Niagara Gazette


August 18, 2013

Ken Ruggiero's Golf: Winged Foot and the Red Nine


Niagara Gazette — As a result, Mayor Laughlin persuaded the NFCC membership to give over their property to the city.

THE TAKEAWAY And so, the early history of the Red Nine course is revealed. We see at the turn of the century that the wealthy and powerful of Niagara Falls well-addressed their pressing desire to participate in amateur golf. We see a thoughtful and resourceful mayor who possessed the insight to leap at an opportunity to bring recreational golf to municipal residents. We see the linkage of great men of the period and what can be accomplished when purity, productivity and professionalism is the order of the day.

And we see that an evolving Hyde Park golf course, all twenty-seven holes, was significant enough to city administrators of that time to employ one of the greatest golf course architects in history to elicit improvements to the property.

It’s not easy attempting to piece together a century of information. And perhaps, it’s not all that necessary. It is enough simply to take away from what we have learned, that the nine holes presently referred to as the Red Nine is a special place and a historical monument to our past.

Now the truth. Today, and over the past decade, our Red Nine has been treated more like “an ugly stepsister” (forgive the metaphor) by its caretakers. Be certain that this expose will in no way place any blame on anyone. That will never be my intention. My objective is transparent. See a problem and solve it.

Next week, in part two of this story, I’ll provide my FOLLOW-THROUGH, that is, what we can do to rectify this inattention to history and to simply celebrate beauty where there is beauty.

Until next week, keep it in the fairway.

Ken Ruggiero is a local golf instructor and has been writing this column for the past 28 years. He can be reached at

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