Taste wine and fine golf among New Yorks Finger Lakes

By August 3, 2010, 12:10 am


Glenora Wine Cellars
Glenora Wine Cellars is one of many vineyards offering wine tasting in New York's Finger Lakes region.

With the Turning Stone Resort Championship returning to Upstate New York, excellent golf and wine tasting take center stage in the renowned Finger Lakes region. Wine and golf and drop-dead gorgeous scenery are three very good reasons to visit the Finger Lakes in New York, where more than 100 vineyards, 50 golf courses and 11-plus glacier-cut lakes dot the area's rolling, open hills.

It's a place where award-winning wines are made, greens fees are often less than $30, and you can probably get a tee time on weekends without a connection.

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You won't have to travel huge distances either. Wineries, golf courses and accommodation and dining options are within easy driving range of each other, many along or just off route 20.

Golf in New York's Finger Lakes

Just over 30 years ago Robert Trent Jones came to Canandaigua, looked down from the hilltop site to the lake and said, 'In all the world and of all the properties I've seen, this one has just been waiting for a golf course.' Today, Bristol Harbour Resort is the golf course to play to fully appreciate the beauty of the region.

Capitalizing on the wine-theme, a small vineyard is on the grounds of Reservoir Creek Golf Course in Naples. Reservoir Creek's five-bedroom inn, a renovated turn-of-the-century farmhouse, is a great place for groups to stay.

Lakeside Country Club, by Keuka Lake in Penn Yan, is a pretty track on the upper hills along the lake. It evokes a tactical dance between older push-up style greens and newer, more rolling, tiered greens.

Highland Park Golf Club, in Auburn, was built as a nine-hole layout in 1925. The back nine added in 1969 plays like a different course, with challenging rolling greens. Fairways are tree-lined, but generally the course is pretty open.

Lafayette Hills Golf & Country Club in Jamesville used to be private, so it's no surprise facilities are more upscale than most public tracks. Designed by A.W. Tillinghast, the 6,586-yard course sits on one of the highest points in Onondaga County, offering wonderful views of the countryside.

Although it has had maintenance issues, the pretty Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed Radisson Greens, carved through woods and meadows with water in play on many holes, is worth the modest green fee.

You'll need to think target golf at the recently renovated Links at Erie Village. It's a flat track with bent grass greens and fairways punctuated by plenty of bunkers.

In Elbridge, it seems like many people don't know about Millstone Golf Course, but then it just opened in 2004. Some of the trees still have growing to do, but with serious water hazards, solid par 3s and $20 green fees, you should give it a try.

If you have pull with a Cornell grad, beg your way onto the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University at the southern end of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca. Go, Big Red.

Wine tasting in the Finger Lakes

Although the Finger Lakes region was originally known more for its sweeter, fruitier Catabwa and Riesling wines, today these wineries and vineyards are producing award-winning wines from European varieties as well as from Labrusca and French-American hybrids.

Winery facilities are extensive. Many have gift shops and restaurants along with tasting rooms; some, like Glenora Wine Cellars on Seneca Lake, offer accommodations on site.

Close to 20 vineyards march up and down the slopes of the 40-mile long Cayuga Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes anchored by Seneca Falls on the northern end and Ithaca on the southern tip.

At Anyela's Vineyards in Skaneateles, you can enjoy a glass of Anyelas Avail 2007 while the incredibly deep blue Skaneateles Lake spreads out below rows and rows of vineyards.

Visit Goose Watch Winery for classic European-style wines such as Merlot, Brut Rosé Champagne and Pinot Gris. Set on the eastern shore of the lake, Goose Watch is accessible by boat and is in a restored 100 year-old barn.

The stylish modern Knapp Vineyards Winery offers specialty wine series labels such as Curiosity, Superstition and Kat Nap and the new White Deer Trilogy. The Vineyard Restaurant serves gourmet cuisine in the dining room and on the trellised patio overlooking Cayuga Lake.

The slopes of Y-shaped Keuka Lake are home to more than a dozen wineries, most notably the highly acclaimed Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars and Chateau Frank on Keuka Lake, founded in 1962 by one of the Finger Lakes' most important winemakers, Dr. Konstantin Frank.

You can find other vineyards on Canandaigua Lake, Skaneateles Lake and in the countryside. Seneca, Cayuga, Keuka and Canandaigua have organized wine trails with special events planned throughout the year, as well as maps and other helpful published materials. For example, with Seneca Wine Trail's 'The Riesling to Visit Passport' you get to enjoy a complimentary, standard flight of wine samples at each of 27 wineries for $12.

From fish fries to Italian, dining in the Finger Lakes

You can swing into wineries for a tasting and often a bite to eat at places like Simply Red Lakeside Bistro at Sheldrake Point Vineyard on Cayuga Lake or order a 2008 dry Riesling to go along with your meal at The Bistro at Thirsty Owl Wine Company, also on the lake.

Seneca Lake has the most places to eat lakeside, with access by boat, while Skaneateles is a favorite dining locale with a range of dining options, from Doug's Fish Fry, where the lines often reach out the door, to consistently good Italian food at Rosalie's Cucina.

Staying in the Finger Lakes

There are many B&Bs, small inns and hotels throughout the region. There's even a castle, Belhurst, in Geneva on Seneca Lake.

Enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine from your patio at The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars or settle onto the porch of the historic Sherwood Inn on Skaneateles Lake and maybe take a lake cruise on the double-decked Judge Ben Wiles.

Built around a Monet-like pond and gardens, the European-style Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Skaneateles has an excellent but pricey restaurant and large modern rooms with fireplaces.

Bristol Harbour's 31-room Adirondacks-style inn has balconies and fireplaces about a chip shot from the first tee while more than 200 condominiums give you another lodging option.

For more information, see www.fingerlakesinfo.com.

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Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

"Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.

Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.

Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.

Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.