East Aurora Country Club
East Aurora, New York, USA
6285 YARDS (PAR 71)
COURSE RATING/SLOPE: 72.6/126
COURSE ARCHITECT: William Harries and A. Russell Tryon (1916)
COURSE WEBSITE: http://eastauroracc.com/
ROUNDS PLAYED: 4
LAST PLAYED: July 22, 2007.
LOW SCORE: 76 (+5)
My buddies Toast and Jay joined me on Saturday afternoon for one of the most pleasurable golf experiences in some time. East Aurora CC is a reciprocal club to St. Catharines and the opportunity to play was provided when our club held the final round of the annual Member-Guest tournament on Saturday morning.
After breakfast at the now famous Mozie on In diner, we took the easy 45 minute drive to EACC. The par 71 golf course plays a meager 6285 yards from the back tee deck but we knew it would be a test based on word-of-mouth and the 72.6 course rating.
We had a nice chat with the pro upon our arrival, hit a few putts on the unbelievably slick greens and headed for the first tee, a dogleg right par four measuring 422 yards. Jay and Toast nailed perfect drives down the pipe while my tee shot sprayed off into the trees right of the fairway. I was forced to pitch out and then hit a 9-iron about 20 feet past the flag. Toast and Jay both had trouble with their approaches, leaving them short and followed my lead, hitting their third shots to about 25 feet.
That’s when we received our first lesson about playing East Aurora – don’t leave yourself above the hole.
Toast ended up having the shortest second putt out of the three of us…he was 15 feet away! Fast doesn’t even begin to describe the greens out here! Both Toast and I made double bogey sixes while Jay was forced to settle for a triple. What a start!
The second is a 157 yard par three. I hit a nice tee shot but overclubbed, with the ball finally coming to rest directly behind a monstrous oak tree. I was forced to chip completely away from the pin and my ball ended up going through the green once again, leaving myself another 45 foot chip. I muttered all the way across the green before chipping my third shot right into the cup for the unlikely par!
The third hole is where things get interesting. It’s a very short par five measuring 463 yards. The tee shot is severely uphill and blind and doglegs close to 90 degrees left, forcing us to drive our cart up into the landing area to investigate. The second is a tester; if you lay up, you’ll find that the fairway ends about 95 yards from the green and falls off severely into a large depression area.
I was able to make a nice up and down for birdie here to get back to one over. Then came the fourth, a 236 yard monster par three where we were forced to hit rescue clubs and 4 woods. I ended up going long left and made a three putt double bogey, the same result as Jay. Toast made a great up and in for par as we moved on to a couple of shortish but VERY TIGHT par fours.
The fifth is a 329 yarder with out of bounds looming right of the narrow fairway while the sixth, at 369 yards, is a tree-lined dogleg right with a diabolical putting surface. I bogeyed both holes.
The seventh is the longest hole on the course, a 533 yard par five with an uphill tee shot to another narrow fairway. The second shot is also played uphill but the land falls dramatically again around 150 yards from the green, leaving a downhill third shot. The two photos below show the differences in the tee shot and the approach.
Just outstanding topography! Unfortunately, my decent approach to the middle of the green took the slope and rolled thirty feet left right off the green! I’d be unable to get up and down and took yet another bogey to move to +6 through seven.
The incredible uphill par three eighth is next (see below). You barely could see the top of the pin from the tee down in the valley and I proceeded to again overshoot the green. My chipping was on today, however, and I rolled another one right into the middle of the jar for my second chip-in and second birdie of the day!
The ninth is a 390 yard par four. Trees line the left side of the fairway while the right side is pretty open. I ripped my biggest tee shot of the day here and had only 88 yards left for my second. I hit a mediocre wedge to about 25 feet and somehow was able to coax it in for my second birdie in a row and third of the day, giving me a front nine score of 39 (+4).
East Aurora’s back nine starts with a very intimidating tee shot. The hole is only 339 yards but plays entirely uphill through an extremely narrow chute. Toast and I both hit 3 irons while Jay laid back with a 4 wood.
Everyone hit great approaches but I ended up three-jacking. Jay birdied and Toast two-putted for par. The eleventh is a great 403 yard downhill par four that doglegs left around a large pond. The green site is protected at the back by marsh and on the right side by an abandoned railroad track. I three-jacked here as well for another bogey. Ugh!
Twelve is a really short par five measuring only 453 yards. However, you’re forced to lay back a bit off the tee, as the fairway ends about 265 yards from the tips. You’d literally need to carry the ball 300+ yards to clear the marsh that borders the right side of the fairway and cuts right across the middle. From there, the approach is uphill to a very elevated green site that slopes heavily from left to right. I was able to grind my way to a par here.
The 13th hole is a beautiful 190 yard one shotter (see below). The tee blocks and green site are both elevated but there is a large drop-off in-between. Visually it’s quite a striking golf hole and the green site has more bumps than a teenager’s acne-filled face.
From there, you head back to the marshy surroundings at the 374 yard par four 14th. It’s a big dogleg left with the green hidden from the tee behind a huge hill. I ended up driving into the marsh well right of the fairway and made a crippling double bogey here. I took a picture of the green site from the hill bordering the hole.
The 15th is another great one shotter, with a deep-faced bunker fronting the right side of the green. The green slopes tremendously away from the bunker. Bottom line: you miss right here and you’re dead. I did and was lucky to make bogey. Toast made an UNBELIEVABLE up-and-down for par from the same bunker I was in. He’s good…
The 16th is another short par five measuring 476 yards. It’s a very tight tee shot through a chute of trees and the fairway falls a bit near the landing area, propelling tee shots into ‘go for it’ territory. I cranked my best of the day here and left myself only 178 yards for my second. I duck-hooked my five iron into the front left bunker (seen below) and had to settle for par.
The par four 17th is very quirky in that it doubles as East Aurora’s driving range!!! I kid you not. If you look closely in the picture below, you can actually see the hundreds of yellow golf balls in the fairway!
There is a bell beside the tee that you ring after teeing off to let the guys on the range know you’re heading out into the fairway. From there, they presumably switch to hitting wedges until you clear the landing area. Very strange!
The last hole is just awesome: a 367 yard par four from an elevated tee to a fairway bordered on the left by marsh. A creek also splits the fairway about 280 yards from the tee, making a fairway wood or rescue shot the smart play.
From there, you have yet another uphill approach shot to a narrow but long and undulating green that falls off severely on both sides. Just a really cool finisher!
I could do no better than a 6-over 42 on the back side and finished with an 81 on the day. Without doubt, this is the toughest 6300 yard course I have ever had the pleasure of playing.
Actually, this is one of the BEST courses I’ve had the pleasure of playing. The rolling topography is exhilarating and the green complexes are among the best I’ve ever played.
What a treat it was to play out here! I’m already looking forward to my next visit!