CORTLAND – Long before I knew there was such a thing as attention deficit disorder, there was a pervasive need within me to experience something new, something different, and something exciting. It was that line of thinking that led to conceiving a weekly summer golf column.
Self-analysis revealed "homer" tendencies when it came to my longtime recreational passion, so off I went in pursuit of new golf challenges.
Earlier this week I found that elusive diamond in the rough – pun certainly intended – when I toured the 18-hole layout at Walden Oaks Country Club in Cortland. Unlike every course I have reviewed the past two years, Monday, June 29 was the absolute first time I had laid eyes on the course.
Yes, Walden Oaks proved the perfect example of why I write these golf treatises.
While I had heard of Walden Oaks, I can't claim the suggestion of playing the course. My oft-partner, Rick "O'Shea" Ferris, had a few rounds under his belt at Walden Oaks, and he invited his good friend, Sam "STN" Scafidi to round out our threesome. Sam, too, had four or five previous rounds on the course. Sam would soon be dubbed "Sammy Cold Cuts" for the feathery fade he used to find the fairway during the morning's spritzing rainfall.
Indeed, the forecaddying those two provided during the round proved invaluable in shot selection and placement. It also helped that Rick remembered to bring his GPS. Somehow I managed to get through my first 30 years of golf by eyeballing the 150- and 100-yard markers, and estimating yardage to the hole from there.
That GPS? Well, it almost feels like cheating.
Unlike most of the golf courses in Cortland County, Walden Oaks is a mere babe in the woods. It opened for business in 1993, and current head professional – and operations manager – Marcus Bernardo came on board one year later.
"Basically, the developer (of the course) was paired with the home builders, and the golf course was built around the housing development," Bernardo said.