by Jim Riggs
October 20, 1984
Plenty of Activity at Chautauqua Golf Club
"Our goal is the spring of '86," was Pro Stan Marshaus' answer to when the new holes would be ready. "I would say we're ahead of it. We may play them in the fall of '85."
And Marshaus added that he was sure he would play the new holes next fall. "I'm gong to be the first one on it (the new nine-hole course)," he said.
The additional nine holes will make Chautauqua Golf Club, which is owned by Chautauqua Institution, the only 27-hole layout in Western New York. The closest 27-hole course is at Cross Creek Resort in Titusville, Pa.
Future plans are for another nine holes to make it a 36-hole layout and included in those plans are a housing development. But that is in the future and right now Marshaus is worried about only the new 11 holes being built.
"My concern right now is to make some of the finest holes in the area," he said. "We're trying to make it a fair golf course."
Construction on the new holes began in June. They were designed by architect Xen Hassenplug of Pittsburgh, who has designed about 25 courses including Seven Springs in Pennsylvania. The construction is being handled by Frank Tucci, Inc. of Edinboro, Pa., which helped remodel the Edinboro Golf Resort course.
Though the new holes are designed by Hassenplug, Marshaus had the final say about on-the-site changes.
"When you're on the site you have to make decisions," Marshaus said. He explained that when an architect designs a course on paper, he can't forsee problems that will arise at the site which he can only visit every two weeks. For instance, Marshaus made the decision to move one of the greens so that two trees would come into play. Another green had to be moved because a spring was found under the original site.
These new 11 holes will not be played together . The existing 17th hole will be No. 1 on the new course. What follows is the eight new holes and the last will eliminate the present 15th green and use the present 16th fairway and green.
The 15th is a challenging 390-yard par 4 which is listed as the No. 4 handicap hole on the present course. It's fairway will become part of a driving range because the new ninth hole fairway will be part of the present 15th green.
Marshaus admits it is a shame to lose a good hole like No. 15, but he thinks things will even out or be even better. "I hate to lose a good hole, but you gain some good ones," he said.
The three other new holes will become part of the present back nine to replace the three holes (15-17) that will be lost. Holes 10-13 will remain the same except that 13, presently a 495-yard par 5,will become a 461-yard par 4.
The new No. 14 will be a 425-year par that will dogleg left around a pond. The green will feature a tree on both sides of the fairway at the front to make the approach difficult.
The new No. 15 will be a 187-yard par 3 over a pond which will have a waterfall. The new No. 16 will be a straight 562-yard par 5 with a pond in front of the tree.
The present No. 14, now a 452-yard, will become a 318-yard par 4 and the 18th hole will remain the same.
By changing 13 and 14 to par 4s, the nine will have a total par of 36 instead of the present 37.
It is the eight holes for the new nine that excite Marshaus the most.
Following the first hole, which is the present No. 17, a 344-yeard dogleg to the left, will be a 169-year par 3 with a kidney-shaoped green.
No. 3 will be a 386-yard par 4 that doglegs right. Curving around the left side and in back of the green will be a pond. The fairway slants down from the right and if a player slices his drive, he will have a difficult approach shot because the green will not be visible.
No. 4 is a 548-year par 5 that will require some strategy. A ditch crosses the fairway 200 yards from the tee. Players will have to decide if they want to layup or drive over the ditch.
The drive must also clear a pond. The green is set back in a wooded area.
No. 5 will be a 367-yeard par 4, all straight and uphill, similiar to the present No. 14.
Then comes what Marshaus calls "the outstanding hole on the golf course." No. 6 will be a 417-yard par 4 much like the present fifth hole, as the approach shots is up to an oval green.
The drive will be very important because on the right about 25 yards from the green is a pond.. If the drive is hit to the right, the approach shot will have to go over the pond and also over a large maple tree.
"We spent one thousand dollars to save the tree," Marshaus said. Construction of the hole and the pond would have been easier without the tree, but Marshaus could see how it was a perfect addition to the hole and made the decision to keep it.
No. 7 will be a 165-yard par 3 over the same pond that is to the right of No. 6.
"This is a monster," is the way Marshaus described No. 8. It will be a 530-yard par 5 dogleg to the right and the drive is uphill. Marshaus thinks it is similiar to No. 11 at Moon Brook Country Club. The fairway slants to the left and 15,000 yards of dirt had to be moved to reduce the slant.
No. 9 will be a 379-yard par 4. It has a driving area that will cross the present 15th green to the present 16th tee. "Your best landing position will be the old tee," Marshaus said.
When it comes time to work on the landing area in the spring of 1986, the new hole will be played like the present par 3 16th, but with a shorter distance.
All of the new holes have been seeded and germination has begun. The No. 7 and 8 greens look just that - greens. And the tee at No. 8 is almost ready for mowing.
Most of the samd traps are planned and they will be constructed next summer. Some new ones may also be added if needed.
Building a golf course is an expensive understaking and Chautauqua Institution found a way to reduce the cost. It bought a shredder to make topsoil and the savings have been tremendous.
"We made all of our own topsoil," Marshaus said. "To buy it, it would have cost $17 a yard.
"We used four-hundred and some yards of topsoil on the greens alone. The bill for the greens would have been $50,000. We spent about $30,000."
Plenty of topsoil was needed for tees too because Marshaus explained, "We have at least three tees on every hole."
Chautauqua Golf Club has always been a challenging layout, but with three par 5s, particularly the wide open 10th, 13th and 14th holes, there has always been the opportunity to get a few strokes back. Those three par 5s, along with Nos. 1-4 and 11 and 12, were also wide open. There was plenty of rough to catch an errant shot, but the person who didn't keep in the fairway could still survive and break 80. Hundreds of trees have been planted in recent years to tighten things up, but that wasn't necessary on the new holes.
The new holes that make up the additional nine-hole layout are carved into the woods and should remind regular Chautauqua players of the present seventh, eighth, ninth and 15th holes.
Marshaus emphasized the course is challenging, but fair. For instance, on the "outstanding" No. 6, the drive must be well placed. However, the slicer will get a break because the ball should roll back toward the fairway since the right side slants that way. He will not be in prime position, but he won't be left totally out of position either.
When everything is finished and the holes are ready to play, another problem arises - how do you keep the golfers moving smoothly and fairly on a 27-hole course? Marshaus doesn't think it will be a problem. Assistant pro, Tim Freedon, will be working at the 27-hole Wyndamere Country Club in Naples, Fla (which is run by former Cassadaga Colf Club pro, Lynn Josephson) this winter to learn how the starting tines are handled. "I've spent some time at Innesbrook (Fla.) which is also a twenty-seven hole course," Marshaus added.
Running tee times on a 27 hole course involve some changes. "Both the customers and us will have to get used to it," Marshaus said. And he pointed out the main advantage is "You gain about four hours of tee times."
The most efficient method is to close down all the tees for two hours at a certain time during the day so that players who have finished nine holes can continue on without running into golfers starting out. Another method involves shutting down one tee at a time for two hours which is probably the system that will be used at Chautauqua.
Each day certain nine holes will be designated Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Those players who start on the No. 1 nine will continue onto the No. 2 nine and will not be allowed to jump to No. 3. Those who start on No. 3 will finish their 18 holes on No. 1.
"It really runs smoother than it sounds," Marshaus said. An additional starter will be required to make sure it does.
If the starting times run as smoothly as the construction of the new holes there should be no problems.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.