Robert Trent Jones Snr designed the course at
Crag Burn Golf Club with half the holes routed through dense forest and the
other half laid out around open meadowland.
I believe it's fair to say The Empire States has the greatest depth of private clubs in America. However, the bulk of them are in the greater New York City area and are often found either on Long Island or Westchester County. Many may not view Western New York as a golf haven but there are a few layouts of special note worth checking out.
Opened in 1969 and the handiwork of Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Crag Burn is not your typical Jones course with massive tees and bunkers ending with greens equally large and not particularly noteworthy. The work from Jones here is more subdued -- allowing the terrain to be the star and with the architect applying just a bit of design make-up to this natural beauty.
The fescue grasses provide plenty of separation between the holes and the routing from Jones keeps players on their toes -- never relying upon sameness makes for an entertaining day of club selection at all times.
If Crag Burn were closer to the New York City area it's likely it might get even less attention given the sheer number of heavyweight courses in that area. Unlike Oak Hill in Rochester which is the only upstate New York course to really make its mark among the State's top ten -- Crag Burn is far more than a sleeper and deserves a far better fate in terms of recognition and stature.
Anyone venturing through the Buffalo area had best be advised to keep the golf clubs nearby. Crag Burn is a private club but if an invitation can be secured you will find your time there well worth spending. Jones designed a good number of courses globally and Crag Burn will often be on the sidelines of the headline ones. But make no mistake the design Jones provided clearly is a bit beyond many of those other courses that have garnered way too much press at the expense of others -- most notably Crag Burn.
by M. James Ward