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Golf Travel
Golf Course Review - Atunyote Golf Club
By Phil Sokol - Director of Operations (TSN)

Hole-by-Hole
1 - Par 4 398 Yds
2 - Par 4 447 Yds
3 - Par 3 198 Yds
4 - Par 4 414 Yds
5 - Par 5 520 Yds
6 - Par 3 185 Yds
7 - Par 4 433 Yds
8 - Par 5 576 Yds
9 - Par 4 469 Yds
10 - Par 4 422 Yds
11 - Par 3 230 Yds
12 - Par 5 538 Yds
13 - Par 4 416 Yds
14 - Par 4 385 Yds
15 - Par 4 442 Yds
16 - Par 3 177 Yds
17 - Par 4 467 Yds
18 - Par 5 598 Yds
Par 36 3,640 Yds Par 36 3,675 Yds
Architect: Tom Fazio
Year Opened: 2004
Location: Verona, New York
Slope: 140   Rating: 75.6
Par: 72
Yardage: 7,315
Awards Won:
 Top 100 Courses You Can Play - Golf Magazine (2006),
 One of world's finest new courses - Robb Report (2005),
 One of 10 Best New Public/Resort Courses - Travel & Leisure Golf,
 Top 10 New Courses You Can Play - Golf Magazine (2004),
 Ranked #4 Top 10 Public-Access Courses in New York - Golfweek (2006).
Key Events Held:
 PGA Professional National Championship (2016),
 Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge (2008-present),
 Turning Stone Resort Championship (2007-10),
 B.C. Open presented by Turning Stone Resort (2006),
 PGA Professional National Championship (2006),
 Turning Stone Invitational (2005-),
 Eastern PGA Club Professional Championship (2004).
Website:
 www.turning-stone.com
HISTORY: It certainly hasn't taken long for Atunyote (uh-DUNE-yote) Golf Club to reach the pinnacle of the golf world. In less than one year, Atunyote has been rated as one of the top-10 new courses you can play by Golf Magazine and one of the world's finest new courses by the Robb Report. Lofty honors and well deserved. It comes as no surprise that Atunyote, along with Shenendoah Golf Club, have been selected by the PGA of America to host the PGA Club Professional Championship in 2006. The golf course is part of the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, one of three championship venues on the property. Before we describe the ins and outs of the course, one must first mention what the Oneida Indian Nation has created, just 30 minutes east of Syracuse, New York. Your stay at Turning Stone must include overnight accommodations at The Lodge at Turning Stone. Let's start with this luxurious 98-suite hotel that offers everything your heart desires. The rooms are exquisite with every amenity you could want. The building itself boasts a fireplace that rises three floors, the centerpiece of a majestic Great Room and the staff, well, to say accommodating would be an understatement. After Shenendoah and Kaluhyat Golf Club's were designed, the Oneida People brought in acclaimed architect Tom Fazio to craft a traditional parkland layout. Fazio, who has designed some beauties in his day (Shadow Creek, Wade Hampton and Hudson National are just some of the courses that come to mind), has done just that and then some. Atunyote, which is the Oneida word for "Eagle", features rolling terrain, wide fairways, streams, lakes, waterfalls, not to mention wooded areas and a magnificent clubhouse, reminiscent of the glorious facility at Shinnecock Hills.

John Rollins two-putted for birdie on the 72nd hole to defeat Bob May by one shot at the 2006 B.C. Open.
The 2006 PGA Professional Championship was an exciting tournament, as Ron Philo Jr defeated Alan Schulte on the third playoff hole for the title. With the win, Philo, along with the top-20 finishers at the National Championship, received a spot in the 2006 PGA Championship. Philo, who's sister is LPGA Tour player Laura Diaz, carded a final round 68, which included a hole-in-one on the third hole, to tie Shulte at 10-under-par 278. After halving the first two extra holes, Schulte teed off into a hazard at the third hole and made double-bogey, thus handing Philo the win. It was a particularly disappointing ending for Schulte, who had held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds. For the week, the Atunyote course played to a scoring average of 73.4022. The most difficult hole on the course was the par-3 11th, which played to a scoring average of 3.3804.

Turning Stone Resort opened its doors to the PGA Tour in 2006, as the B.C. Open, due to heavy rain, was moved to Atunyote Golf Club. The tournament was a smashing success, as John Rollins two-putted for birdie on the 72nd hole to defeat Bob May by one shot. Starting the day three shots off the pace, Rollins carded a flawless, eight-under 64 for a four-day total of 269 and his first victory on the PGA Tour since the 2002 Bell Canadian Open. Third-round leader Gabriel Hjertstedt closed with a one-under 71 and tied for sixth. Former Masters champion Larry Mize was the lone player in the field to post all four rounds in the 60s, as he tied for sixth. The course record of 63 set by Craig Thomas in 2004 at the Eastern PGA Club Championship, was equaled during round two, as Michael Allen posted a nine-under score.

Atunyote became part of the PGA Tour's fall series in 2007, as it hosted the Turning Stone Resort Championship. Steve Flesch won for the fourth time in his career, as he carded a final round 73 to defeat Michael Allen by two shots. After opening with rounds of 66-65-66, Flesch struggled the final day making four bogeys, including two of the last three holes and three birdies, but it was enough for the win. Allen was the only player in the field to post all four rounds in the 60s.

In 2008, Dustin Johnson won for the first time in his career, as he defeated Robert Allenby by one shot. Two strokes behind when the final round started, Johnson needed birdies on the final two holes to overtake Allenby for the title. With a bogey on 16 and pars on the last two holes, Allenby could do no better than second. The real story for the week was the weather, which never reached 60 degrees and the winds averaged 20 miles per hour. Jeff Overton, who held the 18 and 36-hole leads, finished in a tie for 10th.

Notah Begay III has brought his Foundation to Atunyote the past two seasons. Tiger Woods, a longtime friend of Begay, was victorious in 2009, as he won $230,000 worth of skins. Camilo Villegas finished second and host Begay third. Mike Weir was shut out for the second straight year.

Villegas won the 2008 Challenge against Vijay Singh, Weir, Stewart Cink and Begay. Villegas earned $220,000, followed by Singh and Cink. Begay and Weir failed to win a skin.

The front gate to Atunyote Golf Club
REVIEW: Atunyote opens with one of the easier holes on the course, a straightaway, 398-yard par four. The play is down the right side of the wide fairway with a three-metal to avoid the S-shaped bunker on the left and the 20-yard trap on the right, which is 300 yards away from the tips. A tip at Atunyote, be patient and not greedy. Just a short iron is left to a fairly deep green, protected on the left by three bunkers. The putting surface features a ridge on the right side, but is otherwise very receptive and should be able to yield a few birdies. In contrast, the second, another straightaway par four, stretches 447 yards with a tighter fairway, thick-sloping rough on
Let's start with this luxurious 98-suite hotel that offers everything your heart desires. The rooms are exquisite with every amenity you could want.
the left and a pair fairway bunkers on the right. Your approach will play ever-so slightly uphill, to a well-guarded green, just 28 yards in depth. The putting surface is fairly flat, however, be aware of the false front, making your club selection key. The first par-three on the course, the third, can be quite a bear, especially with a back-left pin placement. A deep bunker guards the left side and the green is very undulating and could be quite difficult to hold your mid to long iron. With a right-to-left sloping green, the best play is center-cut, two putt for par and move on. Another chance at birdie comes at the fourth. Bending slightly to the left and playing downhill from the fairway, the fourth requires an exact tee ball, splitting the two fairway bunkers protecting either side and avoiding the canyon of water and vegetation
Atunyote, which is the Oneida word for "Eagle", features rolling terrain, wide fairways, streams, lakes, waterfalls, and plenty of wooded areas.
on the left. A big drive will leave just a wedge to an undulating green that features a two-tiered putting surface. With a back-right flag, you'll have to contend with a deep trap, but with such a short club in hand, attack, attack, attack. One of the signature holes at Atunyote, the fifth is the first par-five and also the shortest at just 520 yards. Reachable in two, this dogleg left boasts a watery grave all along the left side and gnarly rough down the right. Three traps guard the corner of the driving area while one surly bunker flanks the right. A high drawing tee shot can leave a second shot that will get you home, however, lurking to the left is water, right is sand and short, another trap. Precision is key, and that includes the putting surface, which slopes from back to front and right to left towards the water. If you need to
A big drive at #4 will leave just a wedge to an undulating green that features a two-tiered putting surface.
get one back, this is where to start. Signature No. 2, the sixth is an outstanding par-three, featuring a pond on the right from tee to green. Although only 30 yards deep, the putting surface is quite wide and missing on the wrong side could result in a three-putt. A back-right pin is quite exciting, especially if a little wind kicks up. The bottom line, mid-iron to the center of the green and two-putt for par. This is no time to be a hero. One of the most difficult holes on the course, the seventh not only requires accuracy off the tee, but a pin-point approach. The hole doglegs severely to the right with woods guarding the entire right side, not to mention a 30-yard bunker at the corner. A fade for the right-handed player is needed off the
The sixth hole is an outstanding par-three, featuring a pond on the right from tee to green.
tee, as draw could run through the fairway. This tree-lined hole is similar to courses in the Carolinas. The hardest aspect of the hole however is the second shot which must be struck with precision in an effort to hold the putting surface, the longest on the course (46 yards deep). The green is quite slick and slopes from front to back with a bunker, as long as the surface guarding the right. Making par is crucial on this hole to keep the round going. Most people think of par fives as certain holes to get home in two and make birdie. The eighth is just the opposite. Although straightaway with a large landing area, the hole narrows severely, forcing your second shot to split a pair of two large trees that guard the landing zone. Favor the left side of the fairway off the tee, despite the trap, as the right side fairway is too close for comfort to the deep rough and trees. Following your layup, your
Your second shot at seven must be struck with precision in an effort to hold the long putting surface.
third is just a little wedge to a receptive green, that slopes from back to front. A pair of bunkers guard either side of the surface, making your approach a little tricky with a front flag. The hardest hole on the course is the par-four ninth, stretching a mighty 468 yards from the black buttons. The hole bends slightly to the left and plays uphill to the green. A big tee ball must avoid the traps on either side of the fairway to set up a difficult second. The putting surface is guarded by a deep trap on the right and the green slopes severely from back to front and left to right. Making par is a good number.

The back nine starts similar to the opening hole, a straightaway par four, but this time it features the only forced carry off the tee. If the wind is up and you're playing the back tees, then this could be an issue, but it generally does not come into play. The fairway is very accommodating, but stay to the right side, as a 35-yard long trap wreaks havoc down the left. From there,
The 11th is a bear of a par three, stretching 251 yards from the black tee.
just a mid to short iron awaits to the smallest green on the course, just 24 yards in depth. A large gaping bunker resides in front of the putting surface, which is quite tricky with a back-right flag. With the right stick, this could be a real birdie chance. In contrast, the 11th is a bear of a par three, stretching 251 yards from the black tee. This is the start of some of the most exciting golf on the course. To make matters worse, the wind is usually in your face and a stream runs down the right side past the green. Did I mention that the putting surface is a whopping 41 yards long and slopes from left to right towards the water? Making bogey here is not that bad. The 12th is a dandy of a par five, bending to the right with a lake bordering the entire right side. Your tee shot must favor the left side, as not only water comes into play, but a 40-yard trap also looms large on the right. This hole can be
Twelve can be reached in two, but beware, a precise second must be struck to have any chance, as the water is quite inviting.
reached in two, but beware, a precise second must be struck to have any chance, as the water is quite inviting. The best play, lay up down the left side and leave yourself a little pitch to this long, but narrow green. The putting surface is only 19 yards deep and slopes from back to front, so play below the hole and give yourself a real birdie opportunity. You will certainly need some luck when playing the par-four 13th. Although not long in yardage, the 13th features a lake down the right side of the landing area through the green. The hole bends slightly to the right and has an ample fairway with a trio of bunkers on the left and one on the right. Three-metal should be enough to leave a mid to short iron to the green. The putting surface slopes to the front, but with water right and sand left, the green looks very small. Birdie,
Three-metal at the 13th should be enough to leave a mid to short iron to the green.
sure, but par is a fine score. The 14th is supposedly the easiest on the course, but not so fast. The straightaway par four plays uphill with a stream meandering down the left side and bending left at the green. Your tee shot needs to be right center, as balls tend to gravitate toward the stream which is just a few yards from the fairway. A trap 115 yards from the green guards the right, so use a three-metal off the tee for a simple wedge approach. The putting surface is wide, deep and quite undulating. Remember, take an extra club to reach the uphill green to give yourself the best chance at birdie. Another difficult hole on the back nine is the dogleg right 15th. Stretching 442 yards from the tips, the 15th requires a tee shot that favors the left side, thus avoiding the trees that ramble along the right, but must miss the bunker on the left of the landing area that is 30 yards long. A mid to long
The par four 14th plays uphill with a stream meandering down the left side and bending left at the green.
iron is left to a wide green that slopes from the middle, to both the right and left. The putting surface is narrow and missing long could make for a difficult up and down. The final par three on the course, the 16th is a beauty. The hardest part is deciding what club to hit, as the putting surface is 46 yards long. The green slopes severely from back to front and five traps, two front, two left and one right most definitely come into play. Trees run down both sides of the hole, so swirling winds are quite common. The most difficult hole on the inward nine is the 17th, due mainly to the length (467 yards). The straightaway par four requires a big tee ball down the left side of the fairway, thus avoiding the two traps down the right side, some 77 yards in length. A mid to long iron is left to a fairly deep green (42 yards) with a huge bunker protecting the right-front. The putting surface slopes hard
The hardest part at the par three 16th is deciding what club to hit, as the putting surface is 46 yards long.
towards the front, so don't be dismayed with making par, that's a good score. The closing hole is another gem, not to mention the longest on the course at 603 yards. A big tee shot down the left side may cut the dogleg to give yourself a glimmer of hope of getting home in two, but wipe that out of your mind, this is a three-shotter. Your layup needs to be played down the right side to set up a little wedge. The key here is to avoid the lake down the right side and the bunker in the landing area on the left. Make sure you judge the distance correctly on your third, as the putting surface is uphill and very shallow at just 22 yards deep. The green slopes severely from left to right and is protected by a trap in the left-front and a pair on the right-front. Sure, birdie is a good finish, but par is a great way to end your round.

Make sure you judge the distance correctly on your third shot at eighteen, as the putting surface is uphill and very shallow at just 22 yards deep.
OVERALL: This is a dream come true. A perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of New York and beyond and enjoy the fruits of your labor. A spectacular casino, spa, 19-story - 300-room hotel, the Lodge, featuring beautiful suites, a 5,000-plus state-of-the-art events center, a four-story parking garage that holds 2,400 cars and if that wasn't enough, three championship golf courses. There is also an indoor golf facility. Atunyote is one of a trio of outstanding courses that will test not only the novice, but the best players in the world. With five sets of tees, the course ranges from 5,098 yards to over 7,300 and is for all levels of play. The practice facility is second to none, featuring a short-game area, putting greens and an enormous driving range. The conditioning of the course is phenomenal, not a blade of grass out of place. The New England-style clubhouse is majestic and the staff, in a word, outstanding. I'd be remiss if I forgot to mention the culinary delights, especially Rodizio Churrascaria at Turning Stone, a Brazilian steak house. Atunyote and the Resort at Turning Stone are a must at all costs. Hey, maybe you'll even get to see a legend perform, like B.B. King (I did). Exceptional accommodations, magnificent golf courses, world class entertainment and a casino to boot. This is the ultimate destination. Even big John Daly was impressed during an exhibition in 2005. "It's absolutely gorgeous. The greens are perfect and every hole is a little bit different. It's a blast, so pure, and top notch. It's a super golf course. This is definitely a national championship-caliber course."

Aces, pars or bogeys, send your thoughts to Phil Sokol at psokol@sportsnetwork.com.
Phil Sokol


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