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Edition #004 will feature all the courses in Central New York. You’ll find out which course ranks as the best and why. Find out what kind of golf to expect and what to enjoy or what to look out for when you play. Let’s do it.
CNY Courses Highly Rated
Central New York has some of the best courses not only because of the great people at the parks, or the generous volunteers, the club, or the brilliant design of it’s makers, but for the majestic natural landscape.
Rated #6 in CNY Established: 1998 Baskets
Many of the old-time CNY players played their first disc golf here as this is the course with the longest history. Started out as a yellow wooden-pole course in 1977, and still has the sign, “Frisbee Golf Course”, because back then, discs as we know them were not even invented yet! Converted to a basket course in 1998.
Pluses- Great for learning the game, practicing approach shots or winter play. Also good when you only have a little bit of time. Beach, park and lake are awesome. Deer come out at dusk.
Minuses- Having only 9, non-sanctioned baskets eliminates it from holding PDGA events. Natural teepads are worn and without concrete, conditions are bad, especially in the spring or anytime it rains. Baskets have sharp edges that beat up the discs. It can get crowded at times, and has gotten even EASIER since the old Labor Day storm and more recent developements of tree removal by the parks. Park fee or State Pass during season. Shared park.
Rated #5 in CNY Established: 2003
Jamesville Beach is the first PDGA sanctioned course in Onondaga County. A course that can become extremely windy in the wide open but otherwise offers a variety of lengthy holes mixed with average length and several blind throws. You can learn alot in the wind, and the course demands power and accuracy to score low.
Pluses- Enjoyable view and not as demanding on your body as some of the other courses. Learn to putt and drive in the wind. Baskets usually left in year round. Teepads help you stay consistant on your drives and allows you to play in just about any weather. Play disc golf and enjoy the beach as well.
Minuses- Sometimes too windy and also a shared park as other people can be on the course. Very sunny as you won’t find much shade. Parts of the course is a dog park as well so small delays can occur as we all co-exist at the Beach. Events close the course temporarily and there’s a fee or park pass during the season.
Why Jamesville was rated above Green Lakes: A no brainer. Jamesville Beach is a real course with 18 sanctioned baskets. Green Lakes is a converted pitch and putt.
Rated #4 in CNY Established 2008
Clay Park is a course with a variety of challenges. Woods play a big role but a few open holes balances out a well rounded layout. CNY’s newest course is turning into a gem. You’ll need all componants of your game to be sharp in order to score low.
Pluses: So many holes where there could be problems helps you work on your mental toughness, as any type of shot can come into play on your recovery throws. Shade gives you a break from the sun on alot of holes. No fee to play or enter the park. Peaceful, and enjoyable with all the nature and animal activity.
Minus: Bad luck here can be punishing. Can be wet and mushy in places as you go through the course but is improving. Wires come into play and there’s a couple of long walks connecting holes, making it difficult for first time players to negotiate. Shared park. Skeeters!
Why Clay Park is rated higher than Jamesville Beach: For just the golf, Clay has more variety and is not as one-dimensional as the Beach. A different game for sure, but Clay will improve your overall game more than Jamesville.
Rated #3 in CNY Established 2006
Emerson Park is a solid course with a great view and many challenges. Wind can be a huge factor on the front 9 and on the back you need technical shots in the woods. A small pond adds to the fun of playing Cayuga County’s first course.
Pluses: Improve your wind game and your technical shots in the woods. Learn to play mandos as well as near and over water. Shoot into and out of the woods. Stay inbounds and miss the right trees. Practice your mental game. Emerson Park is a championship calibur course with concrete teepads and variable winds.
Minuses: Again, a course that can be too windy at times. Water problems on the course minimal but improving. Park fee or pass to enter during season. Occasional soccer game on hole #17,( Golfers need to graciously co-exist and play am tees on 17 when this happens).
Why Emerson is rated higher than Clay Park: First the teepads but also the views of the lake make it more scenic. Emerson is a more finished product and has a better course flow. Pond, mandos and woods holes give the edge to Emerson.
Rated #2 in CNY Established 2000
On a mountainside overlooking Oneida Lake, disc golf dreams came true. Oxbow Falls became the first sanctioned disc golf course in Central New York. A special place with incredible views from Hole 18 out past the Thruway to the lake and 100′s of miles beyond on some days, a view that never gets old but relaxes the mind for good golf. Elevation gives ordinary shots more difficulty but if you want to be a better player, Oxbow WILL do that.
Pluses: Learn any aspect of your game. Fairly extreme elevation on short and long holes. First you blast it uphill and then soft downhill, keeping you on your toes with your short game. Putting is critical from all angles and elevations. Risk and reward here as any shot off the fairway can be punishing on every hole. Free mental toughness training. Course is full of nature and awesome views and plenty of shade. Always free to play as Oxbow is a shared park with the trail but isolated enough to be essentially “just” disc golf. Teepads make Oxbow a World Class Course in terms of challenge and enjoyment.
Minuses: Not too many negatives but it’s the kind of course that needs more maintenance than others (Park and club do a great job!). The kind of course that has a physical aspect. This may not be negative but an added challenge. Smells like the farm sometimes. Mayflies and Junebugs and those catepillars.
Why Oxbow was rated higher than Emerson: Oxbow has elevation Emerson can only dream about, and only the view at Oxbow could beat Emerson.
Thompkins County Community College (TC3)
Rated #1 in CNY Established 2005
TC3 is located at the college with the classic fingerlakes view and a maze of disc golf puzzles to solve. Long and short teepads offer a variety of challenges to meet which includes water and elevation with woods mixed with open. This course has just about everything you want for learning to golf at a higher level.
Pluses: Double teepads and nature make it fun to play. Water and out of bounds combine with moderate elevation and possibly windy conditions make this a world class course in terms of the golf play. Throws that demand pinpoint accuracy and distance for success. Improves every componant of your game.
Minuses: Caution, beware of this course. It can destroy you. One mistake and you could be looking at a crooked number on your scorecard or worse, looking for plastic in places people shouldn’t be. TC3 will expose any weakness you may have. It will drain you mentally and wear you down physically to the point of exhaustion. Long connecting walks make it difficult for first timers but worth the trouble. Concrete teepads would make this a better course. Wind can really blow.
Why TC3 is rated higher than Oxbow: Elevation at TC3 compares to but trumps Oxbow because of the added distance and also has more wind than Oxbow. Both are so amazing when mowed and looking good but TC3 has huge golf fairways to play on. Now you know why TC3 is the #1 rated disc golf course in our area. A total gem of a course we are lucky to have.Play it….Love it…… A disc golf experience….TC3.
THOUGHTS ON GOLF
Congratulations to Eric Trippany and the new Board members of the CNYDGA. I have given you all my personal support and I am excited about the future of the club. We have capable people who care about the sport and give freely to it. We’ve always had special people in Central New York who are generous with their time and sometimes even their own money. That’s what makes the volunteers of disc golf it’s caretakers. A whole bunch of great people in towns in every state have grown this sport to a repectable professional, entity. Good luck to the new leaders of the CNYDGA and to the leaders that move disc golf forward in EVERY town. Respect the volunteers. Thank one…. Help one……. BE one.
Gary Crowley – Editor - Crowley’s Corner