Monroe Golf Club

Monroe Golf Club

Since its inception in 1923, Monroe Golf Club has long been regarded as one of the premier private clubs in Rochester and throughout Western New York. The club’s award-winning Donald Ross designed golf course is viewed by many as one of the most classic and preserved layouts from Mr. Ross’s original designs.  Monroe Golf Club has been named one of America’s top 100 Classic Courses by Golfweek. Monroe hosted the LPGA Championship, a major on the women’s tour, in 2014.

Scorecard

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out
Championship 423 385 460 409 484 205 389 149 595 3499
Handicap 9 13 5 11 1 15 7 17 3  
Par 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 3 5 35
Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In
Championship 426 414 492 192  487 363 190 407 428 3399
Handicap 8 10 2 18 6 14 16 12 4  
Par 4 4 5 3 4 4 3 4 4 35

Layout

Hole 1
Par Handicap Black
4 9 423

hole 1

Hole #1 – The opening hole is one of Monroe’s longest par fours. A generously wide landing area here; however, a hooked or pulled tee shot can ride the prevailing northwesterly wind into a thick stand of pines left for a certain bogey or worse.
 
During the 2008 course renovation project a very deep fairway bunker was added down the right side. The bunker sits tight against the fairway at 290 yards. A medium to long iron second shot to one of the deepest greens on the course. Add two to three clubs when the pin is back. Any ball landing short comes right back at you down the slope – a real factor when the flagstick is cut up front. A large pot bunker was added in 2008 to protect the left side of the green.The green is sneaky fast going down hill.

Hole 2
Par Handicap Black
4 13 385

hole 1

Hole #2 – The second hole is a little gem. . . a short par four in classic Donald Ross design. Mr. Ross placed his bunkers along existing ridges which gives his courses their natural scenic beauty. These steep, grass faced bunkers can catch an errant tee shot both right and left. In 2008 another large pot bunker was added to guard the left side of the fairway at 270 yards. A good tee shot leaves the player a short iron or wedge to a tiny, well-bunkered green.

The most difficult pin placement is back right to small plateau that is sloped severely on all sides. An excellent birdie opportunity here, but be careful…out of bounds lurks just a short bounce away from the back edge of the green. In the 1995 Monroe Invitational Championship 17 year old Tiger Woods caught his wedge thin here and his ball kicked out of bounds. Tiger still managed to qualify for the then match play event eventually losing to Tom Creavy in the semi-finals.

Hole 3
Par Handicap Black
4 5 460

hole 1

Hole #3 – A converted members’ par 5, the 3rd hole once an easy birdie becomes a challenging par 4 for the Monroe Invitational Championship. A drive positioned right center leaves a long to mid-iron second shot and a clear view of the green. Thick Monroe rough left and a stand of towering sassafrass trees right can make this innocent looking hole troublesome. The green is one of the widest on the course making it easy to hit, but difficult to putt the long ones. The large bunker on the left was split into two bunkers during the course renovation. Also, the right greenside bunker was moved closer to the green and is now much deeper.

In the semi-finals of the 1993 Monroe Invitational Championship, 17 year old Tiger Woods hit a miraculous low, rising cut four iron that sliced some 70 yards under, around and over the maples left of the fairway. The ball traveled 210 yards to just 8 feet from the hole. Tom Creavy made 3, Tiger a 4, and Tom went on to win the match and the 1993 MIC Championship that year.

Tiger’s match play loss at Monroe was his only match play loss over a five year period beginning with his three consecutive USGA Junior Championships and ending with his three consecutive United States Amateur Championships.

Hole 4
Par Handicap Black
4 11 409

hole 1

Hole #4 – Now the driving gets a bit tougher. Several large maples guard the left side of the driving area. Few pars are made from the large bunker or trees on the right side. Two more large bunkers 300 yards from the tee are not only scenic, but make an excellent target for the tee shot.

The bunker on the right is now 10 yards closer to the fairway. Once on the fairway this green is one of the easier targets on the golf course, but a newly renovated, deep bunker will grab it’s share of balls. A steep slope over the green makes long a tough place to get it up and down. Two small ledges, middle left and back right, are the most challenging pin placements.

Hole 5
Par Handicap Black
4 1 484

hole 1

Hole #5 – Brute strength, accuracy and finesse are what’s required on Monroe’s #1 handicap hole. The thinking player will favor left center as the fairway dips severely towards a set of tightly bunched pines on the right. Given favorable wind conditions a big hitter can gamble, drive down the right side, catch a good bounce and roll all the way to the flats. . . leaving just a wedge for a second shot. Everyone else will have a side hill lie with anything from a long to mid-iron to a very narrow green. The 5th hole was recently lengthened to 484 yards making it the 2nd longest par 4 on the course. The green features a large ridge through it’s center providing many thrilling pin placements.

Hole 6
Par Handicap Black
3 15 205

hole 1

Hole #6 – All the par threes at Monroe are difficult – #6 is the longest. From the championship tees players face an uphill long iron or wood shot into unpredictable winds and well bunkered green. The green is surrounded by deep bunkers including a newly renovated deep back bunker just a few feet over the green. Pars can be tough to come by here.

Hole 7
Par Handicap Black
4 7 389

hole 1

Hole #7 – The prevailing northwesterly winds make this hole play longer than the stated yardage. A stand of pines guard the right side of the fairway and the rough is deep and gnarly on the left. This green is a Ross classic and hole location is key. The green is terraced severely from side to side which cuts the effective size of the green in half. When the flagstick is on the right the player must hit a target only 20 feet wide. Miss the target left and face a slick, hard-breaking downhilll putt. Bordering the right side of the green are two cavernous bunkers that sit 12’ below the surface of the green. When the flagstick is top left it is imperative not to pull your second shot as the ball will bounce cruelly left and only a few will get up and down from the steep slope left.

Hole 8
Par Handicap Black
3 17 149

hole 1

Hole #8 – Most classic golf courses feature a great “little’ par 3. Hole eight is Monroe’s version. The smallest, narrowest and most dramatically bunkered, players have been known to “lose it” here. Winds blowing down the ninth hole and swirling into the corridor of pines lining the 8th fairway can make this exacting shot quite tricky. Trying to reach the smaller second tier of this green is an even more difficult and potentially foolhardy task. A nasty chipping area has been restored to the left of the green. A high soft sand shot is a necessity from any of the five bunkers located around the green. A delicate downhill chip from hardpan awaits anything long. 

Hole 9
Par Handicap Black
5 5 595

hole 1

Hole #9 – The tee shot is all uphill and into the prevailing winds killing any chance of roll. Drives leaked right or left find clusters of thick pines. The 9th has now been lengthened to 601 yards. Only the longest of hitters can reach this green in two now. The narrow green is elevated and slopes severely on all sides. Miss this green and players will face some of the most demanding greenside pitches in golf. 

Hole 10
Par Handicap Black
4 8 426

hole 1

Hole #10 – The opening hole on the back nine offers a fairly wide driving area. The bunker on the left has been pushed out to 290 yards and is a mild threat as is the grove of trees to the far right. The hole narrows considerably at the green – only 45 feet across in the front and a stingy 24 feet at just past center. This can be a most elusive target due to Ross original, waist-high bunkers both left and right. The 10th is the site of the annual MIC Long Drive Championship. The event attracts large crowds every year. In recent years clinics by Jim McLean and Joey Sindelar have added to the excitement. 

Hole 11
Par Handicap Black
4 10 414

hole 1

Hole #11 – This is one of Monroe’s most majestic holes – a slight dog leg right guarded by towering pines on the right and a deep fairway bunker 250 yards out on the left side. The green, redesigned by Brian Silva in 1994, sits among 100 year old oak trees. The trees overhang the left side of the green and heavy rough will catch errant shots to the right of the green.

Hole 12
Par Handicap Black
5 2 492

hole 1

Hole #12 – The driving area on #12 is one of the narrowest on the course. Smitty’s Moguls, a series of five grassy mounds, prevent players from going for this green in two if they miss fairway left off the tee. A deep and wide fairway bunker has been added to the right side of the 12th further narrowing the tee shot. Two long and true shots will reach the narrow green which is only 10 paces cross and guarded by a deep bunker in front, tall overhanging trees right, and a large tulip tree close left. This green is very fast from back to front and deceptively slow in the opposite direction.

Hole 13
Par Handicap Black
3 18 192

hole 1

Hole #13 – Monroe Invitational Championship players have had the most difficulty with the Monroe’s 13th hole over the 70 year history of the amateur tournament. Shots not reaching the putting surface on the fly spin all the way back down the steep, closely mown approach leaving an awkward lob shot back up the hill. The right side of the hole seems to draw shots to the bunker and gnarly rough on that side. Right is dead – few players get it up and down here, especially if the hole is cut on the abruptly sloped right side of the green. The green has been expanded both right and left adding more difficult hole locations.

Hole 14
Par Handicap Black
4 6 487

hole 1

Hole #14 – The second of two converted members’ par 5, 14 is often considered the signature hole at Monroe. Our oldest and tallest oak tree stands sentinel on the right. A champion black oak stands guard on the left. The green is set amongst another set of towering oaks that overhang the green on both sides requiring an extremely accurate second shot in order to reach the putting surface. A steep rise fronting the green and a severe slope from left to right make pitching and putting a true test on this long and beautiful par four. 

Hole 15
Par Handicap Black
4 14 363

hole 1

Hole #15 – Donald Ross and God teamed up to give us one of golf’s most natural looking holes. A classic, little par 4 that gently works its way between pines both left and right and uphill past bunker-faced ridges. The bunker on the right has been moved out to 270 yards. A new pot bunker has been added in the left side of the fairway further narrowing the landing area. The elevated and smallish sized green sits like a crown jewel amid a backdrop of Monroe’s tallest white pines.

Hole 16
Par Handicap Black
3 16 190

hole 1

Hole #16 – Each par 3 at Monroe can be curiously troublesome and #16 is no exception. A player trying to finish a good round must play solidly here. The wind typically is in your face and to the left. Shots landing short pull back all the way down the steep approach to the green. A large bunker right gets its fair share of play as does the rough left of the green. The green is severely sloped and one of Monroe’s quickest.

Hole 17
Par Handicap Black
4 12 407

hole 1

Hole #17 – Plenty of room off the tee, but shots pushed right will be blocked by Wisner’s Oak. Deep bunkers guard the front, left and right of the green. The bunker on the left has been renovated and is now eight feet lower. Any shots missed to the left will find this cavernous bunker and the player will not see the flagstick. Another quick downhill putt awaits anything past the hole.

Hole 18
Par Handicap Black
4 4 428

hole 1

Hole #18 – Buckle your seat belts for a bumpy ride. The home hole is the longest par four on the course and certainly the most difficult. The uphill tee shot almost always plays into the wind and the rough is as thick as anyplace on the course. A new pot bunker has been added on the right tight against the fairway. Also, a bunker at 280 yards on the left has seen a lot of action in the past two MIC tournaments. The second shot is generally a long iron from an awkward uphill-sidehill lie to a two tiered green over 100 feet in length. Donald Ross was noted for his contoured greens and mounded approaches which he explains “makes possible an infinite variety of nasty short shots that no other form of hazard can call for”. A two tiered green, a swale that runs diagonally through the middle of the green, bunkers left and long and a combination of gentle and severe mounding at every turn make the 18th green at Monroe a Ross classic.

Par Handicap Black
4 9 423

hole 1

Hole #1 – The opening hole is one of Monroe’s longest par fours. A generously wide landing area here; however, a hooked or pulled tee shot can ride the prevailing northwesterly wind into a thick stand of pines left for a certain bogey or worse.
 
During the 2008 course renovation project a very deep fairway bunker was added down the right side. The bunker sits tight against the fairway at 290 yards. A medium to long iron second shot to one of the deepest greens on the course. Add two to three clubs when the pin is back. Any ball landing short comes right back at you down the slope – a real factor when the flagstick is cut up front. A large pot bunker was added in 2008 to protect the left side of the green.The green is sneaky fast going down hill.

Par Handicap Black
4 13 385

hole 1

Hole #2 – The second hole is a little gem. . . a short par four in classic Donald Ross design. Mr. Ross placed his bunkers along existing ridges which gives his courses their natural scenic beauty. These steep, grass faced bunkers can catch an errant tee shot both right and left. In 2008 another large pot bunker was added to guard the left side of the fairway at 270 yards. A good tee shot leaves the player a short iron or wedge to a tiny, well-bunkered green.

The most difficult pin placement is back right to small plateau that is sloped severely on all sides. An excellent birdie opportunity here, but be careful…out of bounds lurks just a short bounce away from the back edge of the green. In the 1995 Monroe Invitational Championship 17 year old Tiger Woods caught his wedge thin here and his ball kicked out of bounds. Tiger still managed to qualify for the then match play event eventually losing to Tom Creavy in the semi-finals.

Par Handicap Black
4 5 460

hole 1

Hole #3 – A converted members’ par 5, the 3rd hole once an easy birdie becomes a challenging par 4 for the Monroe Invitational Championship. A drive positioned right center leaves a long to mid-iron second shot and a clear view of the green. Thick Monroe rough left and a stand of towering sassafrass trees right can make this innocent looking hole troublesome. The green is one of the widest on the course making it easy to hit, but difficult to putt the long ones. The large bunker on the left was split into two bunkers during the course renovation. Also, the right greenside bunker was moved closer to the green and is now much deeper.

In the semi-finals of the 1993 Monroe Invitational Championship, 17 year old Tiger Woods hit a miraculous low, rising cut four iron that sliced some 70 yards under, around and over the maples left of the fairway. The ball traveled 210 yards to just 8 feet from the hole. Tom Creavy made 3, Tiger a 4, and Tom went on to win the match and the 1993 MIC Championship that year.

Tiger’s match play loss at Monroe was his only match play loss over a five year period beginning with his three consecutive USGA Junior Championships and ending with his three consecutive United States Amateur Championships.

Par Handicap Black
4 11 409

hole 1

Hole #4 – Now the driving gets a bit tougher. Several large maples guard the left side of the driving area. Few pars are made from the large bunker or trees on the right side. Two more large bunkers 300 yards from the tee are not only scenic, but make an excellent target for the tee shot.

The bunker on the right is now 10 yards closer to the fairway. Once on the fairway this green is one of the easier targets on the golf course, but a newly renovated, deep bunker will grab it’s share of balls. A steep slope over the green makes long a tough place to get it up and down. Two small ledges, middle left and back right, are the most challenging pin placements.

Par Handicap Black
4 1 484

hole 1

Hole #5 – Brute strength, accuracy and finesse are what’s required on Monroe’s #1 handicap hole. The thinking player will favor left center as the fairway dips severely towards a set of tightly bunched pines on the right. Given favorable wind conditions a big hitter can gamble, drive down the right side, catch a good bounce and roll all the way to the flats. . . leaving just a wedge for a second shot. Everyone else will have a side hill lie with anything from a long to mid-iron to a very narrow green. The 5th hole was recently lengthened to 484 yards making it the 2nd longest par 4 on the course. The green features a large ridge through it’s center providing many thrilling pin placements.

Par Handicap Black
3 15 205

hole 1

Hole #6 – All the par threes at Monroe are difficult – #6 is the longest. From the championship tees players face an uphill long iron or wood shot into unpredictable winds and well bunkered green. The green is surrounded by deep bunkers including a newly renovated deep back bunker just a few feet over the green. Pars can be tough to come by here.

Par Handicap Black
4 7 389

hole 1

Hole #7 – The prevailing northwesterly winds make this hole play longer than the stated yardage. A stand of pines guard the right side of the fairway and the rough is deep and gnarly on the left. This green is a Ross classic and hole location is key. The green is terraced severely from side to side which cuts the effective size of the green in half. When the flagstick is on the right the player must hit a target only 20 feet wide. Miss the target left and face a slick, hard-breaking downhilll putt. Bordering the right side of the green are two cavernous bunkers that sit 12’ below the surface of the green. When the flagstick is top left it is imperative not to pull your second shot as the ball will bounce cruelly left and only a few will get up and down from the steep slope left.

Par Handicap Black
3 17 149

hole 1

Hole #8 – Most classic golf courses feature a great “little’ par 3. Hole eight is Monroe’s version. The smallest, narrowest and most dramatically bunkered, players have been known to “lose it” here. Winds blowing down the ninth hole and swirling into the corridor of pines lining the 8th fairway can make this exacting shot quite tricky. Trying to reach the smaller second tier of this green is an even more difficult and potentially foolhardy task. A nasty chipping area has been restored to the left of the green. A high soft sand shot is a necessity from any of the five bunkers located around the green. A delicate downhill chip from hardpan awaits anything long. 

Par Handicap Black
5 5 595

hole 1

Hole #9 – The tee shot is all uphill and into the prevailing winds killing any chance of roll. Drives leaked right or left find clusters of thick pines. The 9th has now been lengthened to 601 yards. Only the longest of hitters can reach this green in two now. The narrow green is elevated and slopes severely on all sides. Miss this green and players will face some of the most demanding greenside pitches in golf. 

Par Handicap Black
4 8 426

hole 1

Hole #10 – The opening hole on the back nine offers a fairly wide driving area. The bunker on the left has been pushed out to 290 yards and is a mild threat as is the grove of trees to the far right. The hole narrows considerably at the green – only 45 feet across in the front and a stingy 24 feet at just past center. This can be a most elusive target due to Ross original, waist-high bunkers both left and right. The 10th is the site of the annual MIC Long Drive Championship. The event attracts large crowds every year. In recent years clinics by Jim McLean and Joey Sindelar have added to the excitement. 

Par Handicap Black
4 10 414

hole 1

Hole #11 – This is one of Monroe’s most majestic holes – a slight dog leg right guarded by towering pines on the right and a deep fairway bunker 250 yards out on the left side. The green, redesigned by Brian Silva in 1994, sits among 100 year old oak trees. The trees overhang the left side of the green and heavy rough will catch errant shots to the right of the green.

Par Handicap Black
5 2 492

hole 1

Hole #12 – The driving area on #12 is one of the narrowest on the course. Smitty’s Moguls, a series of five grassy mounds, prevent players from going for this green in two if they miss fairway left off the tee. A deep and wide fairway bunker has been added to the right side of the 12th further narrowing the tee shot. Two long and true shots will reach the narrow green which is only 10 paces cross and guarded by a deep bunker in front, tall overhanging trees right, and a large tulip tree close left. This green is very fast from back to front and deceptively slow in the opposite direction.

Par Handicap Black
3 18 192

hole 1

Hole #13 – Monroe Invitational Championship players have had the most difficulty with the Monroe’s 13th hole over the 70 year history of the amateur tournament. Shots not reaching the putting surface on the fly spin all the way back down the steep, closely mown approach leaving an awkward lob shot back up the hill. The right side of the hole seems to draw shots to the bunker and gnarly rough on that side. Right is dead – few players get it up and down here, especially if the hole is cut on the abruptly sloped right side of the green. The green has been expanded both right and left adding more difficult hole locations.

Par Handicap Black
4 6 487

hole 1

Hole #14 – The second of two converted members’ par 5, 14 is often considered the signature hole at Monroe. Our oldest and tallest oak tree stands sentinel on the right. A champion black oak stands guard on the left. The green is set amongst another set of towering oaks that overhang the green on both sides requiring an extremely accurate second shot in order to reach the putting surface. A steep rise fronting the green and a severe slope from left to right make pitching and putting a true test on this long and beautiful par four. 

Par Handicap Black
4 14 363

hole 1

Hole #15 – Donald Ross and God teamed up to give us one of golf’s most natural looking holes. A classic, little par 4 that gently works its way between pines both left and right and uphill past bunker-faced ridges. The bunker on the right has been moved out to 270 yards. A new pot bunker has been added in the left side of the fairway further narrowing the landing area. The elevated and smallish sized green sits like a crown jewel amid a backdrop of Monroe’s tallest white pines.

Par Handicap Black
3 16 190

hole 1

Hole #16 – Each par 3 at Monroe can be curiously troublesome and #16 is no exception. A player trying to finish a good round must play solidly here. The wind typically is in your face and to the left. Shots landing short pull back all the way down the steep approach to the green. A large bunker right gets its fair share of play as does the rough left of the green. The green is severely sloped and one of Monroe’s quickest.

Par Handicap Black
4 12 407

hole 1

Hole #17 – Plenty of room off the tee, but shots pushed right will be blocked by Wisner’s Oak. Deep bunkers guard the front, left and right of the green. The bunker on the left has been renovated and is now eight feet lower. Any shots missed to the left will find this cavernous bunker and the player will not see the flagstick. Another quick downhill putt awaits anything past the hole.

Par Handicap Black
4 4 428

hole 1

Hole #18 – Buckle your seat belts for a bumpy ride. The home hole is the longest par four on the course and certainly the most difficult. The uphill tee shot almost always plays into the wind and the rough is as thick as anyplace on the course. A new pot bunker has been added on the right tight against the fairway. Also, a bunker at 280 yards on the left has seen a lot of action in the past two MIC tournaments. The second shot is generally a long iron from an awkward uphill-sidehill lie to a two tiered green over 100 feet in length. Donald Ross was noted for his contoured greens and mounded approaches which he explains “makes possible an infinite variety of nasty short shots that no other form of hazard can call for”. A two tiered green, a swale that runs diagonally through the middle of the green, bunkers left and long and a combination of gentle and severe mounding at every turn make the 18th green at Monroe a Ross classic.

Donald Ross

In 2004 John Purcell, a former President and Golf Chairman of Monroe Golf Club, wrote a series of articles that were published in Monroe’s newsletter. Mr. Purcell traced the history of Donald Ross from his formative years in Scotland through early design work in Massachusetts to his work in Rochester, Pinehurst and throughout the United States. This is a must read for any golf course architecture enthusiast.

Click on each article to read about Donald Ross and his connection to Monroe Golf Club: