The sport of golf came to Bath, New York in 1925, on a course located opposite Lake Salubria on what is now Rt. 415. The course stayed open until the beginning of WWII when membership dwindled to the point the club couldn't meet its mortgage obligations and defaulted.
In 1946, another attempt to provide a country club for Bath, NY was started by Melvin Stewart. The course was built on what is now called Upper Maple Heights in the town of Bath. The dream only lasted until 1948, when the clubhouse burned, and the land was sold to a housing developer.
A Turn in the Tides
Another course was designed by Tom Bonner, a pro from Elmira, and Bath's own James Hawk. At that time, there were plans for only nine holes. (The original 9 holes are the back 9 today.) Interested parties and small Bath businesses did most of the work. Local high school students helped pick stones from the fairway. Slowly, the 80-acre farm was turned into the first nine holes of the Bath Country Club.
The first annual report was presented on Dec. 3, 1953. Total debentures sold at the time numbered 116. The opening of the course was slated for July 4, 1954, and, in fact, the course opened that day. It was reported by Grover C. Bradstreet, an original planner and club president:
“The greens were bumpy and the fairways sparse, but we had a lot of fun.”
The clubhouse was started later in July of 1954, and again was a product of volunteers.
Designing the Current Landscape
Reported in the Table of Expenses June - December 1953, was $17.50 for 5000 trees and $93.05 for beer! The 5000 trees were planted by volunteers and were the stately pines you will see on our course today.
The course and membership proceeded nicely, and usual golfing programs were available. In July of 1963, cows from the adjacent farm were jumping the fence at number nine, so it was necessary to build a higher fence.
By 1965, the land was purchased for an additional nine holes. Implementation did not become a reality until 1993. Which brings us to the beginning of the 18-hole course we know and love today. Robert Tallman, of an Ithaca architectural firm, designed the new nine holes.
A Strong Community Effort
Construction on the new nine was mostly done with the cooperation of local high school juniors and seniors that were enrolled in Ag-Mechanics Conservation, a course of studies at Coopers Center Boces. This not only benefited our club, but it also provided students with real work experience.
The development of the second nine was completed in 1994, and opened to membership in July of that year.
Paying Nod to History
The foresight of our original founders provided our region with a place for golf, fellowship, and community.
Course Overview and Scorecard
Hole by Hole Tour
Our Front Nine
Hole # 1:
This relatively short par 5 can be a great way to start a round. A good tee shot makes the green reachable in two, but use caution, as anything too far left will leave you hitting three from the tee. When hitting your approach, try and keep your ball below the hole as the green slopes severely from back to the front.
Hole # 2:
A well-placed tee shot is the key to this one. Let your ball stray to the left, and you’ll find yourself with an awkward stance, which brings a greenside bunker into play. The right side of the fairway is preferred, but several small trees come into play if you’re too far right.
Hole # 3:
A straightforward par 4 whose only real danger is a tee shot hooked to the left where it can find the pond in front of #2 tee box. The approach shot is the key to scoring with a two-tiered green. It is imperative to get on the proper level.
Hole # 4:
The first of three holes that are Bath CC’s version of amen corner. This short, uphill, par three features an undulating green that requires a two-putt more often than not. Good luck saving par if you find yourself with anything but a putter in hand for your second shot.
Hole # 5:
The true monster at BCC! This par 5 has ruined many a round. Leave your ego and your driver in the cart, as a tee shot in play, is priority one. OB down the left side will sometimes spit out a wayward tee shot. A drop zone is provided for a long ball in the woods to the right. When hitting your second, consider going through the fairway leaving a straight uphill approach to a two-tiered green that slopes severely from left to right. If you find yourself on the wrong level of the green, or to the left of the hole, say a prayer and remember, there is still plenty of golf left.
Hole # 6:
This downhill par 3 can have some teeth if you haven’t been paying attention to the wind. An elevated tee box at the base of the woods shelters the player from feeling the wind. Take a quick look to your left at # 16 green to see what the flag is doing. A tee shot below and to the left of the hole will give a relatively straight look at birdie as the green slopes from back right to front left.
Hole # 7
A big dogleg right that requires a well-placed tee shot. Don’t get too greedy with the trees that line the right side of the fairway, as whoever said trees are 90% air, has never played this hole.
Hole # 8
This tough par 4 is yet another that requires a well-placed tee shot. Too far left and you’re view of the green will be blocked by the woods. Let your tee shot stray too far right, and you’ll have the same problem with a couple big trees, plus the ball will be below your feet. Hitting one long and down the middle doesn’t ensure a good lie either, as the fairway comes to a point and drops off in all directions.
Hole # 9
This dogleg left, par four provides a good scoring opportunity if you can get your tee shot in the fairway. Too far right will leave you searching amongst range balls. Get too greedy to the left and several pesky trees can block your approach. Short right or left will give you an opportunity for a sand save
Our Back Nine
Hole # 10
Left is better than right from the tee, with the right side being OB over the railroad tracks. Avoid being blocked out by the trees down the right side of the fairway and you’ll have a green light to a receptive green.
Hole # 11:
A short par four where a wayward drive can be big trouble. Leave hitting from the pine needles to the pros and avoid the woods to the left. Pay close attention to your alignment on the tee box as it points you down the right side, which can leave you hitting three from the tee. Use caution when hitting an approach to a front pin as this green features a big false front.
Hole # 12:
A modest par three guarded by four greenside bunkers. The wind is again a big factor in club selection. Avoid going long, which will leave you chipping to a green that slopes from back to front.
Hole # 13:
The longest par four on the course. A good tee shot is the key to reaching the green in two. The preferred shot starts down the right side and works back left where it can find a speed slot in the fairway adding valuable yardage and providing a flat lie. This converted par five allows for a running approach with a green that has an accommodating backstop.
Hole # 14:
One of the most memorable holes at BCC. This downhill, dogleg-right design requires a good tee shot. Hit it through the fairway and you’ll be faced with an awkward stance. Get too greedy with the dogleg and you can find yourself in the woods. A tee shot too far left will leave you with a long approach to a green that features a lengthy pond to the right that will gladly accept your ball.
Hole # 15:
Our longest par three whose only real trouble is the woods to the right. The green features a backstop that will help hold your ball on the green.
Hole # 16:
A long par five that is only reachable in two by the big hitters. Tee shots favoring the left side will provide the best look up the fairway. Trying to overpower your drive and losing it to the right can leave you shouting to those on #13 tee box. Pick your favorite layup yardage for your second and avoid OB on the right. The green is another two-tiered monster that can be very tricky with a front pin placement.
Hole # 17:
Dogleg right, par four that requires a drive down the left side. The fairway slopes severely towards the woods to the right. Even if you can find a wayward tee shot along the fence, it will leave you with virtually no shot at reaching in two. The green features a generous backstop, so make sure not to leave your approach short.
Hole # 18:
This relatively short, dogleg left, par four is reachable from the tee by a big hitter. Trouble awaits if precision isn’t your game, with a fairway bunker and trees down the left side. The key to this one is picking the proper club on your approach as the green is three clubs deep.