A 27-hole golf complex, Royal Niagara Golf Club comprises a trio of nine-hole, par 36 courses that share the water-laden landscape and showcase scenic views of an ancient canal, a tree-lined trail, and the steep elevation changes of an escarpment. Each nine-hole course—The Escarpment Course, The Iron Bridge Course, and The Old Canal Course—extends more than 3,500 yards from the back tees and bears a title that reflects its most notable feature, just like at the world-famous courses Pebble Beach and Neighbour’s Windshield. On The Escarpment Course, for example, players travel up and back down the Niagara Escarpment, and The Old Canal Course leads them past the 120-year-old Welland Canal and four large ponds.
Grand Island Fun Center is an 18-hole mini-golf course, but it's also a go-kart track. It's a place to practice baseball and softball fundamentals, but it's also an arcade. Many of these activities could stand on their own, but Grand Island's sprawling facilities give visitors myriad playtime choices, from cooling off with water-balloon battles to hopping around a bounce house. Guests parched from lining up putts or trying to power go-karts by foot can refuel at Nutty Nellies, an on-site snack shop serving nachos, burgers, and drinks.
Flanked by deciduous trees that emblazon the landscape with deep ambers and yellows in the autumn, the course at Pelham Hills Golf and Country Club guides play along an emerald tapestry awash in natural beauty and obstacles. Water comes into play on 14 of the 18 holes, punishing overzealous shots on holes 9, 12, and 15 with the shooter's choice of a penalty stroke or a self-service swirlie. Elsewhere, mounds thwart easy play onto greens, and strenuous bunker positioning and elevated tee boxes reward deft club selection. Players who can keep their shots on the straight and narrow, however, will enjoy the fruits of generous fairways and numerous scoring opportunities afforded by pins awed into submissiveness.
Course at a Glance:
Brisk breezes from Lake Erie and nearby Niagara Falls waft across Emerald Pines’ 6,200 yards of manicured greens and oak-lined fairways, gently eddying past a rustic clubhouse that embodies the club’s homespun charm. Golfers can launch balls across the course’s 18 holes and driving range with name brand products found in an on-site pro shop, where a holographic projection of Mike Weir reenacts his most celebrated putts. The club’s rustic sensibility extends to the fully staffed kitchen’s menu, which comforts tummies with barbeque platters, jumbo hot dogs, and 8-ounce new york strip steaks.:m]]
Beaver Island State Park stretches out over 950 acres at the southern end of Grand Island, on the shores of the upper Niagara River. The park's sandy half-mile beach welcomes swimmers and boaters. Nearby, an 80-slip marina with a boat launch lets mariners set sail in boats, kayaks, canoes, or origami yachts made from newspaper. Landlubbers swing clubs at an 18-hole championship golf course, venture down biking and hiking trails, and unpack picnic baskets on the park's scenic grounds. Guests seeking a break from the sun can visit a nature center with interactive exhibits on local flora and fauna. Guests also can drop by the River Lea house and museum, home to the Grand Island Historical Society and constructed by Grover Cleveland's cousin. In the winter, the park hosts snowmobilers, skiers, and snowshoers willing to brave the frigid air and rabid snowmen.
Course at a Glance:
The 18-hole Audubon Golf Course stretches along the southeastern edge of the University at Buffalo's North Campus. The quiet pop of clubs against golf balls has drifted across the green fields since the town of Amherst opened them to players in 1942. The 6,635-yard test is characterized by slim fairways and dry, punishing waste areas that work to keep golfers from shooting the par of 71. Though course designer William Harries did not make water hazards a prominent feature, two holes do force players to fly their golf balls over Ellicott Creek.
Course at a Glance: