CLUB OF MENDON
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
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
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
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 Founders 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.
think well ever be done with this facility, said Joe Lusardi, the clubs
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 clubs head pro, coming to the Country Club of Mendon over the
past winter from Bristol Harbour Golf Club, where he had served as that clubs 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 couldnt resist.
I have a lot of
great memories here from the time I worked for Joe (Diego) back in high school, he
Today, Lusardi operates
a full-service pro shop with the help of assistants, Jim Beauregard, Casey Wood and
One of the hallmarks of
Lusardis 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 Breges efforts. Even after the
weather weve had here this spring, Ive been amazed at how well the course has
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 its played.
This is a
fantastic golf course, said Lusardi. Of course, I may be a little biased, but
this course isnt too difficult for novices, yet its 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 Mendons 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
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.
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 areas top players -- regular club members will still
find the Country Club of Mendons 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 didnt
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.