Wake up! It’s time to get in on the action going on in the upper Catskill Mountain area of New York State and hop onto the Rip Van Winkle Golf Trail.
There’s a wonderful cache of courses and resorts that have lined up to introduce locals and visitors alike to superb Greene County golf that is fun, challenging and affordable.
There are a total of nine courses that make up the Rip Van Winkle Golf Trail (named, of course, after Washington Irving’s famous fictional oversleeping character), several of which afford stay and play options “Our courses offer great golf, breathtaking views, dining and the other recreational opportunities this beautiful area has to offer,” says Peter Maassmann, owner of Blackhead Mountain Lodge and Country Club and a PGA Professional. “The courses all have wonderful scenery and appeal to golfers of all abilities.”
He adds, “What makes our Golf Trail special is the challenges it offers. We have courses that are very demanding, measuring over 7,000 yards from the back tees, and courses that are less than 6,000 yards that appeal to the less advanced golfers. Some have views of the Catskill Mountains and others have views of the Hudson Valley.
“We also take pride in how we treat our guests. All of our courses are known for their warm hospitality. Tourism is our number one industry and we strive to treat our guests like they are friends of the family.”
Perhaps the best way to sample the Rip Van Winkle Golf Trail is to purchase a season pass for $299, which entitles the holder to play each member course (cart extra).
Says Maassmann, “When you buy a pass, your name gets put into a raffle for cash prizes up to $10,000. Last year the grand prize was $5,000. You also receive a complimentary entree into the Rip Van Winkle Signature Hole Challenge, with hole from each course making up this 18-hole challenge.”
He adds, “Participants in the Rip Van Winkle Golf Trail have enjoyed the arrangement since its conception. Nearly all Trail members have renewed their pass year after year. The end of the year dinner has always been well attended and the excitement of the $10,000 live drawing is enjoyed by all.”
The courses on the Trail include: Blackhead Mountain Lodge and Country Club, an exceptional layout that was carved into the natural terrain of the Blackhead Mountains of the Northern Catskills; Windham Country Club, rated a “must play” by Golf Digest; Sunny Hill Resort and Golf Course, an all-encompassing family resort with two golf courses that includes the Thunderheart at Sunny Hill 18-hole track; Rip Van Winkle Country Club, a nine-hole Donald Ross gem; Rainbow Golf Club, which has one of the area’s only island greens; the golf course at Christman’s Windham House, a 27-hole facility that also boasts the oldest continuously operating inn in the Catskills; Catskill Golf Course; a scenic test of ability that is only a mile from the New York State Thruway; and Colonial Golf Course.
For après golf, a number of the resorts and courses have superb dining venues and there is plenty to do and see in this special region of New York State, including hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, shopping or merely sightseeing and taking in the beautiful rolling countryside and hills that lured Rip Van Winkle to a mountaintop for that fabled long nap.