Turning Stone continues to improve with age
The last time the words "Sure Thing" were uttered, John Cusack was attempting to score with the smoking hot Nicollette Sheridan in the 1985 comedy "The Sure Thing," directed by Rob Reiner.
The same can be said of the Oneida Indian Nation's Turning Stone Resort and
Casino, just 30 minutes east of Syracuse, NY.
The resort opened its doors in 1993 and has evolved into one of the most
sought-after destinations in the United States.
Known for being a casino hotspot when it first started, Turning Stone is now
famous for many other attractive offerings.
First and foremost, golf is now one of the most popular temptations at the
Not only are all three of the courses rated in the Top 15 in the state of New
York by GolfWeek magazine, but both Atunyote (uh-DUNE-yote) and Kaluhyat (ga-
LU-yat) are ranked by Golf Digest in the Top 100 of "America's Greatest Public
Golf Courses." High praise indeed.
In addition to these two tracts, Shenendoah Golf Club, the first 18-hole
layout at the resort which opened in 2000, was designed by legendary golf
instructor Rick Smith.
Although some believe that Shenendoah is the easiest of the three, with its
generous fairways and large green complexes, don't be fooled, as this layout
can be stretched to over 7,100 yards and boasts a rating of 75.1.
What you should believe is that this course, named in honor of the tribal
chief who was instrumental in the Oneida Indians' choice to side with the
colonists during the Revolutionary War, is one of the prettiest and
environmentally friendly courses you'll ever want to play.
Next in the rotation was Kaluhyat, which was crafted by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
in 2003, means "the other side of the sky." Topping out at 7,105 yards from
the black markers, Kaluhyat features the highest slope rating of the three
courses at 150, which is higher than Bethpage Black.
Another beautiful course, Kaluhyat features plenty of water, wetlands and,
surprisingly, elevation changes, and it will most certainly require the use of
every club in your bag.
The final course of the trio, Atunyote Golf Club, is also the most publicized.
Brilliant course designer Tom Fazio was given the task of creating this venue
and he did not disappoint.
Atunyote, which means "eagle," opened its doors in the summer of 2004 and has
been rising the charts on everyone's list ever since.
Ranked 25th in the state and 76th in the United States, Atunyote hosted the
PGA Tour for five years and has been the annual stop for the Notah Begay III
The longest of the three courses at almost 7,500 yards, Atunyote boasts a
course rating of 75.6. Despite its more-than-spacious fairways, this course
features a wide variety of green sizes and shapes, and several dramatic holes.
In fact, the final hole runs alongside a 13-acre lake, bending upward toward
the majestic clubhouse.
Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar are just two of the past winners at Turning
Stone, but it was Michael Allen who tamed this great layout, setting a then-
course record of 63 during the 2006 B.C. Open. Peter Lonard carded the same
number in 2009 and when the Turning Stone Resort Championship was last held in
2010, J.J. Henry, Jonathan Byrd, Charles Warren and Chris Couch equaled that
Director of Golf Services Robert "RT" Todd said it best: "The course
conditions are the best I have seen, and the layouts are challenging yet
What puts Turning Stone over the top as a golf destination are its other
For the younger sect and not as experienced player, Pleasant Knolls is a nine-
hole, par-36 course and a par-3 layout, Sandstone Hollow is also available.
Todd added, "With five courses, there is truly a course fit for every golfer
at any ability. It's great to see the enjoyment true golf enthusiasts have
when they test themselves on these courses."
But, it's The Golf Dome at Turning Stone that hits the spot.
This indoor practice facility is open year-round and features 40 hitting
stalls, a practice green, a real-sand bunker and chipping area, full-swing
golf simulators and, of course, a bevy of instruction. Heck, it's 79,200
square feet and rises seven stories high.
Hosting more than 4.5 million guests each year, Turning Stone now encompasses
3,400 acres. From the Villages at Turning Stone to the magnificent Lodge at
Turning Stone, the resort has over 700 rooms at its disposal.
Not one, but two spas are available to all guests. Skana, which means "peace,"
is located at the Lodge and decorated in an American Indian theme, while Ahsi
(awaken) is a full-service salon/spa situated near the casino.
What puts Turning Stone over the top is food and entertainment.
There's Italian (Pino Bianco), which includes a wood-burning pizza oven,
Asian/Thai cuisine (Peach Blossom), your not-so typical buffet, Wildflowers, a
AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant and my favorite, Rodizio Churrascaria, a
Picture a culinary specialist coming to your table, carving Prime Rib, Pork
Loin and Spare Ribs, not to mention ample portions of roasted chicken, salmon
and Portuguese sausage. That's what I'm talking about.
It's the entertainment that takes the cake. The ultimate showplace. Baby
boomers will love seeing Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, Peter Frampton and The
Doobie Brothers. For the younger sect, the Black Eyed Peas, Josh Groban and
Mariah Carey have performed and for your country fans, Keith Urban, Martina
McBride and Rascal Flatts have graced the resort. Even funny men Jay Leno,
Sinbad, Lewis Black and Cedric the Entertainer have made thousands laugh.
Oh, and by the way, a full-blown casino is at your dispense. That's right,
120,000 square feet of gaming at its best. Blackjack, Craps, Poker, Roulette,
Texas Hold'Em, slot machines and, of course, the Money Wheel.
So if you thought that Ms. Sheridan was a "Sure Thing," well you need to make
a trip to Turning Stone and experience it for yourself.