A Brief History of Canandaigua Country Club
The year was 1921 and two local bankers had similar ideas: build a golf course in or near Canandaigua. Edwin G. Hayes and George W. Hamlin became interested in the game after being introduced to golf at Pinehurst, NC and Colorado Springs, Co., respectively. They initially laid out a small pitch and putt course on the infield of the old Ontario Fairgrounds.
This initial venture sparked the interest of a number of local men to look for a suitable plot of land that could be purchased for a reasonable cost and develop a golf course. Eventually a tract of land, used for grazing sheep and owned by Edison and Marion Case was identified as a possible site. The initial group of investors needed land that could be initially leased which made the lakeside property a perfect site. They also felt that the sheep would save on mowing and fertilizer costs.
Canandaigua Country Club filed for incorporation on March 18, 1922 and was approved on March 25, 1922.
Noble Miller, a native of Florida, and an accomplished golfer moved to Canandaigua in 1921 as Manager of the Canandaigua Hotel. He subsequently purchased two shares in the club and along with George McG Hayes began the process of measuring and laying out the holes. All this was done while the sheep continued to roam the property. The course was completed and play began in 1923.
By 1925 there were 108 resident members paying annual dues of $25 and 17 non-resident members paying $10 annually.
The first known club president was Claude M. Bancroft who served the 1929 term.
In that year Canandaigua CC along with Irondequoit, Oak Hill and The CC of Rochester served as the founding members of the Rochester District Golf Association.
In 1930 the property was finally purchased from the Case family for $10,240. The following year plans were developed to build a clubhouse financed by private bonds and on July 19, 1932 the Board met at the newly completed facility.
A frequent visitor to CCC in the 40’s was legendary professional and Hall of Fame golfer Walter Hagen. Hagen frequently played with his friend Noble Miller. Hagen’s lowest recorded round was a 5 under par 65.
On April 12, 1941, James Commisso from Irondequoit CC was named the Head Golf Professional. Jim would serve the Canandaigua membership for 35 years, retiring in 1976. The following year Charlie Cross would become the Head Professional, where he would remain until his retirement in 2015. Rob Horak was hired in 2015 to replace Charlie, and Judd Noto took over the Head Professional position in 2019.
As we turned the century we began to see a decrease in the popularity of golf nationally, a trend that also affected CCC as memberships began to decline. In 2011 Canandaigua Country Club made a strategic decision to partner with a top restaurant to increase social and golf memberships. Nolan’s, one of the most successful catering and restaurant operations in the area, was a perfect fit. With the introduction of high quality food and service on the shore of beautiful Canandaigua Lake and Nolan’s inspiration to add an Event Center for parties and receptions, along with an outdoor bar, grill, pizza oven and fire pit, the results were almost immediate as both golf and social memberships began to rise. CCC now enjoys a full golf and social membership as a result of this partnership!
In 2016, the CCC Board of Directors, led by President Bob Sheridan, began an undertaking to expand and completely renovate the clubhouse and redesign the golf course. This work was completed in the fall of 2016 and winter of 2017 and both were ready for opening day in May of 2017. Much of the financing for this work was generated by a successful capital campaign that raised over $330,000 in contributions from our members!
Today the Country Club has over 245 golf members and 525 social members. It is noteworthy that none of the work was funded through assessments or dues increases to the membership. As a result the club has been able to stick to its early roots and remain a country club where anyone from any walk of life can afford to be a member and enjoy the golf, lake and social activities the club provides.
The renovated golf course, clubhouse, and newly added fire pit and entertainment center are enjoyed by all members throughout the year. Members can even come to the Club by boat as the dock has been expanded to provide space for up to 16 boats.
Where the next 100 years will take the club - time will only tell; but it should be a fun ride.