Green Acres golf course no longer ‘easy acres’ – Daily Freeman

CITY OF ULSTER, NY — Green Acres golf course owner Brian Bonesteel isn’t shy about getting his hands dirty.

On a typical day at the public nine-hole golf course at the end of Harwich Street in Kingston, Bonesteel can be found on a tractor cutting grass, mowing greens or applying chemicals to the course.

When he bought the course from the Banyo family in 2018 after renting it for several years, Bonesteel knew he and his small maintenance team would put in many hours
upgrade to a course that was once called “Easy Acres” due to its wide open fairways and lack of roughness.

“I knew when I came here I had to wow people,” Bonesteel said. “I didn’t want people to say, ‘Green Acres is just OK.’ In my first five years here, I wanted to do whatever I had to do to turn this into a golf course.”

Based on feedback from golfers who have flocked to Green Acres in record numbers over the past few years, Bonesteel looks set to achieve its goal.
Rosendale resident John Ivankovic said he has been playing Green Acres for over 40 years. He said the course has improved significantly over the past few years.

“The fairways are in immaculate condition and the greens are fast right now,” Ivankovic said. “It’s a huge improvement. The course has a nice layout. Some of the holes are very
hard. When you play the seventh and eighth holes they are very difficult in length and the greens are difficult to putt.

Jere Brown from Rosendale said he plays Green Acres twice a week.

“I like it,” Brown said. “It’s easy to walk and they take great care of the route.”

Brown said it was “extremely important” to have a public golf course with good conditions, like Green Acres, open to Ulster County golfers of all abilities.

Green Acres has filled a void left by the closure of other public courses in recent years, such as Hudson Valley Resort & Spa in Kerhonkson, Nevele Grande Resort, Fallsview Golf Course in Ellenville and Lazy Swan Golf & Country Club Village in Saugerties. .

There are reports that Lazy Swan could reopen soon, but course owner Anthony Bacchi was not available for comment.

Accord’s 18-hole Rondout Country Club, which was closed for years, was replaced in 2021 by the nine-hole Inness Golf Course. But some local golfers have complained about the high standard
price at Inness.

“It’s different to have a quality course open to the public,” Brown said of Green Acres. “It’s something we can really use. And the prices are very affordable. »
Hurley’s Steve Priest said he and his buddies play “everywhere, but the fairways here are better than anywhere else. I’ve been playing here since I was 13 or 14 and it’s so much better than years ago.

Priest said birdies can be made at Green Acres if you get the ball in the right part of the fairways and greens.

“But it’s not Easy Acres anymore,” he laughed.

Bonesteel first entered the golf business when it opened the nearby Ascot Park driving range in 1994. It also owns Bonesteel Auto & Truck Centre. He and his wife Tammy have three children – daughter Raegan and sons Brandon and Jake.

Bonesteel said he became good friends with Durrell Vigna, who rented Green Acres at the same time Bonesteel owned Ascot Park. Vigna started running Green Acres around
1990.

“We were friends since I opened the practice,” Bonesteel said. “He asked me to be partners in 2014. He asked me and I said 100% I would.”
Four years ago Vigna decided to leave to work at Wiltwyck Golf Club and Bonesteel took over the operation of Green Acres.

He rented the property from owner John Banyo in 2018 with an option to buy. Bonesteel exercised this option in 2021.

Banyo said he and his late father Alexander decided to build a golf course on the very fertile farmland which produced a variety of vegetables. He and his father established a very ‘basic
course” which opened on Memorial Day 1964.

“It was nothing out of the ordinary,” Banyo said. “IBM was in its prime and we were the only game in town for a long time other than private lessons in Kingston. What Brian has done to improve the course is phenomenal. He really put his heart and soul into it. »

Although the par 36 course is only a modest 2,900 yards, Green Acres now has ponds and water hazards that come into play on virtually every hole after Bonesteel’s renovations.

Bonesteel has also added fairway bunkers on the second and sixth holes and would like to add a greenside bunker on the first hole
in the future.

Bonesteel also built a number of new tee boxes that made some holes longer, especially on the unforgiving par-4 eighth hole.

Although the scorecard says the hole is 400 yards long, it appears to be playing much longer. The tee shot is a challenge with woods and a stream to the left and more trees
down the right side.

The fairways at Green Acres are well maintained and feature a rough first cut, which is rather short. But golfers can no longer pull out the shaft without fear of getting in trouble,
since the willow fescue will engulf capricious readers.

Probably the best new addition to Green Acres was Bonesteel’s redesign of the 186-yard par-3 seventh hole.

Previously, the rather bland hole featured a shorter approach to an elevated green without any danger.

But in 2016 Bonesteel built a new sloping green which is preceded by a large pond. Any short or straight shot is bound to find a watery grave.
For the first time, a major Ulster County Golf Championship will be held at Green Acres this summer. The 54-hole Ulster County Women’s Golf Association (UCWGA) Championship will be held there on July 23.

Bonesteel, 53, has a vision to continue to lengthen the golf course and make it more challenging with additional bunkers. The possibility exists to have its neighboring Ascot Park property as part of the course.

But for now, Bonesteel wants to work on keeping the course to a high standard so that its four leagues and public play enjoy excellent playing conditions.
He said the turf at Green Acres improved by leaps and bounds after using liquid fertilizers produced by Chicago-based company Enhanced Organics. He thanked Frank Zamazal, the owner of the family business, for helping to literally make Green Acres greener.

“In 2020, we had a drought,” recalls Bonesteel. “Three weeks without rain and we have never been green. I have to thank Frank and his company for really helping us with our
grass.”

Bonesteel also said his co-superintendent of the course, Eddie Van Buren, worked tirelessly on the course.

“It’s like her baby,” Bonesteel said of Van Buren.

Overlooking the course from his maintenance center to see golfers on almost every hole, Bonesteel said he felt lucky things went so well at Green Acres.

“Looking back over the years, I built the driving range and then tried my luck here with the golf course,” Bonesteel said. “I almost feel like it was my destiny to be here. I’m a mechanic. I like to fix things. I just think I transferred it onto this. I was very lucky.

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