restore the bunkering to the same standard as the greens, and to thin out the trees so the golfer’s eye can enjoy the variety of contour he must tackle.”
When people think of New York they often view things from the perspective of the New York City metro area which encompasses the immediate surrounding counties and all of Long Island.
Unquestionably, the Empire State has the greatest depth of private golf courses in all of the United States. But, what is often overlooked is the quality of other private clubs scattered about the State.
CC of Troy was the final design of Walter Travis. Sadly, he never did see his handiwork because he passed prior to the club's opening in 1927.
The course is situated on 175 acres of beautiful rolling terrain. There is no interference or eye clutter with housing or other such distractions.
The routing is exceptional and is assisted mightily by an array of perplexing and magical putting green complexes. Through the involvement of architect Bruce Hepner the surrounding area adjacent to the greens are closely mown so natural fall-offs are routinely faced. There are also several with false fronts that must be negotiated with utmost care.
To the club's immense credit they have not seen fit to abort the clear Travis connection as others clubs have done via softening green contours or bulldozing fairways to create flat / boring landing areas.
Troy also has blind shots throughout the round and they are a real hoot to play. The 2nd shot at the par-5 4th is quite good. The uphill then downhill par-4 9th is stellar and features a green site of razor-sharp clarity.
Two superb par-4's can be found at the uphill 5th -- with a stately tree protecting the advantageous left side of the fairway. There's also the devilish short par-4 6th -- the landing area bending to the left and showcasing a tapered fairway that will reject the rash bold play that is not carefully executed. The long par-3 12th that comes next is a fantastic addition since the length of the hole was even longer to play in the era of balls and clubs of that era.
The par-4 16th is one of favorites. The drive is tested -- working the ball to the right is the best play. The approach must be letter perfect -- especially when the pin is cut in two knobs to both the rear left and right side.
Troy does have some weaknesses -- the par-3 2nd and 15th are fairly similar although both are designed well. The former with its pearl of sand protecting the putting surface and the latter with is turtleback green that will repel all but the surest of plays. The club, in my mind, would also benefit in stretching 1-2 of the par-4s so that a lengthier approach shot would be in the mixture of holes.
Hepner is still assisting the club with its bunkering and I can only hope several additional bunkers are added to deal with the gains made in equipment technology. My advocacy of such inclusion is not to make the course harder per se, but in reinforcing the original intent Travis provided.
For those who get to the Albany area -- a round at Troy is one to savor. Interestingly, not too far north is Glens Falls which is a stellar Donald Ross layout. Other Travis courses have received their rightful fanfare with the likes of Scranton and Hollywood, to name just two. Troy clearly merits the attention of the connoisseur golfer.
M. James Ward