Course Name: The Links at Greystone
Designer: Craig Schreiner (1996)
Location: Walworth, New York
History: Opened in 1996, Greystone is recognized as one of the best public courses in the Rochester area.
Conditions: 7/10, We played Greystone in April and were impressed by the early season conditions. Fast greens and thick rough had grown in nicely already, and the fairways and teeboxes were very well-manicured.
Value: 8/10, Greystone offers great value at just $42 to walk on the weekdays and $67 to ride on peak-season summer weekends. There are additional twilight, senior, and junior rates available as well.
Tee Par Yardage Rating Slope
Championship 72 7215 74.3 130
Blue 72 6594 71.6 127
White 72 6110 69.8 125
Gold 72 5277 70.8 116
Hole Descriptions: Admittedly, at the time of writing this it’s been many years since I played the Links at Greystone so I don’t remember every hole’s nuances. I do, however, fondly recall some dramatic elevation changes and having an absolute blast. Although the season is short, residents of upstate New York are very fortunate to have three terrific public options available – Greystone, Bristol Harbour, and Ravenwood.
The opening hole eases you into your round as a wide open 540 yard straightaway par 5. Although the fairway narrows as you near the green, it’s almost impossible to lose a ball here. Besides thick rough, the only danger on the teeshot is a bunker on the left at 275 yards. Additional bunkers guard the right fairway 100 yards short and just short left of this large, elevated green. At 376 yards, the par 4 2nd is a nice hole running parallel to the 1st. With trees and a bunker on the left at 230 yards, this hole calls for a fade off the tee. The most notable feature of this hole is the elevated green, which features two tiers and is guarded by a deep bunker short right. The 3rd is the first par 3 at Greystone at 165 yards. This is somehow the longest one-shotter and features a large, receptive green guarded by a bunker short left. The par 4 4th is the number 1 handicap at a strong 423 yards. This hole is a bit straightaway and boring but demands accuracy off the tee with thick forests lining both sides. This long, narrow green complex slopes hard back-to-front and is lined by a bunker short right.
The first four holes are decent, but the true adventure begins when you step on the 5th teebox. The stretch of 5-8 is particularly strong beginning with a beautiful 397 yard par 4. Nicknamed “Devil’s Pulpit,” this elevated teebox offers tremendous views and an exhilarating straight downhill teeshot to a zigzagging fairway guarded by two bunkers on the right at 230 yards and one on the left at 270 yards. This approach plays to a large, undulating green guarded by bunkers short on either side. At just 139 yards, the 6th is the shortest hole at Greystone and also the best par 3. This flat hole is sandwiched between the hilliest holes but keeps the golfer engaged with an all-carry approach over a pond to a diagonal green guarded by a pot bunker long.
Architect Craig Schreiner took what the land gave him on the 7th and created one of the most difficult holes on the course. Although only 381 yards, this hole plays uphill at such a gradient I’m not sure I’ve ever played another hole that plays longer than the scorecard. The drive is fairly open except for a bunker on the right at 200 yards, but the approach plays through a chute of trees to a back-to-front sloped green guarded by a bunker short left. I distinctly remember this hole playing into the wind and hitting Driver-3 wood here! At 372 yards, the par 4 8th runs right back downhill and plays much shorter than the scorecard. This is another extremely fun teeshot with trees to the far left and a giant central bunker at 310 yards that’s more reachable than people think. This large green offers up one of the best birdie chances on the day. After such a memorable stretch of holes, Schreiner knew it’d be tough to match it on the 9th, but he admirably tried with a reachable 514 yard marathon par 5. This hole features a very narrow fairway lined by a bunker on the right at 180 yards and a water hazard down the entire right side. A crossbunker guards 120 yards short of the green and presents the golfer the option to lay-up or try to carry it on the second shot. The defining feature of the 9th is it’s long, narrow green it shares with the 18th. It’s not unheard of to have a 250 foot putt here.
Like the 1st, the 10th provides the golfer a good opportunity to start the nine off well as a 330 yard par 4. This straightaway hole plays slightly uphill to a narrow, well-protected fairway with bunkers on the right at 200 yards and left at 250 yards. This approach plays to an elevated back-to-front sloped green guarded by a bunker short right. The 11th is a long and complex hole at a prodigious 438 yards. The longest par 4 at Greystone features a relatively wide fairway but major misses will be punished with water lining both sides. At about 270 yards, a diagonal creek bisects this fairway so longer hitters might be forced to hit less than driver. From here, the hole turns sharply left and you’re left with 165 yards into this elevated back-to-front green lined by a bunker short right. Par gains a shot on the field here. At 516 yards, the par 5 12th runs along the corner of the property and is pretty wide open. Scattered bunkers line both sides for the first 225 yards but there are no more hazards after this point. The 2nd shot and approach run uphill towards a large green protected by a bunker long. The par 3 13th plays uphill at 163 yards and is another fine one-shotter with an interesting two-tiered back-to-front sloped green lined by a deep bunker left.
The par 4 14th is one of my favorite holes at Greystone as a 368 yard downhill dogleg left. This teeshot suits my eye with mounds of bunkers down the left at 190 yards and trees just beyond that. This fairway is more undulating than most so you might not have a perfect lie for your approach to this mild biarritz green guarded by a bunker right. At 391 yards, the 15th is another nice dogleg left par 4 that feels a bit more claustrophobic with dense forest lining the left. The most notable feature of this hole is the shallow green complex which horseshoes around a central bunker. The monstrous par 5 16th is the longest hole at Greystone at a lengthy 553 yards. This hole is not only long, but also exceedingly narrow, with a tight teeshot through a chute of trees to a fairway lined by a bunker on the left at 220 yards. The fairway doesn’t open up much afterwards, with wetlands lining the entire left side and heather lining the right. As you near the green, this fairway turns slightly left and narrows further with numerous bunkers on either side. With three accurate shots, this beast can be had, but I suspect many golfers don’t finish this hole. The short par 3 17th offers a brief respite between some very difficult holes. At 145 yards, this hole plays slightly uphill over heather to a large back-to-front sloped green guarded by bunkers on either side. The closing hole is another strong hole at 383 yards. This teeshot plays downhill and partially blind so golfers might not be aware that the fairway runs out at about 270 yards. From here, you’ll need an 120 yard carry over water to a shallow green guarded by bunkers on either side. I must say that the double green is much more effective on this hole than the 9th due to the angle and clubhouse prominently featured in the background.
General Comments: For practice facilities, Greystone offers a nice practice green and an interesting range that plays straight into the side of a hill. The clubhouse is modern and cozy and is a great place to grab some post-round drinks. Pace of play was pretty slow on the day I played, but it was one of the first nice days of the year so I don’t blame the upstaters who hadn’t seen the sun in months!
Verdict: With sweeping elevation changes, an engaging layout, and a price that won’t break the bank, the Links at Greystone is always a fun time and undoubtedly one of the best public courses in the region.