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CCM Course Record by Head Professional Tom Yeager 05/03/01

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The following is a reprint of an article written by Rochester Golf Week  Editor - Dave Eaton


Club Profile:

Scenic, Challenging Country Club of Mendon Takes Pride in Family-Friendly Atmosphere 

For members of the Country Club of Mendon, the origins of their club read like the typical American success story. 

What began as a dream amongst friends at a small, restaurant in East Rochester back in the mid-1950s, the Country Club of Mendon has since evolved into one of the premier private golf clubs in the Rochester area. 

Club founder Peter Pataccoli had a vision. As an avid golfer, but not able to join one of the fine private clubs in the area, his choices in the mid-1950s were limited -- he could play the County Parks-owned clubs at Genesee Valley or Durand Eastman parks (and arrive early and wait for a tee time), or, he and his friends could drive great distances to one of the outlying semi-private clubs at the time. 

The vision Pataccoli had was to build -- literally from the ground up -- a golf course that he and his friends could play any time and without waiting. 

Eventually, working by day in the “Sweetland” coffee shop he ran in East Rochester and working during off-hours on his plan, Pataccoli enlisted the help of a few like-minded friends for monetary and labor assistance. Over time, a plot of farmland in Mendon was purchased and the services of then-Penfield Country Club superintendent Peter Craig was enlisted to design nine holes of golf. 

The 44 original investors Pataccoli enlisted worked ceaselessly during the construction process, with “stone-picking” parties becoming a staple activity for the families of those investors. 

Finally, during the summer of 1961, the first nine holes were unveiled amidst an opening ceremony which included an exhibition round with legendary South African tour pro Gary Player. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Today, the Country Club of Mendon, located at 226 Mendon-Ionia Rd. (Rt. 64) south of the hamlet of Mendon, is a full-service 18-hole private facility, having added a back nine in the mid-1960s. 

Although still privatly owned, the Country Club of Mendon is open -- for those who go through the membership process -- to all, while several club features, such as the banquet facility, grill rooms and pro shop, are open to the public to reserve for private functions like weddings, corporate outings and charity tournaments. 

As the club grew during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, so too did the clubhouse. Beginning with an old Mendon farmhouse as its base of operations in the early 1960s, several expansions were added to the structure through the years, including the main banquet room, overlooking the ninth fairway and outdoor gazebo; the Grill Room (added in 1992); the Founder’s Room (added in 1994) and the Mendon Room, where corporate and private functions are held. 

Those who are interested in booking any of the facilities at the Country Club of Mendon should contact club manager Dave Sychtysz. 

“I don’t think we’ll ever be done with this facility,” said Joe Lusardi, the club’s resident PGA professional. “The membership here is active and they are constantly conducting polls among the members to see if there is a desire to add new facilities. They are constantly looking to improve.” 

Lusardi is currently in his first year as the club’s head pro, coming to the Country Club of Mendon over the past winter from Bristol Harbour Golf Club, where he had served as that club’s head pro for many years. 

Lusardi, however, is far from new to the Country Club of Mendon. Prior to his tenure at Bristol Harbour, he had worked for long-time head pro Joe Diego at the Country Club of Mendon during summers at McQuaid High School in the mid-1980s. 

Later, Lusardi went to college at Ferris State, studying in the Pro Golf Management program there. After school, Lusardi took pro jobs at clubs in Arizona, Florida and Massachusetts before returning to the Rochester area in the mid-1990s when a group of investors purchased Bristol Harbour. 

Last winter, previous Country Club of Mendon head pro Tom Yeager took a job too good to refuse -- head pro at Hobe Sound Country Club in Florida. When the Country Club of Mendon search committee called Lusardi about applying for the position, it was an offer he couldn’t resist. 

“I have a lot of great memories here from the time I worked for Joe (Diego) back in high school,” he added. 

Today, Lusardi operates a full-service pro shop with the help of assistants,  Jim Beauregard, Casey Wood and Kevin Cutia. 

One of the hallmarks of Lusardi’s operations at the Country Club of Mendon is his lesson programs -- as well as the junior programs he runs during the summer. During this program, Joe and his assistants will provide instruction, games, competitions and a family picnic on Sunday to conclude the week. 

The golf course at the Country Club of Mendon is, of course, the centerpiece of the club, kept in top form by 20-year superintendent Dan Brege. 

“This course is always in great shape,” said Lusardi of Brege’s efforts. “Even after the weather we’ve had here this spring, I’ve been amazed at how well the course has responded.” 

The fact that the golf course is supplied with tee-to-green cart paths also helped keep the course open during the wettest months this spring. 

According to Lusardi, the golf course itself -- a 6,645-yard, par-71 from the tips -- is always challenging, yet at the same time playable, no matter how often it’s played. 

“This is a fantastic golf course,” said Lusardi. “Of course, I may be a little biased, but this course isn’t too difficult for novices, yet it’s always challenging -- and you can play it every day and not get tired of it.” 

Lusardi notes that the course has one of the “more difficult starting holes” in the area: a 416-yard par-4 which leads up to a two-tiered green, sloped back-to-front. 

After a breather through much of the front nine -- including “birdie-able” holes at 3, 4 and 5 -- No. 9 is a downhill, 457-yard par-4 with a tight landing area and small green, making approach shots difficult to hold for golfers of any ability. 

The middle of the course actually presents the most challenging stretch of the course -- a stretch Lusardi dubs as Country Club of Mendon’s “Amen Corner.” 

Between holes 10 and 12, the course meanders around the creek which dissects the property, and includes areas where several very old trees -- which pre-date the golf course -- majestically line the fairways. 

On the home stretch, the downhill, 403-yard par-4 15th offers scenic beauty which belies its length -- and the 439-yard par-4 18th hole, which includes a pond halfway down the right side of the fairway and several of the aforementioned trees near the green on the left side. 

“My favorite hole is 18,” said Lusardi. “It has the nicest green, which slopes back to front, and the trees up near the green each have to be at least 60 to 70 years old.” 

Not content to let the course stay as it is, the club in 2002 hired a leading course design firm led by the esteemed Geoffrey Cornish to draw up a Long Range Plan which will take the club well into the 21st century. 

“Mr. Cornish actually came out here and walked the course,” noted Lusardi. “And he did note that in order to keep up with technology, will have to add a few tee boxes eventually to lengthen the course.” 

Of course, changes such as those will only affect the area’s top players -- regular club members will still find the Country Club of Mendon’s 6,600 yards challenging enough. 

Best of all, because the Country Club of Mendon is private (and able to keep a high volume of play off the course); the average round at the club is rarely more than four hours. 

The thing which has impressed Lusardi the most about the Country Club of Mendon since beginning his new position this spring is the friendliness of the members. 

“We have a great group of people here,” he said. “You can always find a regular game here, if you want one. In fact, we have one new member who started here this spring who didn’t know anyone, and now he has a weekly game with a great foursome.” 

For Lusardi, that type of atmosphere is priceless. 

“From the golf course availability to our central location just minutes from the Village of Pittsford to our always-friendly membership, the value of this place is hard to resist,” he added.


Mendon-Ionia Road

© 2015  Country Club of Mendon