Hammock Beach Resort Nicklaus Design Ocean Course: Florida Oceanfront Golf at its Best!

Hammock Beach Resort Nicklaus Design Ocean Course: Florida Oceanfront Golf at its Best!

The beautiful par-3 8th hole!

The beautiful par-3 8th hole!

After seven weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic Stay-at-Home restrictions and two weeks into the Recovery it was time for me to go back to ‘work’ as a golf & travel writer! With one of the best oceanfront golf courses in the world right in my backyard, the invitation came to play the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort! Given the hospitality, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design, the condition of the golf course, and the weather this was one of my best golf outings ever!

I put hospitality at the top of the list because this was the first time in my life that I played a gold course and the beverage cart attendant knew me by name. Yes, knew me by name before I even introduced myself to her! Now I will always remember the Hammock Beach Resort and her name too which was Kara!

Her name is Kara! My name is Andy!

Her name is Kara! My name is Andy!

From the ladies in the pro shop to Nancy who handles accommodations to Brad Hauer the Director of Golf/General Manager to Billy from Mine Hill, New Jersey out on the range to Kara who serves drinks and snacks this is a family affair and you are the invited and welcomed guest!

Even a white egret greeted us on the 2nd tee and led us all the way to the 12th green before leaving us! Flocks of pelicans on the ocean holes and little sanderlings scampering around on the wet sand on the beach!. Spectacular wildlife at Hammock Beach Resort!

The white egret that joined us all the way from the 2nd tee to the 12th green!

The white egret that joined us all the way from the 2nd tee to the 12th green!

We are all recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic in some way. If you like comeback stories than you will like the Ocean Course and Hammock Beach Resort!

In October 2016 Hurricane Matthew struck the Ocean Course with its high winds and storm surge. Flooded with salt water the course underwent a Nicklaus Design course renovation complete with a changeover to salt-tolerant Platinum Paspalum.

Pandemic Golf... upscale gizmo to lift the ball out of the hole!

Pandemic Golf… upscale gizmo to lift the ball out of the hole!

Now, nearly four years later, I have to say this course is in excellent shape and could easily hold a PGA TOUR event. Back in 2008 the resort did host a PGA TOUR event but held the golf competition on the Tom Watson-designed Conservatory Course. Slightly further inland, this links-style golf course is also a gem that I have played several years ago. Given the ocean wind, the 77.0 Rating and the 147 Slope of the old Ocean Course the pros were smart to play the Conservatory Course! I am sure that Ryan Palmer the 2008 Champion would agree!

I can attest to the impact of playing in a strong consistent ocean breeze of about 15 mph. I broke 90 but five throw-up holes including the last three made breaking 80 a remote possibility for this day. What amazed me is that the wind came from due west into our faces on the practice range and by the time we came to the 15th hole it was coming from due east directly off the ocean!

Windy but gorgeous day to play golf on the Ocean Course at the Hammock Beach Resort!

Windy but gorgeous day to play golf on the Ocean Course at the Hammock Beach Resort!

The weather was gorgeous. In the 80s that felt like the 70s with the strong breeze. Sunny all afternoon it was a day to wear sunscreen and sunglasses! The course conditions were pristine, firm and fast or slow depending on the wind direction! I love the routing where you go inland away from the Atlantic Ocean to start and then come back to it on the 183-yard par-3 8th. The straight away 468-yard par-4 9th parallels the dunes and is the No.1 handicap hole on the scorecard. I managed to par the brute with an amazing chip-putt from the front left runoff area to a tight hole location.

The 6th hole! One of four fun-to-play right-to-left cape holes on the Ocean Course (Nos. 5,6,11, & 16). How much will you dare to cut off?

The 6th hole! One of four fun-to-play right-to-left cape holes on the Ocean Course (Nos. 5,6,11, & 16). How much will you dare to cut off?

After the ocean turn the 10th hole, like the 1st hole heads west inland away from the ocean. You come back to the ocean for the last four holes, first with the 447-yard par-4 15th hole, a beauty with no green-side bunkers because well she is beautifully shaped with hillocks left and right well short of the green. I hit a solid hybrid-4 from 150 yards because the wind was a 3-club wind directly in our face!

After seeing the Hurricane Matthew marker the 16th lays out before you from an elevated ocean-side tee. With lake left this is a beautiful 387-yard cape hole narrows down to a testy green complex where I chipped one into a bunker!

My third shot at the daunting 9th green! Change in Elevation is the most underrated hazard in golf!

My third shot at the daunting 9th green! Change in Elevation is the most underrated hazard in golf!

After a short cart ride, with the same orientation as the 8th hole; the 174-yard par-3 17th faces the ocean and it is another beautiful ocean view from another elevated tee.

Then there is the home hole, the No. 2 handicap hole on the scorecard. At 465 yards it is another straight away brute that plays tough! Unlike No. 9 this one got the best of me as in a 3-putt double bogey.

I must say that while the six holes along the mile-long stretch of the Atlantic Ocean with the expansive view are dramatic and fun to play the other 12 are just as fun and challenging with no letdown. In fact the break from the rawness and strength of the ocean breeze is welcomed.

The green on the reachable par-5 6th hole. Unfortunately all I reached was the water!

The green on the reachable par-5 6th hole. Unfortunately all I reached was the water!

The 5th hole, a 433-yard par-4, is a beautiful right-to-left cape hole. As is the 520-yard par-5 6th hole with the added risk-reward feature of an island-like peninsula green. On the second nine, the 398-yard par-4 11th is a right-to-left cape hole and the green on 545-yard par-5 14th is reachable in two strokes with a gutsy long carry over still more water. It is obvious that with three right-to-left cape holes that the predominant tee shot is a strong fade. I wonder who designed this golf course?

Our friend the white egret bid us goodbye on the par-3 12th hole. Presumably to go fish for dinner than watch us play golf!

Our friend the white egret bid us goodbye on the par-3 12th hole. Presumably to go fish for dinner than watch us play golf!

Eight of the twelve inland holes feature a spectacular water feature that needs to be taken into account and navigated around, over but not into to score on the Ocean Course. With the wind coming in from the ocean and the presence of sand dunes in between it is difficult to plop one into the ocean. However with the lakes it is really easy to find the water. Maybe the name of the course should become the ‘Ocean & Lakes Course?’

Oh yes, for the records which my friends like to keep on me; I did not play from the Level Vi tips of 7.176 yards. I opted for the Level III/IV combination of 6,102 yards. I did break 90 and had the time of my life!

The beauty of the land slope, the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean up close and personal... hard to focus on golf on the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort!

The beauty of the land slope, the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean up close and personal… hard to focus on golf on the Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort!

Under new ownership and managed by Troon Privé since the first of this year, one would not notice any bump in the operation. Two months into the new venture, the COVID-19 Pandemic necessitated a two-day shutdown to thoroughly sterilize the resort and golf courses. All COVID-19 precautions are in place as we have come to expect. This golf resort is humming and the lodging open to outside guests by now.

Don't forget to turn left and enjoy the beach for a while after finishing the 18th!

Don’t forget to turn left and enjoy the beach for a while after finishing the 18th!

My insider tip is to turn left and head to the beach after completing play on the 18th. Take off your golf shoes and let the excitement of playing the ‘Ocean & Lakes’ Course at Hammock Beach Resort sink in. What an experience!

At Hammock Beach Resort, play the Ocean and Conservatory Resort and Country Club Courses where everyone knows you by your name, even the Beverage Cart Attendant! Thank you to Brad, Billy, and Kara for hosting Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary!

Cheers!

 

Visiting South Florida after the 2020 PGA Show!!!

2A memorable trip to South Florida after the PGA Show! Sunshine, warmth, & beauty! Great Show, now lots of follow-up to do! 2020 will be a monumental year for Andy’s Golf & Travel Diary! Thank you to all who hosted AGTD, entertained AGTD, fed AGTD, & had fun with AGTD! Off to Pebble Beach, California for my 12th straight AT&T Pro-Am. TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy and Gratitude)!!!   (Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 1-27-20)

2019 Myrtle Beach World Am Play Write Article: Founders Club at Pawleys Island

4Well it’s ‘Sunday’ of the 2019 World Am for me—the 4th of four consecutive days of World Am golf’s 72-hole tournament! Today I drove south to play the Founders Club at Pawley’s Island! I loved this course with its waste bunkers outlining nearly every fairway! It was in great shape and a lot of fun to play! I started the day T12 hoping for a backdoor Top-10 but fell one stroke short after shooting an 88! Oh what could have been!

Congratulations to Jim Grinestaff who won our Flight 16 and went on to compete for the overall title on Friday! William Welch (West Islip, N.Y.) shot a net 69 (gross 85) to win the Flight Winners’ Playoff at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course.

23Welch bested James Juden (Lancaster, Calif.) by a shot to emerge from a field of 3,215 golfers and claim the title of World Champion. Patrick Yoe (Athens, Ga.), Michael Thompson (Columbia, S.C.) and Paul Carrier (Cumming, Ga.) finished in a three-way tie for third at 1-under par on a day when only five players broke par.

Christopher Reina (Frisco, Tex.) shot a final-round 75 to secure a one-stroke victory over Kyle Rector (San Diego, Calif.) in the Gross Division.

3After the round I continued south (missing the last 19th Hole; imagine that!) arriving home in Ponte Vedra Beach after the 4-month, 7,685-mile, 2019 East Coast Golf Journey!

What a journey it was! Thank you to all I met along the way who helped make it all so special!

Time to rest up a bit and then…

#MBWorldAm

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-29-19)

2019 World Am: EnneaGolf Determines AGTD is a No. 3 ‘Accomplisher’ Personality!

27So here is the detailed process I went through to get to my Enneagolf personality of “The Accomplisher!” In order of the cards presented and chosen as indicated by my finger in the picture… note that one of three cards presented three times there was a selection of one of those three chosen ones! Very difficult to make selections both on the good/likable me and the not so good/not so likable me! Given the results at the end (presented in order selected) of what I am looking for in golf and life and what I need to do to get there I would say this Enneagolf&life System is highly accurate!

So for those of you who “know” me whatcha think???

#MBWorldAm

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-29-19)

_Andy Closeup

2019 Myrtle Beach World Am Play-Write Article: Carolina North

17Finally a decent round of golf in the 2019 World Amateur! Of course it came at a Freddie Couples designed golf course! I have played and love his Chapel Ridge golf course outside Cary, NC. Played the Ibis-Heron nines at Carolina National! I would love to come back and play the third Egret nine! Love Freddie Couples whether he is on the golf course playing well as he did shooting a Sunday 63 a few weeks ago at the DICK’S Sporting Goods Open or if I am the one golfing on one of his golf courses! Steady round of 41+41=82 puts me at T12 in sniffing room of a backdoor Top 10 to go along with my T4 finish last year! Not sure what happened to the boat…

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-28-19)

2019 Myrtle Beach World Am Play-Write Article: King’s North

1We played the awesome & great King’s North at Myrtle Beach National in Round 2 of the 2019 World Am! What a treat to play an Arnold Palmer Signature Design with his statue outside and his presence in the Memorabilia Room inside the clubhouse! Simply a great design and fun golf experience even though I did not score as well as I would have liked!

Home of ‘The Gambler; the Most Unique Par-5 in All of Golf;’ Dedicated by Kenny Rogers on June 21st, 1996 with these famous lyrics: “You got to know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em; know when to walk away; know when to run…” I gambled and hit the island fairway with a hybrid; went for the green but was short in the water; took a drop at the end of the island fairway; hit a 7-iron over the water onto the green and 3-putted from 40 feet for double bogey! What I found interesting was that some golfer after hitting the island fairway reverted back to the regular fairway on their second shot which was no easy layup! Great risk-reward Arnold Palmer and Kenny Rogers hole!

2Tough 9 am shotgun start with an errant drive on the par-4 14th hole. Then I hit the next five greens in regulation only to 3-putt three of them from 15, 50, and 30 feet! My chipping let me down a bit; only one 1-putt and seven, yes, seven 3-putts! Total 42 putts; worse even in my life!

Everyone had a tough day. I didn’t realize I was playing with the leader Jim until after the round. He shot an 83 net 73 to maintain a 2-stroke lead. My cart mate and Facebook friend (we played together last year) shot the same score and is T7, eight shots back. It was just one of those days that I had what my golfing buddy Sir Walter phrased as “the melon head.”

3Believe it or not I did get the hang of reading the grain by looking at the cup and adjusting “the break” and speed accordingly! I also realized that I have been putting on bent grass greens the last 3 months up north in New York!

No excuses, I shot 90 net 81, and wound up 25th 18 strokes back of Jim! But with thoughts of what could have been as I hit 11 greens in regulation and on any other day would have shot in the 70s! But like there is no some day in the week; same for any other day!

30If you want to play a “Go for Broke” Arnold Palmer design; this is it and in my opinion all 18 holes are a gamble including the 18th hole with 40 bunkers (3-putt bogey from 30 feet) and the “SC (South Carolina) bunkered par-3 12th hole (3-putt bogey from 30 feet).

Enjoy King’s North at Myrtle Beach National as soon as you can!

PS: As the flowers on this golf course are so beautiful they must have a full-time horticulturist on staff!

#MBWorldAm

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-27-19)

2019 Myrtle Beach World Am Play-Write Article: General Hackler Course at CCU!

3Good first round in the 2019 PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com World Amateur! Had a great time today—played the General Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina University, made three new friends—Taco (Rodger); Bryan from Bittersweet; and Lanny; and shot 85!

Such an enjoyable round on such a beautiful day—one of those days on the golf course where you feel the gentle, refreshing breeze, hear the birds singing, and feel present and at peace with nature, life, and the world in general!

We started on No. 12, the longest par-4 on the golf course. Taco Beef can hit the ball a long way, made a 25-footer and birdied it! After imperfection replaced perfection he called the birdie on the first hole played a curse for the tournament. I am not sure about that as he played a solid round! Just before his birdie Lanny made a BOMB for par! We were off to a good start!

6On our fifth hole Bryan and I realized we both lived in Gurnee, Illinois a northern suburb of Chicago. He lives there now and I did for 10 years starting back in the mid 1990s. Then I realized he was wearing a Bittersweet shirt which was my home club when I was there! So out of 3,215 we somehow were magically paired together!

We started chatting about SJ our mutual friend which distracted me a bit (my rationalization of course since I never have half-shanked and popped up a hybrid-2 into a fairway bunker, then tried hitting a hybrid-4 only to be left in deep rough 200 yards from the hole hitting four; fore! LOL!

4Even with the double bogey I managed to be only 4 over par the first 9 holes boosted by a birdie on No. 1. BTW, for the record, we were talking about Jesus on that hole, not SJ!

I was rolling along, playing well, even learning along the way, imagine that! After seeing Taco Touch’s (really is a great putter) putt on the par-3 5th hole run out I adjusted to the changing green conditions and had a nice 2-putt par from about 25 feet.

Then I got a freaky bad break on the par-5 6th hole! My drive, slightly off line to the right hit something and ricocheted up 20 feet and directly right 30 feet out-of-bounds. Nines are automatic in the World Am but I still tapped in my final putt to make it official.

19Going 1-over for the last 3 holes including a mindless 3-putt from 15 feet on the par-3 10th hole was a good omen for tomorrow’s second round. Taco Accuracy put one in close on the 10th to win the Proximity Award for the day!

Despite a nine and two double bogeys, the 85 was a good start, the highest score I could have shot by 5-7 strokes! No tournament is ever won on the first day of a four-day competition! Here in the World Am you hope to make the cut and win it on the 5th day!

I am late for the World’s Largest 19th Hole…

FYI, a little tongue-in-cheeks golf writers humor embedded in the pics…

#MBWorldAm

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-26-19)

2019 ECGJ: A Road Trip through the Thousand Islands & the Adirondack Mountains!

_0Road trip to the Thousand Islands & Adirondack Mountains! Route 81 North to Alexandria Bay, East to Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, then back home to Binghamton in time for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open! Where is the BEST place to stay???

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 1 Pic; 8-10-19)

Day 1 of the Thousand Islands & Adirondacks Road Trip segment of the 2019 East Coast Golf Journey! Lots of open road, history & scenic vistas!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-11-19)

 

44Climbed my first of the 46 Adirondack Peaks this morning! Thinking 4-to-5 a year during the upcoming 7th decade of my life would be a good thing! Passed on nearby Mount Marcy, the highest in New York State, started with one of the easiest, Baxter Mountain! Great trail, great hike, passed 23 adults, 14 children, & 2 dogs going up & coming down! Took about 2-1/2 hours with 30 minutes up on top! More TROML Thoughts to come! Glorious view, awesome feeling of being ONE with nature! God’s Country! Here are the pics in order of ascent! Thank you to Ranger Rob for some great trail insight & advice! Adirondack Park is well run, organized & maintained! TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy and Gratitude)!!!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-11-19)

CLICK HERE to join me on a Spiritual Journey to the Peak of Mt. Baxter!

1Day 2 of the Thousand Islands & Adirondacks Road Trip segment of the 2019 East Coast Golf Journey! Lots more of open road, history & scenic vistas! Stayed in a rustic, yet comfortable cabin off the grid! Pretty much up at daybreak and backtracked a little to Keene Valley to climb Baxter Mountain, my first of 46 Adirondack Peaks! Combination Farmers’ Market & Craft Fair with pony rides at Marcy Field before heading south to Lake George and Sarasota Springs! Took I-88 home to Binghamton! Sure seems like it is all downhill but I checked the elevations and Binghamton is actually higher than Albany! Short, but sweet little 2-day trip of 700+ miles!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 8-11-19)

2019 ECGJ: Playing the Historic Binghamton Country Club, an A.W. Tillinghast Gem!!!

3

Fun, Fun, Fun at BCC!

What a treat, what fun to play. Binghamton Country Club today! Especially with my two good Hobart & William Smith College friends Professor Chip who teaches a golf architecture course and Ken the Statesmen Golf Coach!

The golf course is in incredible shape benefiting from recently completed tree removal and bunker restoration programs! The course conditions have historically been impeccable and they were no different today! The greens, the course’s main defense, along with the engaging high shot value A.W. Tillinghast design, were rolling at an 11.3 on the Stimpmeter today!

The long & difficult par-3 18th home hole at BCC!

The long & difficult par-3 18th home hole at BCC!

Binghamton Country Club is the bedrock, the history, the origin of golf in the Greater Binghamton area and all of Broome County and somewhat beyond! The club dates bank to 1889 with the first course on the flat lands near the Susquehanna River. The famous and tremendously skilled golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast designed the current golf course and it opened in 1921.

 

George F. Johnson in line with his workers ringing out on the Time Recording Clock Machine!

George F. Johnson in line with his workers ringing out on the Time Recording Clock Machine! (Picture Credit: Bundy Museum)

George F. Johnson was a charter resident member of BCC and such a big proponent of golf he built his Endicott-Johnson shoe workers a golf course of their own. Originally called the En-Joie Health Golf Club, the workers’ golf course opened in 1927. George F. influenced Thomas J. Watson not only in business but also in golf. Watson, who also became a BCC member was the man who built International Business Machines (IBM). He also built a golf course for his workers; the IBM Country Club which opened in 1938. The En-Joie Golf Club has brought the world of professional golf to the Triple Cities (Endicott, Johnson City, and Binghamton) since 1971 (Credit source of this information to BCC Club Historian Louis R. Panigrosso, Esq. and his 3-part series ‘E-J, Big Blue, & BCC.’)

Binghamton University Campus from the 15th green at BCC.

Binghamton University Campus from the 15th green at BCC.

With views across the Susquehanna Valley to Vestal in the South direction one can easily see the Binghamton University campus from the 15th green near the clubhouse. There are even better views from the 17th green all the way east up the Susquehanna River to Downtown Binghamton and my beloved Ely Park Golf Course on the western slope of Mount Prospect!

Great golf history, hometown views, and great camaraderie made for an exception day! While my buddies had to head north and home to Geneva after lunch in the grill room I ventured back out on the golf course for a second 18 holes! I had to make up for the round lost after being cut after two rounds in the TCGA Amateur Championship Keith Chesk! For those of you who know me and the TROML/SSS process I am always joyous and rejoicing so why not play and replay this beauty?

View from the 6th green at BCC!

View from the 6th green at BCC!

A Heartfelt Thank You to Hobart and William Smith Colleges

http://www.andygolftraveldiary.com/a-heartfelt-thank-you-t…/

Today also brought back memories of being selected as the 2015 John Henry Hobart Fellow in Residence! What a great on-campus experience with the freshman class which just now graduated four years later! Time indeed flies! I hope they learned as much from my share as I learned from them! TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy and Gratitude!)

(Andy Reistetter; 7/27/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)

Visit Rochester, New York and You May Never Leave!

1Visit Rochester, New York and You May Never Leave!

Rochester, New York is Limitless!

Visit Rochester like I did in July 2019 and you may never leave!

Limitless in terms of pretty much everything- accommodations, restaurants, history, museums, scenic vistas, and yes, of course, golfing opportunities which is what initially caught my eye!

But after experiencing Rochester I would say that what is the most limitless about it would have to be the people I met while visiting—their personalities, their dreams, and their realities!

Of course, I include all people—those living that I interacted with and those that lived in the past that interacted with me- both types spirited, creative, and impactful!

New friends found at the Woodcliff with a view of the Bristol Valley from the 4th tee behind!

New friends found at the Woodcliff with a view of the Bristol Valley from the 4th tee behind!

Take for interest, Dusty Odenbach, PGA Director of Golf and fourth-generation owner & operator of the Links at Greystone, an impressive Craig Schreiner-designed gem of a links-style golf course. This is a perfect example of a young and new generation taking the family business, the altered family legacy to new heights. Earlier in life the Odenbachs expanded from the mining business to recreational golf business. Now Dusty and the family team is taking the authenticity of this links design to new levels with fields of yellow-tainted fescue heather and revealed expansive golf course vistas as trees are being removed. This golf course takes you back, all the way back to the roots of the game on the seaside links of Scotland!

With Dusty Odenbach after playing The Links of Greystone!

With Dusty Odenbach after playing The Links of Greystone!

Yes, Rochester lies north of the 42nd Parallel and experiences a winter season when golf is not possible for the rationally-inclined normal golfers. Albeit those that venture out into the winter wonderland with tethered orange colored golf balls, what is one to do on a golf course in the months of January and February?

Snow Tubing at Greystone!

The ‘hit-into-a-slope’ driving range is being converted to a state-of-the-art tubing facility! With lighting, snow machines, and a tube lift to pull you up the 100 feet to the top, having fun at the Slopes of Greystone will be like tapping in that gimmie for birdie to close out a buddy and win the match!

New friends made at Ravenwood, including Rich from Visit Rochester's who shot a 74 with 3 straight birdies!

New friends made at Ravenwood, including Rich from Visit Rochester (under flag) who shot a 74 with 3 straight birdies!

Kick back and enjoy the 1,000 foot long & slick coast back down to the flat lands of Greystone. Whether you do one run or a golfers’ magic number of eighteen the clubhouse and Stoney’s Pub is sure to be your post-tubing destination! Enjoy the ‘Speedie’ Marinated Beef with House Made Cheese Sauce on a Pretzel Roll like I did. And if you are from Greater Binghamton like I am, let Dusty know that proper spelling is ‘Spiedie!’

The larger-than-life Dusty, the UCONN baseball star pitcher that could have made it on the PGA TOUR in my opinion after playing a round of golf with him, is obviously vibrant and alive. But so too to me was Margaret Woodbury Strong after visiting the Strong National Museum of Play, the Ultimate Play Destination, and the No. 1 Rochester Attraction according to TripAdvisor.com.

Margaret Woodbury Strong finishing her swing in life with grace, power, and meaning!

Margaret Woodbury Strong finishing her swing in life with grace, power, and meaning!

A kindred spirit and benefactor of children, young and old like me, is Margaret! After seeing a picture of her golfing in style back in the 1930s and experiencing her fascinating legacy museum, I felt like I spent the afternoon playing golf and experiencing life at its essence with her!

Don’t pass by the Merry-Go-Round as you enter without taking a ride (or as you leave but do upon arrival!)! Chip in the dollar to ride with gratitude and hop on a horse or if you are lucky enough ride in the ‘Lover’s Tub’ with your forever valentine. Afterwards, pass by the Bill Gray’s Skyliner Diner if you can, pay the modest admission fee and enter America’s Playland. Be sure to note that Happy Hour at the Skyliner is 2:30 to 4:30 pm every day with milkshakes at half price!

Honored am I to become the 17th member character of Sesame Street!

Honored am I to become the 17th member character of Sesame Street!

I had an amazing afternoon at the Strong National Museum of Play! We learned through fun and I learned a lot about myself in a couple of hours. I was honored to become the 17th member character of Sesame Street during their celebratory 50th year! Then, if that wasn’t enough, I was voted Wegman’s Employee of the Month! Locals know all about Wegman’s and you should too! My play friend Margaret’s collections are amazing! Yes, even Mabel, Margaret’s first doll that started it all, especially my namesake Raggedy Andy (and Ann). The only sad occurrences of the day were when the ride of the Merry-Go-Round ended and the play museum closed at 5 pm. Hopefully you can visit on a Friday or Saturday when they are opened to 8 pm.

My three days visiting Rochester were magical. I did not want them to end!

The Art Deco Suite at the Woodcliff Hotel & Spa.

The Art Deco Suite at the Woodcliff Hotel & Spa.

Accommodations in the Art Deco Suite at the Woodcliff Hotel & Spa were over the top! My first of four rounds of golf was right there on top of Woodcliff Mountain with a view all the way down the Bristol Valley from the 4th tee. My final round would be in the distance, on the west side of Canandaigua Lake at Bristol Harbour. The Cook Family, in their fourth year of ownership, continues to renew the Finger Lake’s premier golf resort. The historic and renown Robert Trent Jones-designed golf course with so many scenic views never fails to impress the beauty of nature upon golfers and guests from around the world!

My Bristol Buddy Joe and I on the 7th green with the view of Canandaigua Lake behind us!

My Bristol Buddy Joe and I on the 7th green with the view of Canandaigua Lake behind us!

In between the Woodcliff and Bristol Harbour, I played The Links at Greystone and another gem of the Golf World—Ravenwood Golf Club. Host of the 81th New York State Men’s Amateur Golf Championship in 2003 and then again the 87th in 2009, this centrally located golf course is public golf at its country-club-like best. The Robin Nelson-design on gently rolling topography speaks for itself directly into any golfer’s heart. Challenging but not too difficult, this masterpiece is true to its designer’s vision of “If you hit a good approach shot, you should have a chance to make the putt” and walking off the 18th green you will leave wanting to come back and play Ravenwood again!

As far as culinary delights and satisfactions, my indulgences at Label 7 in the village of Pittsford, Stoney’s Pub at The Links at Greystone, The Cub Room in Downtown Rochester, Genesee Brew House overlooking the gorge-ous waterfall of the Genesee River, Rohrbach’s Brewery & Bitter Honey on Railroad Street, and at the Restaurant at Bristol Harbor were all memorable!

Visit Rochester, New York and You May Never Leave!

Visit Rochester, New York and You May Never Leave!

Additionally, I visited the George Eastman Museum and Mansion which are beautifully located on East Avenue amidst the most elegant and architecturally sophisticated residential area of Rochester. Founded by George Eastman and Margaret’s father Henry Strong in 1888, Kodak continues to this day along with the Xerox Corporation, another Rochester corporate baby. A Kodak Moment and a Xerox Copy is as American as it gets. Kodak’s legacy and Eastman’s personality are to be found below the canopies of estate trees along East Avenue.

Whether through the lenses of golf, community, or entertainment Rochester, New York is seen clearly as limitless. Visit Rochester like I did in July 2019 and you may never leave!

For more specifics on each Rochester venue I visited, please click here to follow a play-by-play recap of my visit to Rochester, NY!