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PGAs Turning Stone puts spotlight on upstate New York golf

COOPERSTOWN, NY – New York City's golf scene takes center stage far more often than anywhere out east. Long Island's historic layouts, as well as the new Liberty National G.C., are regular hosts of majors and top tour events. But this week upstate New York gets its day in the sun with the Turning Stone Resort Championship on the PGA Tour.

Upstate is where city dwellers head to escape to golf courses and resorts such as Turning Stone. I recently spent a week around Saratoga Springs and Cooperstown after driving up from the city, and the atmosphere goes from electric to remote in a matter of about two hours. That's the appeal of the New York Golf Trail, a collection of golf courses that are affordable with package deals doable for even those without a Manhattan zip code.

Many of the courses upstate are historic and understated. About a half hour south from Turning Stone in Hamilton, Seven Oaks Golf Club tests the Colgate college golf team in the shadows of the campus' stone halls. The main draw at this pleasant parkland are the greens: lightning fast enough to host a tour event any day of the week.

While Cooperstown's The Leatherstocking is a century-old beauty sure to please, and even within a par 5 of the Baseball Hall of Fame, my favorite of the bunch is The Sagamore – a revived Donald Ross design in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. It would probably yield a few 59s from the tour pros, but for the rest of us, it's light years from civilization and showcases the state's forest and mountain beauty in Ross' understated way.

Even if your summer schedule is full, plan on a long weekend here in the fall, when the changing of the leaves takes the scenery at these courses up a notch.