Photo by Dave Donelson
The Golden Bear’s design draws ambitious golfers from Westchester County and abroad — as well as curious black bears.
There’s the Bear Trap at PGA National, the Snake Pit at Innisbrook, and of course, Amen Corner at Augusta National. Joining these memorable stretches of golf holes is Bear’s Corner at Mansion Ridge. The Jack Nicklaus signature course at the daily fee facility in Monroe is a lot closer to Westchester than the other three and well-worth the trip, especially when you get around to the heart of the course, holes 12 through 16, which was designated as “Bear’s Corner” this year.
Opening the sequence is hole 12, a 142-yard par three that’s deceptively simple at first glance from the tee box. Aim true, however, since the green is severely sloped, fronted by water, flanked by bunkers, and backed up by an impenetrable wetland.
Next comes an uphill heart-breaker, the 418-yard 13th, followed by the testy dogleg 404-yard 14th hole that begins with a 200-yard forced carry off the tee.
The inviting 508-yard par-five 15th hole requires a manageable carry over a waste area from the tee but punishes off-line shots the entire length of the hole. It’s a good idea to stay alert on this hole for another reason: black bears from adjacent Harrison State Park have been known to wander out of the trees onto the golf course from time to time.
The finishing hole of the Bear’s Corner is the steeply uphill 373-yard 16th hole, which requires a precise tee shot to avoid out-of-bounds to the left and woods to the right.
Taken all together, Bear’s Corner has challenges for both long and short hitters and offers little relief for anyone who can’t keep the ball in the fairway.
The “Bear’s Corner” designation received the blessing of the Nicklaus organization, which designed the course, earlier this summer and is commemorated by a plaque on the 12th hole.