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Philip Caccamise

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Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« on: January 19, 2023, 09:56:33 PM »
The fantastic photo of the original #4 posted by Ian Andrew inspired me to start this thread. With the golfing eyes of the world on Rochester this year, it seems like the ideal time to bring the idea to the fore.


It's hard to put into words what this place means to me. I'm sure there's others that feel the same way.. I spent a lot of the pandemic laid up with a back injury and dreaming of golf, including this project. Given the successes of similar projects in similar sized cities (Hartford/Keney Park, Richmond/Belmont, Charleston/Muni, etc) I have to think this can be done at a reasonable cost and scale, and with great benefit to the community. No- I KNOW this can be done with the right help from the right people.


The drawings here are my representation of either a) photo evidence of what existed in the 1930's or b) what I imagine was there based on either descriptions or ground contours, with a little bit of creative license for the current state of affairs while trying to stay in his style.
One thing that stood out to me in research was the similarities between a lot of the holes and traditional templates. This makes sense viewed in the lens that RTJ had just completed a tour of Scotland. Of course he would use the holes he liked! For example, #6 is a Double Plateau green- a small, extreme version, but one nonetheless. #9 is a Cape hole. #12 is an Eden with the bunkers restored. #14 is similar to a Leven, etc.



#1

Prior to 1995, the opening hole played as a 490 yard par 5. There was little trouble anywhere, but a fantastic little green which subtly runs away towards the lake. Now it's a 390 yard par 4 with the same green, leaving the typical player with a mid iron into a green that slopes away. There is a lot of unused real estate surrounding the fairway which could be repurposed. This is one of the few holes where I propose a fairly radical change, cutting down the line of trees by the chipping green and moving the tee 40 yards right. This opens up the possibility of a short flight range and a Himalayas-style putting course, along with a snack/bar hut hopefully creating a community feel. The fairway bunkers (church pews probably a bit over the top  :o )
 are intended to frame the tee shot and subtly push the player right, away from the ideal line into this green- which I propose dropping about 3-5' so the hills behind create a punchbowl effect and a much friendlier start for the player.




Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2023, 10:08:41 PM »



#2


Certainly one of the hardest par 4's in WNY, this hole has architectural lore as well. I have heard, but have no confirmation, that the area to the left was originally a fairway as well and poor maintenance practices let it go, leaving just the route to the right of the creek. Bringing that fairway back creates a Lido-style risk reward off the tee to an 'island' fairway with a much better angle into the green for the 2nd shot. This hole doesn't really need anything beyond that, it's really good already. An additional option would be to push the back tee down and to the right in the clearing next to the creek creating a moderate length par 5 (balancing the proposed reduction in par on a future hole...) The centerline bunker would only be added if this is converted to a par 5.




Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2023, 10:16:11 PM »
#3


All that really needs to be done here is improve the mowing lines and pull back the trees on the left to give the player a look at the green. Based on some grainy photos, there was a bunker low left and mid/high right. Bring those back and improved agronomy should be sufficient.




Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2023, 10:38:39 PM »
#4


Just do this.



... proposed #5:


The original #5 used the greensite of what is currently #4. The area is choked with trees and would likely require a lot of work on the periphery to make it wide enough as a par 4. The original par 3 #6 had a fantastic Lion's Mouth bunker, my proposal would be to return the tee to the original location but play across the valley to a restored Lion's Mouth.


More to come.










Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2023, 02:48:14 AM »
Cool thread, Philip.


If this discussion group encouraged more people to open up their creative side and discuss ideas in detail, it would be a far more rewarding place.

Kyle Harris

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2023, 05:24:44 AM »
Hopefully this gains some traction. I have nothing to contribute but Durand Eastman is on my short list of "must see."
http://kylewharris.com

Constantly blamed by 8-handicaps for their 7 missed 12-footers each round.

Thank you for changing the font of your posts. It makes them easier to scroll past.

MCirba

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2023, 06:20:32 AM »
Go Phil!
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Rob Marshall

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2023, 07:57:41 AM »



#2


Certainly one of the hardest par 4's in WNY, this hole has architectural lore as well. I have heard, but have no confirmation, that the area to the left was originally a fairway as well and poor maintenance practices let it go, leaving just the route to the right of the creek. Bringing that fairway back creates a Lido-style risk reward off the tee to an 'island' fairway with a much better angle into the green for the 2nd shot. This hole doesn't really need anything beyond that, it's really good already. An additional option would be to push the back tee down and to the right in the clearing next to the creek creating a moderate length par 5 (balancing the proposed reduction in par on a future hole...) The centerline bunker would only be added if this is converted to a par 5.






The left of the creek on #2 was fairway. I played there when it was. If I remember correctly at some point in the 70's they just stopped mowing it and it just became overgrown. There was no 2nd tee to the left like you have in your rendering. If there ever was it was gone by the early 70's.


As a kid we would get in the bag line and wait over an hour to tee off and play one. Then you walked down the path thru the woods to the second tee and there would be 4 or 5 groups waiting to tee off on two. Must have been the combination of the creek on the left and the woods on the right.


Durand was a ball hawkers dream. I spent many hours looking for balls in the woods to sell.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2023, 08:08:06 AM by Rob Marshall »
"I used to get pissed at blowing leads until I quit having them" John Kavanaugh

Rob Marshall

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2023, 08:02:20 AM »
Hopefully this gains some traction. I have nothing to contribute but Durand Eastman is on my short list of "must see."


When I started playing there in the 70's the course had already had some major changes. There were no sand traps. It had some really cool multi tiered greens when I played there but they were flattened. It was a great place to learn the game.
"I used to get pissed at blowing leads until I quit having them" John Kavanaugh

Ian Andrew

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2023, 11:25:55 AM »
Philip,


You need to go to Ithaca and go into the archives at Cornell.
I'm quite certain you'll find the plans for the project.
It was a WPA project and would probably be very well documented.




-

Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2023, 01:15:36 PM »
Philip,


You need to go to Ithaca and go into the archives at Cornell.
I'm quite certain you'll find the plans for the project.
It was a WPA project and would probably be very well documented.





Yes! Great idea, thank you. This of #3 is exactly what we need- as expected, really just a change in mowing lines and pulling back the trees on the left.


Thank you everyone for the support! I've done a little legwork behind the scenes (thanks Mike!) and I truly believe we have the contacts to get this done.


Continuing...

#6


This hole has a remarkable 'double plateau' green and a lower back half. The trees on the right need to be removed. Based on old photos it was open and makes a lot more sense as an unmaintained grass area. Removing the trees opens up the possibility of moving the tee further to the right, which creates a much more interesting tee shot with the slope of the hill running left to right. Nothing needs to be done on the green, I don't have any photos but the ground depressions indicate bunkers possibly behind and to the right.


#7


Another truly audacious green with 4! tiers (the top tier is not pinnable.) That said, tree growth has crushed this hole. It should be a player option to play to the left fairway, which is impossible now unless you can hit a snap hook. Pull the trees back and open up the second fairway. I found this picture of #8 which appears to have a bunker on low right of #7, I drew it in where it logically makes sense guarding the second shot from the alternate fairway but I don't think that's right.



Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2023, 01:30:15 PM »
Completing the front 9:


#8


A pretty beastly par 3 that can stretch to 220ish with the back tee. I've long thought the intention was as a moderate reverse Redan, the photo above doesn't really show that. Either way, not much to do on this hole other than cosmetic and we have a great photo to work off of.


#9


Another hole where trees have affected the playability. This was a Cape, but with the trees on the right encroaching you have to hit a 260 yard slice put it in position A. The green is pretty nondescript, one of the least interesting on the course. I propose expanding the pond (which would also improve drainage as that is the low point of the course and create some fill for use elsewhere) and moving the green up against it. Add an aiming/topshot bunker ~100 yards off the tee at the start of the fairway. There is a big hill where the trees to be removed are so anyone trying to cut the corner in that direction will have a blind shot.






Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2023, 01:42:48 PM »



#2


Certainly one of the hardest par 4's in WNY, this hole has architectural lore as well. I have heard, but have no confirmation, that the area to the left was originally a fairway as well and poor maintenance practices let it go, leaving just the route to the right of the creek. Bringing that fairway back creates a Lido-style risk reward off the tee to an 'island' fairway with a much better angle into the green for the 2nd shot. This hole doesn't really need anything beyond that, it's really good already. An additional option would be to push the back tee down and to the right in the clearing next to the creek creating a moderate length par 5 (balancing the proposed reduction in par on a future hole...) The centerline bunker would only be added if this is converted to a par 5.






The left of the creek on #2 was fairway. I played there when it was. If I remember correctly at some point in the 70's they just stopped mowing it and it just became overgrown. There was no 2nd tee to the left like you have in your rendering. If there ever was it was gone by the early 70's.


As a kid we would get in the bag line and wait over an hour to tee off and play one. Then you walked down the path thru the woods to the second tee and there would be 4 or 5 groups waiting to tee off on two. Must have been the combination of the creek on the left and the woods on the right.


Durand was a ball hawkers dream. I spent many hours looking for balls in the woods to sell.


Thank you Rob for the confirmation! Awesome!


I don't miss those days walking down the hill to #2 and seeing three groups on the tee  :D

MCirba

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2023, 02:02:00 PM »
Love hole #3.


Just a wonderfully natural dangerous short par 4.
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2023, 02:08:04 PM »
Love hole #3.


Just a wonderfully natural dangerous short par 4.


Short enough that the player thinks they can get there, but a simple berm protecting the line of view to the green puts doubt in the player's mind. I've NEVER seen anyone's tee shot actually finish on the surface (a few over in the junk), and if you try and drive the green and miss you're likely to leave a really awkward pitch to the tabletop green. 5 iron wedge is the correct play and nobody wants to do it. Looks like an easy 3 on the scorecard... and many bogeys are made.

Rob Marshall

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2023, 06:39:13 PM »
In the 70ís there was a tree on the corner of #7 that prevented you for the most part hitting the fairway left of the creek. In my mind itís hole #8 because the short par 3 #4 was still in play. The play on #10 your #9, was to aim at a bridge and clear the creek. If you hit it to the right you got trapped by a pocket of trees.  There were some brutal walks on a hot summer day. None worse than coming out of the valley after playing the old #10.
"I used to get pissed at blowing leads until I quit having them" John Kavanaugh

Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2023, 08:43:56 PM »
In the 70ís there was a tree on the corner of #7 that prevented you for the most part hitting the fairway left of the creek. In my mind itís hole #8 because the short par 3 #4 was still in play. The play on #10 your #9, was to aim at a bridge and clear the creek. If you hit it to the right you got trapped by a pocket of trees.  There were some brutal walks on a hot summer day. None worse than coming out of the valley after playing the old #10.


That hill and me are not friends. Multiple times I had diabetic episodes and had to struggle up that hill.


That tree on 7 about 80-100 yards off the tee has to have been added after the open though, right? Guessing based on size it was probably planted in the 50's.


#10


Crossing King's Highway, a beast of a par 4 to open the back 9. A massive drop from tee to fairway and typically downwind means it does play shorter, although the fairway tends to be soggy (even after adding dirt in 1995.) It's got a bit of Road Hole characteristics. 1) There's... a road. 2) The green is set at about a 20 degree angle from where the typical player's second shot is.
For shorter hitters, cheating left gives a worse angle into the green. The farther right you go, the longer the hole plays but the better the angle. The fairway needs to be raised (again), particularly on the far side of the creek. Up at the green, it looks like #10 and #13 were originally connected as a double green, and poor maintenance practices lost it. I propose with the raising of the fairway, the green gets raised as well which creates more of a depression low left. Road Hole bunker optional, or just a grass bunker.




Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2023, 08:51:56 PM »
#11


Another difficult par 4 where angles matter. The closer you take on the creek, the better the angle into the green. Another spot that tends to be wet, dredging the creek and/or raising the fairway is probably needed. I don't think much needs to be done here - restoring the original green pad and better agronomy should do the job. The bunkers set into the hill behind are optional. I have no historical pictures of this hole and no indication they existed, I just always imagined them being there.




Rob Marshall

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2023, 09:00:57 PM »
My father grew up at the end of the old road. We used to take it to my grandmothers house on Pine Grove Ave. Interesting  thing about number 11. In the creek bed there was a slab of concrete. My father told me that it was part of an old dam. Apparently, early on the creek led to a pond in front of the green. I would guess 50 yards in front.
"I used to get pissed at blowing leads until I quit having them" John Kavanaugh

Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2023, 09:13:53 PM »
#12


Using Google Earth for this one to demonstrate the tree encroachment. It's really bad. Takes away from what is a diabolical par 3 that should be an outstanding hole.


It's roughly an Eden template in my opinion. 180 yards with what appears to be bunkers that were grassed over short right and left and a wicked green back to front and left to right. The green needs work with regard to maintenance because it doesn't get sunlight. Once again, replacing the bunkers, trimming trees, and improved agronomy is all that needs to be done.





#13


I'm not sure what the original intention was here. I have heard that the original fairway was very wide and the hills on the right were mowed, but have no visual evidence as such. That would make more sense than the absurdly narrow strip of fairway in the middle of a nearly 450 yard par 4 with significant tree encroachment on the corner. My proposal is to push the mowing lines back out over the hill, letting the corner of the dogleg return to native grass, and push the green right about 10 yards up against the creek, creating a short par 5 balancing the loss of par on the front (because, you know, par always has to be 70 or higher...  ::) )






Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2023, 09:16:26 PM »
My father grew up at the end of the old road. We used to take it to my grandmothers house on Pine Grove Ave. Interesting  thing about number 11. In the creek bed there was a slab of concrete. My father told me that it was part of an old dam. Apparently, early on the creek led to a pond in front of the green. I would guess 50 yards in front.


Haha that's great! The pond was where that outlet is under the road? That makes total sense. Probably why it floods out, there's not the water control there anymore.

Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2023, 09:23:45 PM »
#14


The contours on this hole are already in place. It looks like there was a much wider fairway originally with the upper section (remaining fairway) being the optimal choice, somewhat obscured by the knob in front of the tee, but if you fanned one right on the lower section the angle into the green was worse. The green is really good- two tiers and plenty of internal movement for a small green.


Tree encroachment once again is a major issue but better agronomy should take care of it.


Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2023, 09:44:20 PM »
#15


There's no driving range at Durand Eastman, but there IS Van Lare for target practice. If you needed a reminder after 14 holes that you're playing a muni, there's a shit plant next to the tee. Ignore that (and the sometimes horrific smell) and you have a fantastic short par 4 that plays downhill 40-50'. In the summer, long hitters can get very close to the green. Cheat too much to the right and you're in the trees. The green runs subtly away and is tricky to hold with less than a full swing. RTJ wasn't big on centerline bunkers but a couple spectacle bunkers to challenge the long hitter trying to reach the green would look really good on this hole with a properly mowed wide fairway in my opinion.


#16


I have some personal history with this hole. Back in 1994, they held an open meeting with regard to the changes to the golf course. 16 year old me brought my sketch to improve this hole (which was added in 1979 replacing the combined 4th and 5th holes), which was quite frankly garbage. 180 yards, flat, flat circle green. The designer loved it, the nature crowd hated it due to the number of trees being cleared. A compromise was made and the result was about a 275 yard par 4. The room is really lacking to do much but there's definitely some tree clearing near the green needed.







Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2023, 09:59:40 PM »
#17


Back to Google Earth to show what a great location this is. This is basically a drone shot from over Lake Ontario looking back up 17 and down 18. It's a really, really good par 3 with a complicated green. I've not found evidence of a bunker low right but there is a depression which looks like there once was one, same with the bunker drawn on the mid-high left. Other than better agronomy nothing needs to be done here.


#18


Ever played golf on a bobsled run? That's what 18 is... uphill. Tree encroachment is a major problem but once again not much needs to be done other than better agronomy. I don't have any historical photos on this hole and it's hard to see on the ground whether there were any bunkers around the green, but it would make logical sense. The photo I thought was #18 was mislabeled on the DEGC website and turned out to be #4.





Philip Caccamise

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Re: Durand Eastman GC - A Restoration Dream
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2023, 10:10:34 PM »
More from that article.


I don't know if this project will ever get done, but I've had these ideas in my head for 30 years and it's been incredibly satisfying to put them on paper and share them with this exceptional group. I'm willing to do whatever I can to lead this project. Golf has given me most of what I have in life and as noted in the article, I wouldn't have been able to play as a kid without this facility (or GVP) existing.




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