Local residents driving down Route 92 in Cazenovia have seen for many weeks past an 11-acre swath of land by the intersection with West Lake Road shorn of trees and made into a large dirt field studded with golf flags. This is not the start of some new housing development or business track, but the location of the Cazenovia Golf Club’s new practice range.
“This has been something we’ve lacked here forever,” said club President Tim Hughes. “Everybody [in the club] is excited about it … and we hope it will attract more people to join.”
The Cazenovia Golf Club is a 9-hole, private course that was founded in 1896. Originally built by Charles Fairchild on Lorenzo pastureland and called the “Links-o’-Lincklaen,” the course was moved to its current location on Route 92 in 1924.
The club has never had its own practice range, and its members typically have gone down the road to the driving range in Oran, said club Pro Dennis Colligan. When that range was put up for sale recently, club officials “thought it was a good time” to revisit an idea for its own practice range that began in 2002, he said.
The club owns 70 acres of land around the course, and decided to use a portion of that land for the new range. Club officials also thought it would be a good way to protect the land from becoming a future housing tract, said Hughes.
The new range will have three natural grass tee boxes — all aimed away from the road — with a maximum distance of 310 yards, which will allow golfers to use their drivers and not be limited by distance to use only irons, Colligan said.
Cunningham Excavation did the clearing and grading work, which took about 10 days, and started last fall, Colligan said. All the trees but one large Cherry Tree were cleared and the ground has been leveled and seeded with grass.
Club members not only funded the project, but many also volunteered their time to help clear the land after it was plowed by picking up rocks and sticks.
The range will also have a parking area for about 10 vehicles and an 18-by-18 storage building for the ball machine — both of which must be approved by the town zoning and planning boards.
The goal is to open the range in mid-August, after the grass has grown in, “weather permitting,” Colligan said.
“As the pro, I can give lessons there, fit people for clubs and sell the rage as part of the club membership,” Colligan said.
“I think it’s great,” Hughes said. “Everybody is really excited about it.”
For now, the range will be open to club members only, but club officials are considering selling season memberships to the range only in the future, Hughes said.
For more information on the Cazenovia Golf Club and its new practice range, visit cazgolfclub.com or call 655-8575.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at [email protected].