Long ago, Scottish polo players longed for a game in which they could explore scenic terrain, ride obedient mechanical horses, and wear more courageously plaid knickers. Marvel in their subsequent invention with today's Groupon: for $15, you get one round of golf at Western Turnpike Golf Course in Guilderland (up to a $32 value).
Western Turnpike's 27 holes render three possible permutations for an 18-hole round, each presenting unique golfing challenges. The blue and white courses share the majority of the 250 acres, snaking around each other's straight and narrow fairways. Upping the ante for both hazards and yardage, the red course cuts through the outer bank's thick trees and land mines, ending on a short ninth hole surrounded by picturesque ponds and a memorial to lost golf balls. In the background, billy goats and disoriented caddies heckle golfers from the Helderberg Mountains, which overlook the manicured verdure, and meandering streams.
Although residents of Guilderland receive priority for tee times, nonresidents can call 48 hours in advance to reserve a weekday-morning swinging soirée or secure a weekend spot beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursdays.
Western Turnpike Golf Course
Framed by the distant peaks of the Helderberg Mountains, Western Turnpike Golf Course's 27-hole layout blankets 250 acres of scenic terrain stitched by pine trees. Though the three nines connect to form three distinct 18-hole courses, the presence of multiple ponds, streams, and small, well-fortified greens act as a unifying feature across the entire grassy labyrinth. The horticultural haven is also peppered by a relatively sparse population of 37 sand bunkers, their scarcity due to the abundance of water hazards and previous issues with disoriented sunbathers. With three courses offering various levels of difficulty and four tee options on each course, Western Turnpike presents a sound golf challenge for bona fide aces, mid-handicappers, and those trying to play with a croquet mallet.