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Ready to Go Golfing?

Democrat File Photo by Rob Potter

RUSSELL BASS, PROPRIETOR of French Woods Golf Course & Country Club, stands along the course’s sign soon after the course opened. The course is located along Route 97, between Callicoon and Hancock.

French Woods
Is Ready for You

By Jeanne Sager
FRENCH WOODS — April 2, 2002 – They started small, and they’re moving up.
Lynn and Russell Bass opened the French Woods Golf and Country Club in 1999 because they thought it was a good business move.
And now, entering their fourth season, the couple is looking at things getting bigger and better.
“My husband is a businessman, and he thought it would be a good business move and good for the area,” Lynn Bass recalled. “He loves the game too.”
The course has created a following, drawing folks from the Callicoon and Hancock area and swelling with tourists in July and August.
Now, with the hiring of new Golf Course Superintendent Steve Luty, the Basses hope to make their course among the best in the area.
With new turf management techniques, overseeding and fertilizing the fairways, the couple hopes to improve the playability of their course.
And there might be no one better than Luty to manage that job. He’s been in the business for 27 years ever since graduating from Michigan State with a degree in turf management.
After spending five years on the PGA tour in Colorado, the Michigan native moved to Callicoon to help develop the well-known Villa Roma golf course.
Now he’s looking to make the French Woods course even bigger and better.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s come an awfully long way since it opened,” Luty said. “The average golf course takes about five years to mature.
“This just needs a few more years of tender loving care.”
The French Woods course is young, but extremely scenic and enjoyable to play, he noted.
And the improvements they make this year should make it even easier to play. In addition to overseeding, Luty hopes to clean up the outside areas of the course, thin out the woods and put down more bark.
Improvements will also be made on the golf cart paths so that inclement weather will not have an effect on their use.
“Our goals are to do extensive work,” Luty said. “It’s not that the fairways aren’t good already, but we’d just like to improve upon them.”
French Woods will also be opening up a men’s league on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and trying to spark some interest in a women’s league to bring community golfers together.
All of their hard work will be evident over the next few months as golf season gets into full swing.
The course and others across the area already opened thanks to the early spring weather this year, and according to Lynn Bass there were folks out on the green already.
Now the goal is to get the word out to more people, and bring others to Sullivan County and the surrounding area to enjoy what the local golf courses have to offer.
“There aren’t a lot of people around here, population-wise,” Bass explained, “but things have been up to our expectations.
“Hopefully more people will hear about us and start coming to the area.”
For more information on French Woods Golf & Country Club, call 887-5000 or visit the club’s website at

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