Field Report:

Teugega Country Club

By Michael J. Fay

After the death of his first wife Donald Ross sought a future with another lady. He needed a mother for his daughter Lillian and a companion for himself. The owner of Rome Copper and Brass was a wealthy man and was a winter inhabitant of Pinehurst. He traveled with his secretary, a lady in whom Ross became quite interested. When the businessman asked Ross to come to Rome New York to build a course Ross jumped on the chance.

Unlike the majority of the courses that Ross built over the years he personally supervised the building of the course and produced the most often mispronounced golf course in his portfolio, the Teugega Country Club. Pronounced TEE-OO-JA-GA, this magnificent little golf course exudes the truest nature of Ross design and one of the finest sets of greens that Mr. Ross ever built.

The course sits on the banks of Lake Geneva in Rome. It is not as assumed in the middle of nowhere, after all Utica is just down the road; but is certainly a fairly remote site for a 1920’s venue.

The members at Teugega must well have known what they had because over the years they resisted the urge to make substantive changes on the course. Yet over the nearly 90 years it has sat on the site Teugega started to reflect a number of difficulties that old courses encounter. Mowing patterns forced some of the fairways astray and caused substantial shrinkage of the greens. The small circular platforms had lost their shape and many pinning positions. Trees sprung up everywhere threatening the turf grass on both the fairways and greens.

A couple of years back Teugega Member Don Alvarez took the original drawing of the course off the wall of the Clubhouse and convinced the Board and Membership to bring the course back to the original. Alvarez had only one problem, severely limited funds. After a search of Golf Architects, Teugega hired Barry Jordan to assist in the effort. It was rather a coup because Alvarez needed a talented Architect to work for substantially less money than was de rigueur at the time. Lucky for Teugega and Alvarez they hired the right guy. The restoration of Teugega began and continues as an in-house project.

Click here to download pdf of the Teugega Master Plan (large file)
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