Airway Meadows Club offers a unique layout

For a different kind of golfing experience, how about playing a round on part of a fully functioning

Keep your ball in the fairway, or you may hit an airplane.

For a different kind of golfing experience, how about playing a round on part of a fully functioning airport?

Airway Meadows Golf Club, located on Brownville Road in Gansevoort, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season. The Heber family continues to improve their unique layout, which was originally half of their family farm and part of an airport that still is used by the community.

“Time flies,” said Joan Heber, who owns the course with her husband, James. “it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since we opened this place.”

The Hebers officially opened Airway Meadows on June 20, 1999.

“My husband built the course. He’s an excavator and a developer,” Heber said. “A large part of the land we used was part of a family farm, and we bought some other wooded neighboring land and cleared it. Each year, we keep on workong on the course. We’re doing more clearing of the trees and pulling more brush out between the fairways. It’s easier to find the ball now.”

Named the 2006 New York State Golf Course Owners Association “Course of the Year,” Airway Meadows offers guests a chance to fly in for a quick round.

“We still have takeoffs and landings here because it’s a public airport. Anyone can land at any time,” said Heber. “The pilots communicate with each other on when to land, and we still have eight airplanes that use the hangars here. People fly in from Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. They call for a tee time When they land, they jump in a golf cart that we have waiting for them, and they drive across the ninth fairway to the clubhouse. Then they’re ready to play. Some even fly in to get a quick bite to eat at our clubhouse.”

The course is 6,427 yards from the blue tees and plays to a par 72. The course record is a 65, set by Jordan Valentine in 2005. More challenging than it first appears because of its changes in elevations and tight fairways on the back side, Airway Meadows has a 125 slope rating from the blue tees and a 121 slope from the whites.

A look at the course rules reminds players

the impoirtance of staying awayw from the airport runway.

“There is no entry on the runway area whatsover,” reads safety rule No. 1. “Absolutely no teeing off on holes No. 2 and No. 8 when an airplane is taking off or landing. A flying golf ball can cause a fatal plane crash,” reads safety rule No. 2.

The Hebers continue to improve their course. They installed two 42-inch HD TVs in their clubhouse, and expanded the number of leagues that play at their course to eight.

“We continue clearing the trees and brush all the time,” Heber said. “We recently cleared to the left ot the 18th green so that the there is a clear shot into the 18th fairway. We also put a pond on the first hole, just before th dogleg. We’ve also paved the parking lot, which makes a tremendous difference in keeping the amount of dust down. Since we have continuous cart paths around the facility, we’re hoping to pave more of them.”

The Hebers aren’t done trying to improve the facility.

“We’ve been considering nine more holes, but we haven’t broken ground yet. It depends on the developments that are closer to us. People tend to play closer to their home, but we get golfers from Clifton Park, Schenectady and Albany to have the golf course busy all the time, we need more development in the Wilton area. We have to see a need first before we go ahead and build the other nine, but we’ve been considering it right from the early days when we first opened the course.

“If we do build another nine, we want it to be different than the other two nines. Right now, the back nine is a lot tighter than the front nine is. We’re thinking about a longer, flat nine, or maybe an executive course that can be used by the people from the adult home center nearby.”

For more information on Airway Meadows Golf Club, call 792-4144.

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