In many ways, new owner of Eagle Crest Golf Club, Scott Battiste, has always thought of the famed Clifton Park development, previously owned and operated by the Paulsen family, as his second home. Now he wants his customers to feel the same.
Battiste, a 34-year-old Niskayuna native, served first as assistant pro and then head pro under Bill Paulsen Jr., whose father bought the course, formerly known as Northway Heights, from builder and owner of the original course, Gino Turchi.
Battiste often played Eagle Crest GC in his youth, splitting his playing time with Schenectady Municipal when his parents dropped him off to play golf every weekend. He even picked up golf balls on the shooting range when he was 15. The self-taught professional got his first full-time job with the company as a professional assistant with Eagle Crest for four years, and he then returned to the course for a second stint in the past seven years.
Battiste first thought of buying the Paulsens course a few years ago, but the deal wasn’t done until last September.
“We’ve been talking about it for a few years, not in the sense of the numbers, but in the sense that at some point when they want to retire, I’d be interested,” Battiste explained. “There was a mutual interest between the two of us. Last spring, when he [Paulsen] was in Florida, he said, “Let’s sit down and talk about it,” and we did.
Battiste and many of his family members, including his father, Dave, and his brother Joe, as well as a close family friend, decided to pool their resources and Scott’s expertise to purchase the club.
“I’m the person there every day, but I certainly didn’t do it all myself,” he said. “My family is definitely involved. At least most of them. My dad is retired and the others have other jobs, but some of them were involved in finance. I am the person who is here, and that was my vision. They entrust me with being in the golf industry to take the lead.
Even Battiste’s wife, Kayla, is part of the family business as a part-time facilities coordinator. Their grandson, Archie, quickly becomes a fixture, as Scott teaches him how to play – sort of.
“Nothing is ever seamless, but I would say that having worked here for many years, I knew the customers and the way things were done here before,” Battiste said. “The transition was very smooth. We incorporated new things and new ideas. New systems are in place. But the golf course was still great and the customers were still great. It’s not like we have to tear it up and start all over again. We’ve already stepped in with a great product, and all we had to do was consolidate the things that needed to be consolidated.
One of the major changes was the refurbishment of the restaurant/tavern and the resumption of club catering. The catering business was leased during the last part of the Paulsen’s ownership.
“We took over the restaurant and hired a chef, who is the head chef,” says Battiste. “We just opened the restaurant last week. We’ve also done major renovations to the tavern, and it looks great. We are really happy about it, and our customers are too. Our chef does a great job and his menu is well received.
The other big change was the hiring of 11-time NENY PGA Player of the Year and 13-time Assistant Player of the Year Scott Berliner as director of golf.
“We want to organize our courses like a golf academy. Scott is the main guy, but he will work with John Peterson and Jack Thornton to provide lessons and club adjustments. We are building a TaylorMade club fitting studio, as Scott is the TaylorMade representative for our area. We really wanted to focus on one club maker, and we think TaylorMade is the best,” he said. “Scott and I play TaylorMade clubs. We have all the shafts, all the heads and all the technology.
Eventually, a club assembly studio will be built on the driving range and demonstration days will be offered on Saturdays every two weeks.
Battiste also provides an extended terrace for outdoor seating.
“We want to have a place where you can relax after golf. We want a big patio with corn hole boards and other activities,” he said.
Although there are areas that need fine-tuning, Battiste said the course itself is in excellent condition.
“As for the golf course itself, there’s not much to do,” he said. “We have cleaned up some areas and are working on drainage. We have the same excellent course superintendent who was already here. We would never have purchased the course if we hadn’t thought it was fantastic. Like I said, it’s like a second home to me. I have been here forever. We’re trying to make it a really cool place for golfers, and also for the community to have events here, like parties and even weddings.
Battiste believes that Eagle Crest provides challenges for golfers of all skill levels.
“It’s basically a very open course, and its biggest defense has always been the greens, and that will continue to be the case with all the undulation and speed,” he noted. “We try to make it playable every day for everyone, but also a challenge for the best players in the region. That’s our goal. We want to challenge the big players, but we want it to be incredibly playable for everyone. the world.
Eventually, there will be additional tee boxes with changing yardages as Battiste and his team brainstorm future ideas on how to get people to enjoy the course even more.
Battiste fell in love with golf at an early age, but he didn’t play college golf in high school.
“I played golf, like I said, at Eagle Crest and Schenectady Muny, but in high school I played football, hockey and baseball,” he said.
“I loved every sport I played while playing it, but golf was always my favorite. I was basically self-taught and didn’t take lessons until I was 19. If I wasn’t at another sporting event, I was hitting a golf ball somewhere, whether it was in my yard or in my basement I broke three windows playing golf in my parents’ house , and when my father came home from work, he always saw clods of dirt in our yard.
Tiger Woods was Battiste’s favorite player.
“I cried when he won the Masters,” he said. “I know he’s been through some things, but he’s fun to watch and he loves what he does. I’m still super competitive myself. The competitive aspect is important to me, but at the same time, I like to play with my father, my brothers and my friends.
Battiste has won around 10 professional events in his career, including a major one, the NENY PGA Match Play Championship at Normanside CC in 2017. He has appeared at the NY State Open five times. The former NENY PGA Assistant Professional of the Year has a career-best 7-under 65 at Eagle Crest.
“The best part of my game is my short game, especially the chipping. But I have a love-hate relationship with my putter,” he said, adding that he used a belly putter years ago before it was banned by the USGA. “It was one of the worst days of my life when they banned the belly putter.”
Battiste also worked as both a bag boy and assistant pro at Normanside CC earlier in his career, but spent most of his professional career at Eagle Crest GC.
“One of the benefits of being here is that I’ve already gotten to know the customers,” Battiste said. “I know what they are looking for, and personally, being a golfer who plays other places in the country, I can take all the things that I like when I go to other places and try to implement them. here. This place has always been very well run, and obviously the people who play here enjoy it.
“Being a pro and owning a golf course is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
The Siena College men’s and women’s golf teams and the University of Albany women’s golf team are competing in the MAAC Championships this weekend at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
The NYSGA provides handicapping services to golf clubs and individual members in upstate New York. The USGA Golf Handicap & Information Network (GHIN) service is used by more than 240 clubs and 33,000 golfers in NYSGA territory. For more information, contact the NYSGA at 315-471-6979.
The 29th Annual Great Dane Athletic Club Golf Classic will take place June 9 at noon at Wolferts Roost Country Club. For more information, contact Justin Brown at 518-437-4774 or [email protected]
Wolferts Roost Country Club is hosting a qualifier for the Notah Begay III Junior Golf Championship on May 15. The qualifier will consist of four divisions and will be taped for broadcast on The Golf Channel.
The NENY PGA club pros will compete in their first two classic events of the season, this Monday at Saratoga Golf & Polo Club and next Monday at Wiltwyck Golf Club in Kingston. Their first major will be the NENY PGA Stroke Play Championship on May 10-11 at Saratoga National Golf Club.
Dottie Pepper, former LPGA star and current CBS reporter, will serve as honorary chair of the second annual Soroptimist of Saratoga County’s Spring Fever Golf Tournament at the Saratoga National Golf Course on May 18. golf cart, driving range access, raffles and prizes. SISC’s mission is to enable women and girls to achieve economic empowerment. Pepper has won 17 LPGA tournaments, including two majors. She was inducted into the NYS Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2018 and is the author of “Letters to a Future Champion: My Time with Mr. Pulver.” For more information, visit www.soroptimistsaratoga.org/springfever or contact the Spring Fever Committee at [email protected]
The Fox Run Golf Club is hosting the Seventh Annual Greater Johnstown Lions Club Golf Tournament on May 21 with a 9:30 a.m. tee time for the scramble event. The registration fee is $125 if received before May 6 or $145 on the day of the tournament. Registration fees include golf, lunch, cart, dinner and prizes. Call Colleen Ioele-DeCristofaro (518-281-4467) for more information.
The first major men’s amateur event of the season will be the annual Tri-County Match Play Championship from May 6-8.
The NYSGA Amateur Series kicks off May 5 at Kaluhyat Golf Club at the Turning Stone Resort — site of the 2015 NYS Men’s Amateur — in Verona.
HOLE IN ONE
John Falvo of the Van Vranken Golf League hit the 6th hole for his first career hole-in-one.
At Mechanicville Golf Club, Shea Bromirski nailed the par-4 16th hole with a driver and wedge.
Contact Bob Weiner at [email protected].
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Categories: Sports, Your Niskayuna