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Pinehaven Country Club


About Pinehaven Country Club


The dreams of eleven sportsmen from the Capital District launched a plan to build a golf club in what is known as “the Pine Bush” area between Albany and Schenectady. The result of those dreams is the golf course that challenges competitors today. It is truly a setting of magnificent beauty and has been called one the area’s most picturesque golf courses.

The Founders
 
The eleven founders - Peter DeRuscio (the first club president), Ernie DelZotto, Leno DelZetto, Dr. Ennio Isabella, Joseph DeRuscio, Francis Juraka, Al Nebolini, Joseph Mazzone, Robert Grasso, Al Cerveca and Al Percora - began construction of the course in 1959, doing much of the work clearing trees and preparing the land themselves. It is unusual that the site was chosen for a golf course because Pinehaven was literally carved out of a forest of full-grown Pitch Pines, Spruce, Douglas Firs and hardwoods.

The Design

The course was designed by Jim Thompson, who was the Head Golf Professional at the Mohawk Golf Club, and Armand Farina, the Head Golf Professional at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. In later years, other designers, including Geoffrey Cornish and, more recently Rick Jacobsen, lent guidance to the redesign of various holes and the adding of course features.

The course is a par 71 for men and a par 72 for women. From the Championship tees it measures 6496 yards. Water comes into play on three holes (2, 16,17) and the fairways are typically tree lined and narrow. The course record, 63, was set in 1985 by Jim Jeffers, then a Pinehaven Assistant Professional.

In 1997, the golf course was designated by the Audubon Society under the cooperative santuary program for golf courses.

Course Opening

On June 5, 1960, less than two years after the first construction stake was driven into the "Pine Bush Area", the first 9 holes of the course were opened with ceremonies conducted by Dr. Joseph DeBlase, the second president of the club. Jim Thompson, in honor of his work on the course, hit the first ball. The first foursome consisted of four local Golf Professionals, including Steve Savel of Western Turnpike Golf Course, Bob Haggerty of The Edison Club, Hap Duval of Sanford Golf Club, and Armand Farina  of Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. The second nine holes opened in the spring of 1961.

Course Changes

Pinehaven has continued its development over its sixty year history. The second nine holes were completed in 1961 on 75 acres of land purchased along Siver Road. In 1962 the practice field was developed. The club installed the initial watering system in 1963 and in 1965 the swimming pool was opened. More recently, a new automated irrigation system was installed in the 1990's and in the summer of 1998 the newly renovated 16th hole was unveiled. The work on the 16th hole converted a 350 yard par 4 into a demanding 420 yard par 4 with a new green guarded by a large pond left of and behind the green. Since 1998 Pinehaven's championship course has undergone four significant renovations. These renovations began with the eighteenth fairway being graded to offer a better view of the green complex when hitting an approach shot. Additionally, the fairway and greenside bunkers were renovated. The left side of the green was subtlety enlarged to offer additional hole location opportunities.

The next hole addressed was the 13th, a rather benign 350 yard par 4. A new championship tee was added stretching the hole more than 25 yards (to 378 yards). A series of bunkers were added up the right side; they serve as targets from the tee and they extend to the greenside.

The right side of the 8th hole was formerly guarded by a large white pine tree. The declining health of this pine made its removal necessary; in addition, numerous trees were removed from the rough on the left side of the dogleg. The fairway was graded and three fairway bunkers added to frame the landing area. The surrounding green complex was improved with three new bunkers, and a new championship tee added 35 yards to this difficult par 4.

In the fall of 2007, Pinehaven redesigned the practice putting green area. The new putting green which opened during the 2008 season, is three times the size of the former green and is placed in an ampitheater setting. The new  green complex offers members and competitors an exceptional short game practice area.
 
The Clubhouse

Since Pinehaven opened in 1960, it has had three clubhouses. The first was a small building near the original first tee (near the restrooms and snack shack behind the current eighth tee). The second was an old farmhouse on the site of the present clubhouse. That structure was replaced by the clubhouse designed and built by Dominic Trischetta on the present site. This latter building was unique because it was built around and over the old farmhouse. The only remnant of that farmhouse is the fireplace in the current lounge area. The first formal dinner-dance was held in the rebuilt clubhouse on April 14, 1967.

Two major renovations to the clubhouse have since occured. The first was started 1997 and completed in the spring of 1998. This featured the creation of the current spike lounge. The second occured from December 2017 to completion in March of 2018. This second renovation updated the main level of the clubhouse. The Fireplace lounge area, presidential lounge and banquet room were updated and a new foyer entrance was created.

Going Forward

Pinehaven has seen many dramatic changes since the first round was played in 1960. One thing that hasn't changed is the spirit of volunteerism demonstrated by the membership. 

As Pinehaven celebrates it's 60th anniversary it embraces the opportunity to host the 2020 NYS Women's Senior Amateur Championship. This will be Pinehaven's fourth NYSGA Amateur Championship joining the 1998 Men's State Amateur, 2002 Women's State Amateur and the 2008 Men's State Amateur.