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Moving the Ball Forward: two local golf courses to be designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus gain national support

A little more than a year ago, it was first reported that Buffalo attorney and civic leader Kevin Gaughan reached out to golf legend Jack Nicklaus and asked if he would be interested in redesigning the golf course at located in Delaware Park, as well as design a second course near Olmsted’s South Park, which would “allow the Conservancy to realize the plan to restore an Original Arboretum at the park.” In the June 2016 article, Golf Legend Jack Nicklaus agrees to Design Buffalo golf courses, Nicklaus responded back to Gaughan in a letter:

Your proposal to marry my golf course design with your mission to preserve and celebrate the legacy of Olmsted, is an idea that personally and professionally excites me, and should do the same for the leaders, decision-makers and good people of Buffalo.

In December 2016, the Olmsted Conservancy issued their initial endorsement for the two Jack Nicklaus designed Golf Courses.

This week, Gaughan sent a letter that states that they have received support from “America’s leading Frederick Law Olmsted advocacy group in Washington, DC.” and that they are “continuing to work to raise necessary private funds to bring these exciting new public amenities to our city and region.”

The Buffalo News published an article, that quotes a letter from co-chairs Arleyn Levee and Lucy Lawliss of the National Association for Olmsted Parks, as saying,

There is a natural alliance between your plan and our mission to protect the Olmsted design legacy in Buffalo and in cities and communities across the country. We applaud your plan, as it enables the removal of the existing South Park golf course in order to proceed with a rehabilitation of the park’s historic arboretum, which should also address persistent drainage problems,” the letter said.  “Your enlisting the skills of Jack Nicklaus’ top-rated design team to create a new golf course upon derelict lands adjacent to historic South Park would provide the city with a new, state-of-the-art course with the potential to attract golf aficionados from Buffalo and beyond.


Photo Courtesy of Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.



Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is a WNY native, born and raised in the Lincoln Park area of Tonawanda. She has been involved in local politics from an early age and is currently a Tonawanda Democratic Committee Member. As an avid equestrian and animal-lover, she trained and re-homed over 40 horses. For over a decade, she was an event planner with the law firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, and now owns her own marketing and event management company. She has worked with international and national organizations on large and small scale events. Jessica writes on politics and local events, as well as working with Buffalo Rising as a social reporter.

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  • LongGoneeee

    Happy to hear about the South Park course but had hoped the courses at Delaware Park and Cazenovia Park would eventually be removed.

    For Delaware Park, I would have liked to see an expansion of the zoo into the park itself and the remaining land being converted to more public spaces. For Cazenovia Park, I feel there is a better use of the land than a below average 9-hole course.

    What’s missing from this is the lack of attention to Grover Cleveland Golf Course. This is a historic course that actually hosted a US Open back in 1912. It’s much too short (5,621 yards) to ever host a PGA event by today’s standards, but with some changes, it could be restored and lengthened to host LPGA events.

    A LPGA event could be a huge windfall for the region. I don’t think there is any course on either tour that would be serviced by a Subway as Grover Cleveland Golf Course could. Just the transportation logistics could make it a compelling pitch.

    If you wanted to reach for the stars and shoot a silver bullet, you could also look to move the VA to the Central Terminal. Not in the Central Terminal but to the CT campus. Go further and in addition to building a brand new VA, create a Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and build a bleeding edge research and treatment center in Buffalo. It could, in theory, build a second albeit smaller medical campus around the Central Terminal and actually deliver the anchor that an Amtrak station never was going to be.

    Once built, you could then convert the existing VA hospital to a grand hotel and meeting center. One that would service both UB South and the restored and historic Grover Cleveland Golf Course….home to the 2030 U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship.

    • TV62

      I really like your idea. I disagree only with converting the VA. I would suggest instead that it be taken down, so that the course can be returned to its original design, or at least be returned near to what it was before the land was taken to build the VA.

    • Johnny Pizza

      You would put a PTSD clinic in the area of our city with the highest levels of gun crime?

      • Matt Marcinkiewicz

        more like OTSD (ongoing traumatic stress disorder)

      • LongGoneeee

        Was not looking at it in a short term perspective. Around the CT there are multiple blocks that are mostly empty. I don’t think it’s a reach to see the potential in purchasing several blocks and building a ‘campus’ that would be somewhat isolated and offer a buffer of greenspace.

        That said, if something like a massive silver bullet isn’t reasonable to bring back the CT then it should just be demolished.

    • Matt Marcinkiewicz

      will the PTSD center be accepting patients who suffer from the consequences of having dared to voice their disagreements with you in this forum over the years?

      • LongGoneeee

        maybe you should pick up a crack pipe. You’re a miserable human being…but I ask only you to kill yourself…because you, sir, are a net negative for humanity until proven otherwise.

        • Matt Marcinkiewicz


        • Matt Marcinkiewicz

          your comment actually sounds disturbingly similar to something I would post while drunk

        • Matt Marcinkiewicz

          To sum up:

          1. Guy On the Internet Named ‘LongGoneeee’ recommends creation of PTSD center, implying some sort of concern for the welfare of others

          2. Guy with the actual name of Matt Marcinkiewicz reminds this asshole of his long mostly goneeee (RIP, Livefyre; RIP ‘solonggone’) track record of being a complete asshole on Buffalo Rising

          3. Guy On the Internet now named ‘LongGoneeee’ tells noble personage to kill himself

          • LongGoneeee

            My comment was a direct quote of comments you have made on Buffalo Rising you moron. Word for word…those are yours.

          • Matt Marcinkiewicz

            You’ve been guilty of worse. You’re a terrible human being.

          • Matt Marcinkiewicz

            ‘moron’, lol

          • Matt Marcinkiewicz

            I was in fact giving you too much credit for thinking you’d think enough about other people in order to speculate about their overall impact on society in a utilitarian sense

          • Matt Marcinkiewicz

            (ie, net negative/net positive)

          • Matt Marcinkiewicz

            and if you quoted that directly, then you must’ve saved past comments that would otherwise be entirely lost due to the switch in commenting platforms on this site. Wish I’d done the same with things you’ve said. When we ‘talked’ about the potential relocation of the UB Law School downtown (this being back in November 2015), your inability to handle a difference of opinion over something so insignificant as a law school location was…let’s just say it was memorable in a broad sense. But, alas, I did not save the transcript, because I’d prefer not to have to contemplate your words any more than I already do upon initial exposure.

            Hope, for everyone’s sake, you have a life-changing day today

        • Matt Marcinkiewicz

          And golf will be all but dead in 30-if-not-15 years, moron. I’ll short your investment in the future of golf anytime

    • BuffaloGals

      The course at Caz shouldn’t be removed…Unlike Delaware and South Part it doesn’t interfere with the park at all (not part of the original park space) and its actually a decent course. It might be “below average” in terms of conditions, but the layout is fine and its a good cheap option for beginners or people in the neighborhood who want to get a quick 9 in.

  • Bludog

    Am I the only one who thinks Delaware park golf course is a waster of beautiful space and only used by hacks?? Move the golf course somewhere

    • Johnny Pizza

      I’m torn on the issue. I don’t think it belongs there, but at the same time making it all green space means it will just not get used, unless you spend big bucks making it into a scenic park and I’m not sure the money is there to do that.

      • Bludog

        I am not torn at all…This park would or could be filled with people enjoying every part of it, a few more ultimate frisbee or soccer fields, ore room to put out and just lay in the sun without thinking a hack golf ball is going to hit you…Someone argued the revenue created from golf was too good to give up and I think that is ridiculous..Some on basic math it doesnt create too much…This park could look like any great park in other cities, packed with people on weekends from the outer areas right into the middle…
        Creating more space for more friendly things to do is the way to go..

        • Johnny Pizza

          That park would not be filled with people. Look at the parts of the park that aren’t a golf course. They sit empty much of the time. The most used part of the park is the basketball courts along Parkside.

          • Bludog

            Not true at all..On any nice day people are lined around the whole exterior playing soccer, ultimate frisbee, rugby, tennis, etc…

          • Johnny Pizza

            I’m not talking about people using athletic fields. I’m talking about your statement “packed with people on weekends from the outer areas right into the middle”
            If the middle of the meadow is grass people will not use it. Look across at the grassy laying areas around Hoyt Lake for proof. Pulling the golf course out is not going to make the park look like this… which is what I’m arguing

          • BuffaloGals

            It’s not going to look like Central Park, but I walk my dog around Hoyt Lake in the evenings after work once or twice a week, and there are always a ton of people just hanging out. If its nice out, the park gets heavy use even in some of the areas that don’t have anything other than green space.

    • As an avid golfer, I’ve never been to Delaware Park golf, because plain & simple… it’s lacking. Buffalo golf courses in general are pretty pathetic. Most of the suburban ones are much better, and even better yet when you go rural. Maybe because of space issues?

      Either way, if they’re not going to do any expansion to the Buffalo Zoo to keep it from being the smallest in the nation (comparatively to other markets of equal or greater size), then might as well see what ‘magic’ Jack Nicholas can do. Delaware Park doesn’t have any water hazards or sand traps and a severe lack of trees, making it feel like you’re just playing in a big mowed field.

      Yes, it would be better if it were invested in a really nice park like Highland Park in Rochester (again, comparatively speaking), but apparently city officials don’t want that to happen, and instead are stuck with a golf course, so might as well make it a decent one.

    • LongGoneeee

      It’s a duffer course for sure.

      What really would be in the best interest is multiple municipalities getting together and created some sort of collective. Allowing residents to gain privileges, similar to how country clubs work and sharing the cost of maintenance.

    • Randy503

      I agree. Having so much of the park for a single purpose of golfing is unfair to those who want to hang, sungbathe, pay frisbee or walk their dog.

  • I was hoping the South Park golf course by the botanical garden would actually be removed and restored as an Olmsted park. It just doesn’t make sense with a silly 9-hole golf course there. It’s not even in good condition.

  • Merle Gorko

    Put a freakin golf course on the waterfront!