by Danielle Forsyth
The Seneca Nation of Indians has opened an attractive new destination in Lewiston that the golfing world is sure to notice.
The Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course, a $25 million public golf facility, officially opened for use on Friday. Located on 257 acres of land, nine miles from the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel, the challenging par-72 course is an historic project for the Seneca Nation of Indians, marking their first off-territory development project.
Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects designed the layout, focusing on incorporating many of the site's natural hickory trees and wetlands into the design. Other features include five sets of tees on every hole, strategically placed bunkers surrounded by tall heather and a unique double green for the 9th and 18th holes. The course will be maintained by KemperSports, which manages an extensive portfolio of upscale clubs in 28 states, Puerto Rico and Central America.
Last Monday, more than 100 invited guests, including Town of Lewiston officials, Seneca Nation members and course designers, set out armed with clubs and carts to test the greens for the first time.
"It's a beautiful course and a phenomenal layout," Lewiston Town Board member Ernest Palmer said. Steve Reiter, Lewiston town supervisor, also gave the course praise. "It has an unbelievable view of the escarpment," he said.
On Monday during the ceremony, the Seneca Nation of Indians emphasized the importance of the golf course and their other business endeavors to the Seneca Nation as well as the benefits for the general public.
"The influence of the Seneca Nation of Indians can be seen throughout Western New York, far beyond the borders of our current territories," said Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder Sr. "Our businesses employ thousands of people from across the region and we do business with many local companies. Our casinos and resorts attract millions of visitors every year. Today we celebrate the next step in our nation's journey and look forward to a long and successful endeavor here in Lewiston."
On July 8, the Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course will host the All Lewiston Play Day where Lewiston residents will receive a one-time 20 percent discount off course fees. Residents will need to bring proof of residency such as a license or other document showing their name and Lewiston address. To reserve a spot and for further information, call 754-2424.As per an earlier agreement with the Seneca Nation and the Town of Lewiston, Lewiston residents will be entitled to a 10 percent discount on course fees thereafter. IDs verifying Lewiston residents are available via the Lewiston Town Clerk's Office. For more information, call 754-8213.