Kaluhyat at Turning Stone Resort
After the surreal experience that was Atunyote (ah-dun-yo), we decided to make a night of it at Turning Stone Resort.
There was a moment when I was just like, how did I end up here?
I’m from Portland, Oregon and I was sitting in a country bar, in an indian casino, in the middle of nowhere New York.
That’s part of the fun of this whole Top 100 and Top 100 Public quest – I’ve ended up in places I’d never go before (Atlanta, Michigan anyone?).
After winning $200 off my free play from the Casino, we may gone out and had a few too many gin and tonics, that left me a little bit dazed for our noon tee time at Kaluhyat (kuh-loo-yuh).
We made the 3 minute walk from our beautiful room in the Lodge, over to the Kaluhyat and Shenandoah Clubhouse, where the starter proceeded to tell us we were about to play a “real” golf course.
He said along with Bethpage, it was the most difficult course in New York (I assume that’s out of public courses).
We went over to the range, which was adequate, but nothing close to what we experienced over at Atunyote.
Just the Facts
- Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
- Built in: 2003
- Rank: #71 America’s 100 Greatest Public
- Location: Verona, NY
- Fees: $50-150 depending on time and if you’re a resort guest.
- Website: http://www.turningstone.com/golf/kaluhyat
- Slope: 146, Rating: 75.1
While Atunyote felt like a basic parkland championship course, Kaluhyat felt like I was going on a golf adventure. It’s definitely a cart only course, and you don’t return to the clubhouse until after you’ve walked off the 18th green.
The course features lots of forced carries over marshland, elevated tees and greens through forests, and sweeping doglegs through meadows and around lakes.
To be honest, I was surprised just how much I did like the course. If you know me, you know I value “fun” over anything else in a round of golf – and this had all of the shots and strategy that make up a fun course in my mind.
As soon as we stepped up to the first tee on Kaluhyat, I knew I was going to like this course more.
A sweeping dogleg right par 5, this hole, and the course in general messes with you.
To my eye it seemed more like a par 6 than a par 5. The second hole had a similar effect, and other holes had greens that seemed much closer than the posted distances.
Favorite Par 3: 5th Hole, 111 Yards
The first par 3 was also my favorite on the course. The green is set in a bowl, and there are multiple tees in different locations that all play over marshland.
If you go long you’ll have a tricky down hill chip that you do not want to hit thin. If you go short off the tee, there’s a good chance you’ll be in one of the three bunkers guarding the entire front of the green.
I loved how this course weaved its way between meadows and forests, and this hole was a great example of the forested part of the course.
Favorite Par 4: 4th Hole, 302 Yards
Maybe I’m a little biased on this hole since it was my only birdie of the day. Or it could just be the fact that the short par 4 is my favorite type of hole.
Hit it over the bunker on the left to be in the best position for the green on this dogleg left hole. That said, the safer play is to take a mid to long iron and just get it out to the center of the fairway for a short iron into the green.
If the pin is far left, go for it at your own risk, but if you’re lucky and its on the right like it was for us, this is one of your best birdie chances on the course.
Favorite Par 5 #1: 11th Hole, Par 563
This was a bit of a toss up as both 6 and 11 are really good par 5s, but I think the nod goes to 11 here. Another dogleg left, it’s the longest hole on the course and also the #1 handicap. It plays similar to #4 off the tee. Bomb it over the left bunkers to get you in better position for the rest of the hole, or lay it up to the right – doing this will surely result in you needing a 3 wood to get yourself within wedge range on the approach.
I really like the elevated approach which makes this play even longer than the yardage says. Even with two solid first shots, I was hitting 6 iron into this one.
Favorite Par 5 #2: 501 Yard 6th Hole
Holes 4, 5, and 6 are one of my favorite 3 hole stretches I’ve played anywhere.
6 is the ultimate risk reward hole if you hit a good drive.
Your second shot can be within reach, but you’re hitting over solid bunkers to a green that looks tiny, but is bigger than it looks when you get up there.
The smart play is to lay up to the right, leaving a wedge into the green. I sat there for a solid 2 minutes deciding what to do, and ended up wussing out and laying up.
I hit a second ball with a hybrid just for fun and landed on the left side of the green – live and learn.
In the end I liked this course much better than I thought I would. Don’t ask me why, but my expectations just weren’t that high. In fact the whole resort exceeded my expectations, as it truly felt more like it was on the level of Las Vegas as opposed to the Indian casinos we have here in Oregon.
We paid $65 for our tee times, which included a cart. For that much, I’d gladly play this course again – if only it weren’t so hard to get to! If you live near The City and are looking for a fun weekend getaway, you can’t go wrong with Turning Stone. Good food, plenty to do, and a unique mix of golf courses that you’ll definitely enjoy.
It really is a beautiful course, so here are some more photos of the day!