For decades, architect Tom Fazio has been heralded as one of the best in the business, with more courses ranked in the top 100 than anyone in the U.S. Though Fazio has more than 120 designs under his belt, one of his more nuanced courses is just 200 miles north of New Jersey. Tucked in a secluded preserve just a few miles from Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY, is Atunyote Golf Club—a 7,315-yard layout featuring diverse waterfalls and expansive views of gently rolling hills.
Pronounced (“uh-DUNE-yo”)—the Oneida word for “eagle”—the course is an integral part of Turning Stone’s overall popularity. Many golfers who have played courses all over the globe visit Atunyote for its diverse collection of holes, shot variety and most importantly, the course’s natural beauty. Everywhere you turn, there’s some natural wonder—winding streams lined in sandstone, a distant farmhouse, a fox dashing into the surrounding woodlands. The resort casino features several other playable courses (72 total holes), making it an ideal locale for a weekend golf retreat.
“Atunyote is a guest favorite here at the resort. It is primarily because of its internationally-televised and prominent tournament history, between hosting the PGA Tour’s Turning Stone Resort Championship, where Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar were among the champions and the Notah Begay III Foundation challenge that featured golf legends like Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler Annika Sorenstam and Natalie Gulbis,” says Miles Blundell, Turning Stone’s Director of Golf and Recreation.
For Blundell, a seasoned PGA Master Professional, it’s as much about the quality of Fazio’s design as it is the experience he and his team offer for golfers who visit. Atunyote, for all intents, is an extension of the resort, but is reminiscent of having your own private course by limiting play to only about 5,000 rounds per year.
“The quality of the Tom Fazio design, the course conditions, and overall guest experience at Atunyote make the course truly stand out,” Blundell explains. “From the moment a guest drives through the elaborate 18-foot entrance gate to the time they take their final putt on #18, no detail has been overlooked. Our New England-style clubhouse with a wraparound porch, our unparalleled guest service, world-class amenities and gorgeous country landscape combine to create an experience unlike anything else in our region.”
When it comes to strategy, Atunyote is as challenging as it is beautiful. While holes 11 and 18 can try even the most adept golfers, Blundell emphasizes that perhaps the best advice one can take to heart when stepping onto the green is to be in the moment. Your day at Atunyote, you’re treated like a Tour professional, including golf bag service and preferred concierge service. After all, there is a reason the PGA Tour chose Atunyote as the site of its 2006 B.C. Open.
“For my game, hole 11 presents some challenges. There’s a creek that runs down the entire right side of the hole and I usually hit a longer iron from the tee. If it’s not well struck or hit towards the left side of the green, it can easily lead to a bogey. But whether it’s your first or 100th time, remember to take in the beauty of the course and enjoy the experience; there’s no rush. Make the day a memorable one and arrive early to enjoy our practice area and stay late to enjoy a drink and something to eat while relaxing on the clubhouse patio overlooking the breathtaking countryside.”
7,315 total yards from the longest tee for a par 72.
Over $46 million to build Turning Stone’s top course.
The 18-hole Tom Fazio design premiered in 2004.
Surrounded by waterfalls with the clubhouse in the distance, 18 is the perfect finishing hole that brings the course’s experience to a fitting conclusion for golfers. 18 doesn’t favor one type of player, with pros such as Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler going for the green in two. “Atunyote’s signature is surrounded by waterfalls with the clubhouse in the distance. 18 is the perfect finishing hole that wraps the entire experience for golfers,” Blundell says.