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Sodus Bay Heights recognized as ‘Milestone Business’ by Chamber

by WayneTimes.com
April 6, 2024

The Sodus Chamber of Commerce has chosen to honor the Sodus Bay Heights Golf Course with one of the Milestone Awards this year.

In 1924, around 40 charter members of the proposed Sodus Bay Heights Club met, and the club was incorporated on October 25, 1924. The first elected Board of Directors approved the work for the 9-hole course and set a goal to have play for members begin on July 1, 1925.  The first golf season opened in 1925 with Robert Trent Jones Sr. in an 18-hole match with Wilbur Jack, the golf professional from Newark.

The first president of the board, Mr. James A. Bashford was instrumental in the growth of the Club. He donated money to enlarge the kitchen, add porches and various other improvements to the Club House. He also took Robert Trent Jones, who was only 16 when he started with the Club as the Golf Professional, under his wings.  Mr. Bashford sent Robert to Cornell University for Golf Club Architecture. In 1927, a building was constructed to house trucks and the Golf Shop. In 1931, Robert Trent Jones completed his studies at Cornell and began making changes to the course.

Several changes took place over the decades. The asphalt tennis courts were built in the 1930s. The first steward was hired in the 1940s when the liquor license was issued. There were even three slot machines installed, but the club was raided in 1949. The machines were confiscated, and the steward was arrested.

Special privileges were granted to a few groups in the 1950s. “Ministers of the Gospel” could join the club for 50% of the regular dues;Vacation green fees were offered to those vacationing in Sodus Point; and  New York State Troopers were given a special membership of $5.00 a year. At that time, an addition was built in the bar area for the present grill room. 

In 1961, the Porter farm was purchased from Bruce Wright for an additional 9 holes to expand the course into 18 holes. Claude Wright Sr. and his committee spent three years planning for the expanded course which was dedicated on May 15, 1969.

The club received an “A” rating from the Western Professional Golf Association in the 1970s, and major renovations took place. The building that housed the golf shop and caddie shack were demolished along with part of the clubhouse. The golf shop and men’s and women’s locker rooms were added to the lower level of the club house and the tennis courts were refurbished. The new club house opened July 19,1972.  

In the 1980s, the patio outside the grill room was added. In 1985, the junior program was named one of the Outstanding Junior Golf Programs in the United States by Golf Digest. J.F. DeRidder and his wife designed and constructed a 9-hole peewee golf course on the back side of the driving range.

During the decade between 2010 to 2020, the Reserve Cup was created by David Jones PGA and Peter Browne. In 2014, the grill room was dedicated to Robert Trent Jones, Sr. In 2015, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. drew a new design for the 9th green (now 18).  During this time, Mike Connelly resigned as steward after 23 years, and Steve Boone retired after 39 years as the Greens Superintendent. In 2016, Mike Munger, the business manager, became the new Steward of SBHGC. 

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