Looking down on the par-five 18th green in the foreground from the clubhouse area.
The late golf course architect, Robin Nelson, was most noted for his work in Hawaii and Asia, but you can also enjoy his work at the Ravenwood Golf Club not far from Rochester, New York. This rolling layout fits what is one of golf’s most overused references – it is very “playable.”
Opening in 2003, Ravenwood opened to very positive reviews gaining Top 5 New Public Course honor from Golf Digest. Located adjacent to the New York State Thruway, it is convenient to find and good enough to warrant your return. In its brief history, the layout has already hosted the New York State Men’s Amateur Championship, five USGA qualifiers, and the 2007 USGA Men’s Senior Amateur Championship, among other events so it’s championship resume has a fast start!
The 7th hole is a short, risk and reward, drivable par-four.
This is a big, broad expansive layout that sprawls down and out from its nicely situated clubhouse. Wide fairways, expansive bunkers, and big greens make for a layout that appears fairly docile, but has the capability of championship credentials. If someone is wild off the tee, the bunkering is the first line of defense, but knee-high rough separates holes and spells a lost ball. There is enough bunkering that should the management want to hide the flagsticks, they can make the course much more demanding. There is enough water and undulations in the terrain that the course is challenging in that respect as well. Should the fairways be narrowed, the rough grown, and the greens firmed up, you instantly have a championship golf course with a stout 140/74.5 slope rating on a 7,051-yard frame. The forward tees play a very sensible 4,880 yards with no unreasonable forced carries.
I love the look from the tee at the par-four 447-yard uphill par-four 15th.
While the bunkering is expansive, it is not deep and the big greens have large gradual sweeps that reflects the surrounding terrain. I particularly enjoyed the four par-fives that are very different from each other. There are also three very teasing short par-fours that require patience though many may try to drive as close as possible to the greens.
You had better choose the right club when playing the par-three 17th.
The course starts out somewhat nondescript with four solid, yet hardly awe-inspiring holes, but it continues to get better and better. By the time you finish the front nine, you can’t wait to get to the back nine and it doesn’t disappoint. Ravenwood comes together quite nicely. I felt very pleased to discover Ravenwood and think you will be too!
Below is the attractive finish to your round at Ravenwood – the par-five 18th.