Don’t let the drive up the hill past the abandoned hotel dull your senses or enthusiasm: Grossinger is still a beautiful country oasis among the elite courses in the Catskills – perhaps the best work of Houston architect Joe Finger.
Surprisingly Finger didn’t follow his mentor Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and go Texas Big in designing Grossinger’s “Big G” course. Rather, he took a blessed piece of land with natural elevation changes, lakes, creeks, hardwood trees and wonderfully routed it to reward ball flight and touch rather than brute power and distance.
Like Finger’s other Catskill masterpiece, the Concord Monster, each nine at Grossinger starts atop a hill works down into a valley and then back to the top of the hill. Many holes bend – most right to left – around bunkers and water hazards. With the changes in elevation come all kinds of uphill, downhill and sidehill lies. If you’re going to score at Grossinger, you must have control of your ball from uneven lies.
Players especially like the risk-reward par fives, all reachable with well-placed drives, but loaded with danger and water hazards in front of the greens. The most memorable--and one of the most recognizable holes in the area-- is the 13th, one of the original holes to have an island green.
While at Grossinger, you might want to also check out the Vista course. This is part of the original nine holes opened in 1925, believed to be designed by legendary A.W. Tillinghast course. It certainly has a Tillinghast feel with tabletop greens guarded by flashed up bunkers.