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Stewart Abramson

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I just returned from a short visit to Resorts International Catskills near Kiamesha Lake in New York’s Catskill region.  As a youngster, I vacationed in that area with my family almost every year from 1961 to 1967. At that time the region was abuzz with numerous hotels with big name entertainment and all types of activities, including golf. I wasn’t a golfer back then, but in the late 90’s when I first took up the game, I visited many of the old guard Catskill courses, including Kutschers (Wm F Mitchell), Grossingers (Joe Finger), The Nevele (Tom Fazio), The Fallsview (RTJ Sr), The Granit (Hal Purdy), The Concord Monster (Joe Finger) and the Concord International, all of which are NLE. The decline in the region’s tourism industry over the last 50+ years is stark. The only public  golf courses I am aware of that remain in close proximity to the Borscht Belt region of Monticello/Liberty/Fallsburg/Ellenville are two muni’s, Tarry Brae and Lochmor, both owned by the Town of Fallsburg, and Swan Lake, which is a “mom and pop” operation that seems to be hanging on by a thread, all three designed by Wm F Mitchell. The three are decent, but not special. I played Swan Lake on this trip, a nice round for $25, including cart to ride on its roller coaster routing, up, down and across a steep hillside parcel. 
The first new golf course opening in the area in 50 years is scheduled to occur next spring  at Resorts International Catskills. As best I can tell the new course will have nine holes over land that was part of the Concord International Course and nine over land that was the first hole and back nine of the Concord Monster. I had time to walk what I believe will be the front nine of the new course (the part on the International). Those holes appear to be ready to play with just some mowing and raking of bunkers, although I don’t think construction has started on a club house and there are no signs indicating hole numbers.  Query: Is it normal to keep a course in playing condition this far in advance of opening? The greens were mown to putting length, most of the fairways were cut to fairway length although a few were at short rough length from tree line to tree line.
I believe the new course was designed by Bryce Swanson, a Rees Jones associate. According to an article on Jones’ website, the surviving portions of the Monster have been reconfigured as follows:
  • ·         “the former first hole will become the new 10th, while being shortened to a par-4 from a par-5;
  • ·         the old 18th will become the 11th, while the previous green site for the 11th will become the new 12th’s tee box;
  • ·         the 12th green site will be moved to across Kiamesha Creek, removing the forced carry;
  • ·         a new short par-four 13th will play from 255 yards to 365 yards along the creek, near a new par-three 14th;
  • ·         the 15th will be the old 16th; the par-four 16th will be the old 17th; the 17th will be a brand new par-three; and the old 9th will become the new 18th.”




The course is situated between the two new on-site hotels, the Resorts World, which houses the casino and a small Top Golf facility, and the Kartrite, which is a family oriented facility with a large indoor water park. The nine holes I walked were the ones on the International course site and are adjacent to the Kartrite which was built on remainder of the International course. The nine new holes that I walked didn’t remind me of either the International or the Monster, which is probably a good thing.
I’m not 100% certain of the hole numbers as there is not yet any signage to identify the holes, and it’s possible they could reverse the nines from what was indicated in some of the prior press,. There were a couple of places where I could have taken a different fork in the road, but I think I have the order of the holes right as the ones I saw started and returned where I think the club house will be built and consisted of what appear to be two par 3’s, two par 5’s and five par 4’s so would make sense that they are a nine hole loop.
Overall, the nine holes I saw had very wide playing corridors, a lot of movement to the land both in terms of uphill and downhill holes as well as ridges and a couple hummocky rolling fairways. The setting was very pretty and secluded with only two holes parallel to one another. There were five teeing areas on most holes. These nine holes were an easy walk, the only exception being the longish uphill walk from 5th green to the sixth tee.
Reminder hole numbers are my best guesses.


Number 1 is a  par 4, dogleg left to a flattish landing area followed by a gradual incline toward the green that gets steeper as  you approach the green which has a single center front bunker.



Resorts Catskills #1 from middle tee


Resorts Catskills #1


Resorts Catskills #1


Resorts Catskills #1 uphill approach


Resorts Catskills #1 pitch to green 


Resorts Catskills #1 short right of green 
Resorts Catskills #1 green from right front

The second hole is a medium length par three


Resorts Catskills #2 par 3 from middle tee 


Resorts Catskills #2 par 3 from front tee

Resorts Catskills #2 short right of green

next 7 holes to follow

jeffwarne

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"many of the old guard Catskill courses, including Kutschers (Wm F Mitchell), Grossingers (Joe Finger), The Nevele (Tom Fazio), The Fallsview (RTJ Sr), The Granit (Hal Purdy), The Concord Monster (Joe Finger) and the Concord International, all of which are NLE."
[/size][/color]
[/size]wow- I was not aware of that much carnage up there.[/color]
[/size][/color]
[/size]Thanks for the pics-I always enjoyed The Monster and Grossingers in MET Section events[/color]
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Stewart Abramson

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Number 3 is a par 4 with a somewhat rumpled fairway that tilts slightly to right and moves gently uphill toward the green until reaching a ridge approximately 100 yards short of the green followed by a downhill slope before rising more up to the green. There are no bunkers on the hole other than two fronting the green

Resorts Catskills #3 from front tee 


Resorts Catskills #3



Resorts Catskills #3


Resorts Catskills #3 short of the ridge


Resorts Catskills #3 uphill pitch to green with a little false front 


Resorts Catskills #3 right green front bunker 


Resorts Catskills #3  green 


Resorts Catskills #3 view from back of green toward tee

Number 4 is a longer down hill par 3 in a very pretty setting


Resorts Catskills #4 drop shot par 3 from back tee 

Stewart Abramson

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wow- I was not aware of that much carnage up there.

Thanks for the pics-I always enjoyed The Monster and Grossingers in MET Section events


It's an impoverished area with almost nothing left of the dozens of old resorts (except those that have become hasidic camps). I think the casino/water park/golf resort will be too little too late to significantly help the region economically. I'm not sure who the golf clientele will be, or whether casino visitors will help the golf course succeed or if golfers will help the casino succeed. At present Resorts World is the only game in town so to speak.

Alan FitzGerald CGCS MG

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.  Query: Is it normal to keep a course in playing condition this far in advance of opening? The greens were mown to putting length, most of the fairways were cut to fairway length although a few were at short rough length from tree line to tree line.


Yes! It is ideal if the turf has time to mature and get used to the mowing heights. The mature stand will provide better playing conditions (ie denser turf) and it will also hold up better to the stresses of playing.
Golf construction & maintenance are like creating a masterpiece; Da Vinci didn't paint the Mona Lisa's eyes first..... You start with the backdrop, layer on the detail and fine tune the finished product into a masterpiece

Stewart Abramson

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Number 5 par 4



Resorts Catskills #5

Number 6 is a long par 5. The second half of the fairway slopes left to right. The green is tucked left into a knoll. I want to see how this hole actually plays but it looks like fun



Resorts Catskills #6 par 5  from second tee from the front


Resorts Catskills #6


Resorts Catskills #6


Resorts Catskills #6 par 5 approach


Resorts Catskills #6


Resorts Catskills #6 short of green


Resorts Catskills #6 green 

Number 7 is a short downhill par 4. I think it is drivable for some. There is more room for conservative players on the right, but that brings a pond into play.


Resorts Catskills #7 a short downhill par 4 from back tee


Resorts Catskills #7 from middle tee 


Resorts Catskills #7

Resorts Catskills #7


Resorts Catskills #7)

Ronald Montesano

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So far, so good.


The International was always playable. NYSAIS state championships were held there for a number of years in the late 1990s/early 2000s. The Monster was simply ridiculous; nearly unplayable. I hope that its repurposed holes have been improved upon.


Stewart, thank you for the photos. They tell a complete tale.
Coming in August 2023
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Mike Sweeney

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Stewart,


Thanks for posting. I know you walked, but is it walkable for golf, so far from what you saw?
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us."

Dr. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Niall C

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Stewart

It's a course I'm very unlikely to see in the flesh but very much enjoying the tour. Thanks for posting.

Niall

Stewart Abramson

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Stewart,

Thanks for posting. I know you walked, but is it walkable for golf, so far from what you saw?


It was a very easy walk with one exception. There is a steep uphill walk to the 6th tee. That wouldn't stop me from walking the course, but I did stop for a few seconds to catch my breath when I got to that tee (I'm 68 :) ) [size=78%]. [/size][/size]Also, remember I did not see the other nine holes that are on the former "Monster" site. It's possible that they would be a harder walk. My recollection is that that was a hillier parcel. Who knows if they will even permit walking.[size=78%]

Stewart Abramson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Number 8 is a long par 4. From the back tees the tee shot must navigate a chute through trees. It's more open from the middle and front tees. The fairway zig zags first to the left and then to the right, and provides several options to play.



Resorts Catskills #8 a from middle tee


Resorts Catskills #8 from second from front tee 


Resorts Catskills #8 long approach from left, fairway turns slightly right from here [/url]  Fifth hole can be seen on the left


Resorts Catskills #8 approach 


Resorts Catskills #8 green viewed from left rough  Kartrite Hotel in background


Resorts Catskills #8 short of green 


Stewart Abramson

  • Karma: +0/-0
#9 is a long par 5. It curves gently right to left. There are fairway bunkers left and right that can come into play from the tee. The second shot has a center bunker in play (actually slightly left of center). There are a couple of right side fairway bunkers on the approach and one green front center bunker that the green wraps around. These nine holes don't have many bunkers until you reach this hole.



Resorts Catskills #9 par 5 from middle tee


Resorts Catskills #9 humpy fairway casino hotel in background


Resorts Catskills #9 second shot 


Resorts Catskills #9 center fairway bunker


Resorts Catskills #9 pitch to green   


Resorts Catskills #9 short of green


Resorts Catskills #9 green from right front

I'm curious to see the other nine holes and to see the extent the have any of the Monster's DNA,

B.Ross

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Played in 3 or 4 of these in that era. great fun on the international as a youth!

So far, so good.


The International was always playable. NYSAIS state championships were held there for a number of years in the late 1990s/early 2000s. The Monster was simply ridiculous; nearly unplayable. I hope that its repurposed holes have been improved upon.


Stewart, thank you for the photos. They tell a complete tale.

Stewart Abramson

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Just saw this article and attachments from last June, indicating the new course at the old Concord site may finally open this summer (2023)


https://www.sullivantimes.com/post/monster-golf-course-plans-for-2023-reopening-moving-forward


A couple of interesting things: (i) They refer to the new course as "the Monster", presumably to take advantage of the notoriety of the NLE course, even though the new course has little to no resemblance to the old Monster; (ii) they say "the golf course  is anticipated to have a maximum of 72 players at a time". I wonder if that's their being realistic about level of interest in the course, their planned tee sheets leaving significant length of time between tee times to have only one foursome on any hole at a time, or something else.


In any event, the course has been complete (sans clubhouse or pro shop) for about 3 years. I hope they open as I'm curious to play it

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