ORISKANY FALLS – For round two of my three-part summer golf series, several courses were in the discussion, and we (my foursome) settled on Barker Brook Golf Club in Oriskany Falls.
It's a course I toured and reviewed with Bob McNitt 11 years ago, and honestly, I remembered little about the 18-hole layout.
My only recollection of the course was how poorly I played it. The conditions and playability of Barker Brook were forgotten long ago, but after this latest outing, I can only say, "wow, that was much better than I remembered."
Early this week, my partner in week one of our tour, Mike McCormack, had to beg out of the golf outing for a family commitment – and those who know Mike are well aware he rarely passes up any opportunity to play golf.
It took three other good buddies – Rick Ferris, Mark McLaughlin, and Jim Johnson – to fill Mike's shoes as the four of us rode over in Mark's truck. Mark, a member at seemingly every course I know, had the most familiarity with the course, but as our rounds showed, familiarity does not equate to stellar golf.
In 2003, the course was owned by the Keshlers, who sold it a year later to the Intartaglias family (I'll made no attempt at pronouncing his last name), and it was Mike Intartaglia, the course president, who not only got us out promptly, but also allowed us a few minutes, post round, to discuss the golf course.
Mike handed me his business card, and on it stated the course slogan: "The public course with private club conditions."
Nearly every course you play has an attention-grabbing description meant to lure in customers. Boasting of this or that is the norm, and in the case of Barker Brook, the slogan isn't hyperbole, it's truth. "It was a nice course when we bought it," Intartaglia said. "Little by little we've tried to improve it each year, and our guys are doing a super job."
Chiefly responsible for the course upkeep is course superintendent Jordan Keshler, son of the previous course owners. Those who play Barker Brook frequently gush about the greens, but the fairways and tees are mown pristinely, and one need not touch any ball in the fairway. With few exceptions in my golfing life, I've played winter rules in your own fairway. Like the best private clubs, Barker Brook's fairway lies are ideal every time. Only out of habit did I roll my ball a couple of inches left or right in the fairway.