There is a lot of debate on what constitutes Upstate New York. If you’re from New York City, you might consider Westchester County upstate. That kind of thought would make a citizen of Lake Placid laugh. We can all agree that the Capital District encompasses the area surrounding Albany (yes, that is the Capital of New York). The Capital District runs from Albany to Saratoga and includes a variety of golf courses for players of every ability level. Be sure to check out our complete map directory of every public golf course in the United States as well!
Here are seven golf courses in the Capital District that you should definitley play.
Saratoga National Golf Club (Saratoga Springs, NY)
Saratoga National provides a private club feel but is open to all. The course is well manicured and challenging, with a variety of tees available to play. The greens are difficult yet receptive, making this course an easy choice if you are in the Saratoga area for horse racing season and need a break from betting the ponies.
Top Hole: Par 3 15th – Spectacular views set the backdrop for a challenging island green, requiring the golfer to hit a precise long iron that is all about carry.
Fairways of Halfmoon (Mechanicville, NY)
Every hole on this course has its own way of challenging the golfer. Some holes are extremely tight, and other tee shots are to wide-open fairways. Multiple holes have drastic elevation changes to factor into the your club choice. And bring your “A” putting stroke, as the greens are always lightning fast.
Top Hole: Par 5 7th – A good tee shot makes this hole reachable in two, but requires a precise second shot over water that is nearly all carry in order to reach the green.
Orchard Creek Golf Club (Altamont, NY)
Recently voted the 2nd best golf course in the area by a local paper, Orchard Creek is a course you cannot miss. Located just a short drive from Albany, it’s a course that provides a perfect escape. You’ll hit every club in the bag as you make your way around this scenic course that winds through a functioning orchard.
Top Hole: Par 5 1st Hole– The opening tee shot sets the stage for the whole round, where good shots are rewarded and spectacular vistas abound.
Saratoga Lake Golf Club (Stillwater, NY)
Saratoga Lake Golf Club is not the longest course, with the back tees totaling 6284 yards. Don’t be deceived, however, because uneven lies and elevation changes will make you use your brain as much as your swing while navigating this tree-lined course.
Top Hole: Par 3 17th Hole – Only 158 yards from the back, this hole requires a shot that carries over a large ravine to a massive green. Birdies are available, but bogeys lurk behind any misplayed shot.
Schenectady Municipal Golf Course (Schenectady, NY)
This course was built in 1935, funded largely through federal relief programs during the Great Depression. With native areas and undulating greens, the course is playable for all golfers. A short drive from Albany makes this an easy course to play.
Top Hole – Par 4 11th Hole - The epitome of a risk/reward hole off the tee. Most players lay up with an iron, but those brave enough to carry the lake are rewarded with a scoring opportunity.
Van Patten Golf Club (Clifton Park, NY)
Van Patten Golf Club is located between Albany and Saratoga, offering three nine’s of varying difficulty. Golfers of all abilities are able to play and enjoy the course, which even features junior tees so younger golfers learning the game can play their own ball.
Top Hole – Par 4 8th Hole – A short par four that runs along the driveway to the clubhouse. Golfers can hit a tee shot with an iron, wood or driver and be able to reach the green with a short iron. A large bunker, ready to collect under-clubbed shots, protects the large slanted green.
Western Turnpike Golf Course (Guilderland, NY)
Just a short drive from Albany brings you to this popular 27-hole municipal course in Guilderland. Acquired by the town after a storied past dating back to the Great Depression, this tree-lined course presents a challenge for all players.
Top Hole – Par 4 3rd Hole (Red Nine) – A decently lengthened par 4 begins from a slightly elevated tee box as the golfer hits over the clubhouse driveway. Be sure to club up on the approach, as the green sits further back than anticipated.
Want To Explore More Albany NY Golf Courses?
Be sure to check out our interactive map which features every single public golf course in Albany (and beyond). Our unique tool will make it easy to locate courses, instructors, and practice facilities. The video below shows how it works:
Are there any Albany golf courses you think should have made our list? Let us know in the comments section!