Some naysayers have grumbled that Pebble Beach only receives such high levels of praise because it sits on rather prized property. If that were the case, Niagara Falls Country Club wouldn’t mind being just a few miles south of its current location! Still, a position near one of the world’s great landmarks is to be celebrated, and the club’s logo represents the falling waters of the title town nicely.
The designer who created the course is known for features almost as fearsome as the club’s namesake. That man, A.W. Tillinghast, laid the foundation for the course, which has since been revisited in turn by Robert Trent Jones, Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva. Speaking of Pebble Beach and frightening features, the par three at No. 7 may trump even No. 17 at the U.S. Open host for intimidation. Itself an hourglass-shaped green, the 185-yard hole is surrounded by five sizable sand hazards.
Competitors at the Porter Cup, one of amateur golf’s great competitions, have faced down the hole on a yearly basis since 1959. Among the winners have been Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson, and David Duval.
Niagara Falls Country Club is most known for being the host of the annual Porter Cup. The Porter Cup is an annual amateur event that attracts the best men and women golfers to the course each summer. Winners of the men’s Porter Cup event include Ben Crenshaw, David Duval and Phil Mickelson.
Located in Lewiston, NY and just a mere two-minute drive from the US-Canada border crossing at Queenston-Lewiston the club house offers spectacular views of the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and on clear days Toronto, Ontario. The clubhouse is well worth taking a walk around, it has a lot of history with many famous golfers from their amateur days, including details and pictures of people such as Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and more.
The golf course was designed by A.W. Tillinghast and is set up on the escarpment but is on a mostly flat piece of land, above the City of Lewiston, NY. The front nine occupies the eastern side of the course and the back nine on the West crosses two roads to complete the routing.
The front nine starts with a gentle handshake of a hole, a fairly straightforward Par 4. From there the golf course starts to get a little bit more exciting and tough. The Par 4 2nd hole was one of my favourites on the front nine. A mid length Par 4 with a tough approach shot to a perched green surrounded by bunkers and a small fairly sloped green.
The rest of the front nine wasn’t really much to write home about, however the Par 3 7th hole was quite nice. A challenging short one shot hole that was once again well-guarded by bunkers and had a fairly sloped green to deal with as well.
The back nine gets much more exciting starting on the 12th hole. Here a great one-shot Par 3 over a creek, to a small green, challenges the golfer to make a heroic one shot for a chance at a birdie. Leave the ball below the hole for any chance at birdie. After crossing the first road to get to the Par 4 14th the golfer is greeted with a nice Par 4 where a large circular putting surface offers a great chance at birdie. To get to the Par 4 15th one must cross another road. Here the golfer can choose to hit a short layup shot and then a short iron or even wedge to get home OR they can choose to rip driver and bomb it over the corner to get close to the green. After playing 15 a clever but also strange routing means that the golfer should tee off on 17 before proceeding to play the 16th hole. 16 is a long Par 3 that offers a glimpse of the Niagara gorge and Lake Ontario in the back left corner of the property. After playing 16 you will walk directly out to the fairway on 17 and proceed to complete this hole. Strange but clever to save time!
The finishing hole at Niagara Falls Country Club is the signature hole. A spectacular par 3 that is surrounded by a large number of bunkers and has a fairly slopping green to deal with. A birdie to finish my round left a huge smile on my face.
Overall, a great place to play a round of golf. A very affordable greens fee and a friendly atmosphere make this a lovely time.