Major restoration and renovation work takes place at Schenectady Municipal

  • Lovely Golf Course

    A view of the second and third holes, which are being worked on as part of the current project

  • Lovely Golf Course

    Hearn’s plan for the course’s thirteenth hole

  • Lovely Golf Course

    The City of hired Schenectady Ray Hearn and Dan Shearer to create a masterplan, construction drawings and then oversee the construction. Peter Knutson of the City is also helping oversee the construction element of the project.

  • Lovely Golf Course

    An archive photo from 1934 showing workers building the course in freezing temperatures

  • Lovely Golf Course

    Ray Hearn (centre) out on site at Schenectady Municipal

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Golf course architect Raymond Hearn is leading a project at the historic Schenectady Municipal Golf Course in Schenectady, New York.

Hearn is aiming to restore lost features on the course, while also looking to improve strategy and shot value to better reflect modern playing standards.

Hearn was hired by the City of Schenectady to rework the course, which was one of the first courses built after the Great Depression in 1935.

“The site is a wonderful lay of the land routing that uses all the hills, kettles and kames created by glacier,” Hearn told GCA

The course was designed by Jim Thompson and AF Knight, and created using funds from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and Works Progress Administration.

“We are restoring original green edges and other elements of the original design,” Hearn said. “All other work in our master planning and first phase of construction is focused on remodeling to improve strategy, shot value and playability. As a tribute to the original architects, I am preserving the original routing – which I would describe as a lay of the land masterpiece. I am also preserving all the greens.”

Tee sizes are being increased, while other practical enhancements to the course – including drainage, irrigation, cart paths and tree removal – are also being made.

Hearn has been able to use a vast number of historic photos supplied by Schnectady’s Union College to inform his work.

“Unemployed men savaged by the Great Depression were thrilled to work on the golf course when there was little work to be found if any in the US,” Hearn said. “There are some remarkable photos of the original construction. In one photo, men using pick axes in 20 degree below zero weather are shown creating a trench for the herringbone drainage pipe and gravel.”

Brian Vinchesi of Irrigation Consulting has handled the project’s irrigation element, while Daniel Shearer of Saratoga Associates is directing the permitting and engineering. XGD Systems is leading the construction element, while Mike Scesny, Schenectady Municipal’s golf course superintendent, is overseeing the grow-in.

“This is municipal golf at its finest,” Hearn added. “It has been an honour for all the consultants involved to work with the City of Schenectady on this project.”