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Grass is expected to be planted this fall at one of the area's newest public golf courses, on Old Transit Road in Orchard Park.

Plans call for golfers to be using the First Tee of Western New York course by the middle of next year.

The course is part of the Western New York Center for Golf and Recreation, a project sponsored by the West Seneca Rotary Foundation.

Crews from Wadsworth Golf Construction Co. will return next week to work on the 18-hole, 7,010-yard course, said Timothy J. Greenan, director of the golf course project for the Rotary Foundation.

"They should complete the construction this year," Greenan said.

That will allow for two growing seasons, fall and spring, before the course opens, said Fredric M. Zillner, executive director of the project.

The center will include three practice holes for First Tee programming, a driving range and short-game center, an indoor teaching facility, a full-service clubhouse and a Western New York Golf Hall of Fame.

The course will be open to the public.

Greenan said that the clubhouse might not be built this year but that the First Tee Learning Center, a 100-year-old home that was renovated in 2002, could be used in the interim.

The $10 million project got its start when Carl J. Lambein, founder of Southgate Plaza in West Seneca, and his wife, Marion, donated 125 acres to the West Seneca Rotary Foundation in 1997.

An additional 120 acres were acquired, and the course was designed by noted architectural firm Hurdzan/Fry Golf Course Design of Columbus, Ohio.

First Tee of Western New York is a chapter of the national First Tee program, which uses golf to teach children life skills. Former Ladies Professional Golf Association player Patty Jordan is the local director of instruction and programming.

The organization conducts fall, winter and spring programs in the Lackawanna, West Seneca, and Orchard Park school districts. Summer programs also are conducted at various sites, including Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo.


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