Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort's historic golf course is a busy place these days, and that's good news for Berkshire County golfers.
In addition to the Lenox course being worked into arguably its best condition in years, all 18 greens are in the process of being expanded and two of the par 4 holes are being lengthened and transformed into par 5s.
"We are trying to make the course more playable for the average golfer while also making it a little longer and more of a test for the better players," Cranwell Director of Golf Luke Salvatore said. "We will be changing the par from 69 to 71 in August."
Salvatore, who has worked at Cranwell since 1996 and was named the director of golf last August, a month after the resort was sold to new owners Cranwell 55, says it's an "exciting time" at the spa and golf resort.
"There is a sense of commitment to the area, resort and golf course," Salvatore said of the new ownership group. "They are invested in making Cranwell all that it should be."
When it comes to the golf course, that means making some tweaks to a layout originally designed by Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek in 1926. That has started with the green expansion.
"What we are trying to do is get the greens back to where they were 10 or 20 years ago," Salvatore said. "There has been a lot of encroachment, so they have gotten smaller."
Salvatore said 4 or 5 feet as been added around most of the putting surfaces. Two others — the par-4 fourth and par-4 14th holes — are getting more significant facelifts, with about 15 feet of green added on No. 4 and 30 feet on No. 14.
"This should make the course more playable for everyone," said Salvatore. "We are waiting for a growing period, which we knew would be the case going in, but the results will be worth it."
Work is underway on the two holes being turned into the par 5s, the dogleg left 13th and the straight away 18th.
The tee on No. 13 is being moved back and to the right of the current tee marker. The distance will go from 426 yards, says Salvatore, to about 480. Moving the tee back will make it a more challenging tee shot for low-handicap golfers.
"It will be difficult to cut the dogleg," Salvatore said. "It's going to take more of a thought process."
For higher handicap golfers, this hole has been a brute, with long irons and woods needed for many on the second shot to a relatively small, uphill target. Now, they will be hitting a shorter approach on their third shot, improving their chances of walking away with the par.
"The real defense on this hole is the green and the narrow approach to it, so it is still going to be a tough hole," Salvatore said.
The 18th will go from the current 396 yards to about 480.
"No. 18 has been kind of a bland finishing hole, so we decided to move the tee back" Salvatore said. "Now golfers will be facing an uphill and slightly blind tee shot out of a chute. It should be a fun hole."
Salvatore says the course is in the best condition he has seen it in the 20 years.
"[Superintendent] Tony Morris and his staff are doing a tremendous job," Salvatore said.
Under the leadership of new General Manager Victor Cappadona, improving the golf course is clearly a high priority of the new ownership group. He was the general manager at the Country Club of Pittsfield in his previous job.
"He has an eye for golf, so having him here is a big plus for us," Salvatore said.
The resort has seen an uptick in golf memberships (which include spa accessibility) and the green fee structure has been changed in the hopes of getting more public play.
"The trend here is that things are going to get better and better and better," Salvatore said.
LPGA Teaching Hall of Famer Kay McMahon's eduKaytion golf, which is headquartered at Cranwell's driving range, is offering plenty of summer options for those looking to improve their games
The Golf 8.5 workshops include on-course playing lessons, short-game classes and Junior K-Camps through August.
McMahon, the Director of Instruction, will lead the workshops. She will cover all swing principles, including offering video analysis, while using a simple step-by-step approach.
The classes are designed for all levels of players, beginners to experienced, and are good for couples and families to take together. The Junior K-Kamps, for ages 6 to 14, will be held weekly, Monday through Thursday, starting the week of June 27.
Schedules can be found at www.edukaytiongolf.com. You can also call (518) 669-1551 for more information.
After trading victories in earlier best-ball tournaments earlier this season, lifetime friends Jeff Puleri and Randy Driscoll, each of Berkshire Hills Country Club, captured a tournament as teammates last weekend at the Country Club of Pittsfield.
Puleri, who won the Allied Association's Four-Ball Championship with partner Steve Sykes, and Driscoll, who was victorious in the Stockbridge Trophy with Chris Shields, defeated Matt Scarafoni and Chris Ferriter in the final.
Wyantenuck Country Club head professional Tom Sullivan tied for fourth in the Northeast New York PGA Section's Donald Ross Classic at the Sagamore (N.Y.) Resort earlier this week.
Sullivan rallied with a second-round 73 after opening with a 78.
Hiland Park (N.Y.) Golf Club's Scott Berliner, who won the section's stroke-play championship at Taconic Golf Club earlier in June, rallied from a four-shot deficit with a second-round 68 to finish at 144 and win by two shots over Anders Mattson (Saratoga National Golf Club).
Country Club of Pittsfield Invitational
Champion: Randy Driscoll-Jeff Puleri. Runner-up: Matt Scarafoni-Chris Ferriter. Consolation winner: Greg Fisk-Dave LaPorte.
Winner: Chuck Costello-Peter Gardella. Runner-up: Matt Masiero-Mike Matthews. Consolation winner: Kelly Collins-Brennan Collins.
Winner: Todd Driscoll-Jake Driscoll. Runner-up: Larry Fischer-James Greenfield. Consolation winner: Mike Ward-Bill Freund.
Winner: Tom Briggs-Mike Biano. Runner-up Joe Berry-Joe Ducurral. Consolation winner: Ed Mutti-Greg Therrien.
Winner: Dick McCann-Dave Oleksak. Runner-up: Nick Nadorff-Dave Rathbun. Consolation winner: Randy Koldys-Joe McDonald.
Winner: James Rodrigues-Tad Sheppard. Runner-up: Michael Jachym-Stanley Tenerowicz. Third place: Paul Sweeney-Fred Cox.
Friday Medalist: Jeff Puleri-Randy Driscoll.
Worthington Golf Club
Open 4-person scramble
1. Joe Macutkiewicz, Steve Estelle, Ed Figiela, Greg Pease, 58; 2. John Ryan, Fred Goerlach, Zach Lavin, Scott Presto; 3. Ed Figiela, Paul Waite, Matt Bacon, Pete Bacon.
1. Wells Swanda, Billy Spitzer, Scott Preston, Kyle Challet, 47.68; 2. Fred Goerlach, Chuck Baker, Dana Culver, Wells Swanda, 51.38; 3. Mari Hall, Liz Kay, Judy Haigler, Connie Fender, 51.74