Flying golf balls take on a new meaning at Airway Meadows, which includes a public airport on its 177 acres of land.
But if you know where you’re going on this unique course, located on Brownville Road in Gansevoort, your golfing experience can be both challenging and rewarding.
It’s the kind of course where local knowledge is a big advantage, but owner Joan Heber helps lower your scores with a tip sheet included with the yardage book.
“I think the fact that we have an airport on the facility is a lot of fun,” said Heber, who is celebrating the course’s 15th anniversary this season. “As you pull up from the seventh hole, there is a sign asking you not to tee off while an airplane is either taking off or landing. It sounds funny, but it’s actually important. It’s safe for you to be standing there, but if you hit a ball when the plane is taking off, it could be dangerous.
“I think it’s neat to see airplanes taking off while you are playing, although the small aircraft are less noisy than the larger ones. To me, it’s kind of cool, and I think the public enjoys it, too. We also have sky divers who are pretty regular visitors, as well, mostly on weekends. You can play on the front nine, maybe on the fourth or fifth hole, and you can see skydivers on the 11th hole.”
Heber admits that the layout of her course can be conquered much easier once you are quite sure where you are hitting your next shot. There are several blind approach shots.
“The front nine and back nine are drastically different on our course,” she noted. “The front is more open. Many of the holes were built on a big field, so we planted some trees on the fourth, fifth and seventh holes. You can see more of where you are going, and it’s not so tight.
“But the back nine was carved out of the woods,” she explained. “We took out a tremendous amount of trees. I’m told that the men should leave their driver in the bag on the back nine, except for the 18th hole.
”But many of the holes on the back are a lot shorter, and if the guys are longer hitters and want to take a chance, they can just about drive some of the greens,” Heber said. “For a long hitter, holes 13, 14 and 15 are very reachable. But you can get trouble if your tee shot goes off-line. That’s why it’s more prudent not to use a driver off the tee on the back side.”
One of the most intriguing holes is the par-5 No. 8, a very long par-5 with a green that is located to the left, behind some trees and over a small ravine.
“It’s a great opportunity for the long-ball hitters, especially in a four-person scramble,” said Heber. “There are plenty of eagles on that hole, but the second shot is a blind shot, and you need to be careful to make sure the green is clear. You can’t see it from the fairway.”
Another interesting hole is the par-3 11th hole, which has an elevated green over another ravine with a long covered bridge located just to the right side of the hole.
“From the red tees, you take the stairway down to the tee in front of the green, and it’s only about 89 yards up to the green, but for the men, it’s about 143 yards, and you have to play it on the other side of the covered bridge. Believe it or not, that hole has more holes-in-one than any other hole we have.”
Besides the blind shots and tricky approaches, the other enticing part of Airway Meadows are its large greens.
“They are huge, and many of them are crowned,” said Heber.
Airway Meadows plays to about 6,000 yards from the white tees and about 6,450 from the championship tees.
It also includes a full-service restaurant, as well as lessons from pros Brian Rhodes and Kurt Lohrey.