Spruce Hospitality Group, the Glens Falls-based team that operates the Queensbury Hotel and the Fairfield Inn and Suites, will manage the new clubhouse at the Ticonderoga Golf Course.
Tyler Herrick, the Queensbury Hotel’s general manager and co-founder, with Zach Moore, of Spruce Hospitality Group, said the firm was retained to make the recently completed, multi-purpose venue a dining and event destination for the Champlain Valley and northern Lake George regions.
“We’re accustomed to owning facilities, rather than acting as a third-party management firm, but we saw this as a great opportunity,” said Herrick.
PGA Pro George Mackey, assistant pro Jason Hughes and course superintendent Joe Tennyson – formerly of the Sagamore – will continue to be responsible for everything associated with golf – from maintaining the course to organizing tournaments and events.
“Our hope is that our success in the club house will benefit the golf course, driving additional investment and helping it become better known as one of the nicest courses in the region,” said Herrick.
Mike Phinney of the Saratoga-based Phinney Design Group, who has supervised the on-going remodeling and expansion of the Queensbury Hotel, designed the new club house.
It was Phinney who introduced the Golf Club’s Board of Directors and Spruce Hospitality, said Herrick.
“It’s a small world,” Herrick joked.
“Mike told us that the Ticonderoga Golf Club was looking for someone to operate its restaurant and event spaces and since this was our expertise, we might be a nice fit. We toured the facility, met with the board and arrived at an operating agreement,” said Herrick.
Phinney designed the new club house – which was built by Bonacio Construction – to replace the former farmhouse on the site that burned to the ground in 2018.
“Priority Number One for the board of directors is to make the course the community center it was in its heyday,” said Phinney, whose family used the club when his father worked at International Paper’s Ticonderoga plant before being transferred to corporate headquarters in New York.
That goal required a larger, more flexible club house, one that can accommodate community events, family gatherings and company receptions, among other things.
“There’s a need for certain-sized space that remains unmet on this end of Lake George,” said Paul Brauner, a member of the club’s board of directors.
“That presented an opportunity for us. That’s revenue we haven’t had access to in the past.”
Brauner said the board’s discussions with Phinney produced a plan that would enable the club house to host private events without interfering with the activities of golfers or restaurant patrons.
The new club house also includes a pro shop, locker room and even space to recharge electric-powered golf carts.
Among its attractions is a restaurant and bar – both open to the public – named “Seymour’s,” in honor of the golf course’s designer, Seymour Dunn. A Scot who was head pro at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland – one of the oldest courses in the British Isles – Dunn also designed the Lake Placid Club’s course.
Another feature: expansive windows, screened porches and patios that overlook the historic Lord Howe Valley, the Adirondacks to the east and the 18-hole golf course, expanded and reconstructed at a cost of $3.5 million.
“The course was really broken,” said Brauner. “If we hadn’t begun the reconstruction of the golf course, I think you’d see a ‘For Sale’ sign on the property now. Especially after the loss of the old club house.”
“Seymour’s” will be managed by Ben Hart, a veteran of the Glens Falls Country Club.
Derek Leinonen, the Lake Placid Lodge’s executive chef for the past three years, has been recruited for that post at Seymour’s.
The commitment of the directors to refurbishing the golf course, constructing a new facility and reimagining the 94-year-old club is additional evidence that Ticonderoga is undergoing a revival, said Herrick.
“Ticonderoga has a lot of similarities with Glens Falls, including a revitalization that’s fueled by collaborations and coalitions,” he said.
Herrick said he looks forward to supporting those revitalization efforts, working with the Ti Alliance, the Chamber, Fort Ticonderoga and neighboring businesses.
Spruce Hospitality will also promote both communities, offering the Ticonderoga Golf course as an alternative venue for those interested in hosting weddings and other events in the area, he said.
“We’re looking at synergies,” said Herrick.
“Seymour’s” is expected to open to the public on Friday, May 28, said Herrick. For more information, visit ticonderogagolfcourse.com