DANSVILLE — For over a century, a local golf course has been a unique sanctuary for the community.
On May 1 the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Administration came together to honor nearly 30 small businesses that made it over a century. Brae Burn Golf Course in Dansville was among those that got this honor and a certificate. It was established in 1898 and has been labeled one of the oldest golf courses in the state.
It all started with four gentlemen, an intriguing new sport and a sheep pasture. John and his brother Edwin Hall along with brothers Nicholas and Jansen Noyes were the pioneers that brought golf to Dansville over 120 years ago, playing on land that was, at that time, home to Tracy Scovill’s sheep. The course was originally laid out with 6 holes and just a few years later expanded to 9 holes. Being named after the game’s Scottish origins, “brae” in Scotland is a hillside and “burn” is a stream, which aptly describe the course’s features.
Scovill’s Grill and Brae Burn owner Michelle Paroda, Brae Burn Golf Director Denny Hartman, Scovill’s Grill General Manager Matt Kershner, SBA Branch Manager Virginia Smith, and Laura Lane, Livingston County Chamber president, all honored the effort small businesses put into their communities.
Smith said that is is amazing to see so many small businesses staying alive after a century in this county. She wanted to honor them all for National Small Business Week.
“We honor small businesses anyway we can, and anything you need you can come to me,” she said. “It is great to honor the businesses in our community.”
Hartman said that to have 100 years anywhere is quite an accomplishment, and the golf course has been up and running smoothly.
“I have been here 10 years, and we always like having people come down here and check us out,” he said. “We have increased our membership in the last five years.”
Paroda said it is wonderful to honor them during National Small Business Week.
“It is wonderful to be a part of a business that is 120 years old in a community we all grew up in,” she said.
Keshner added that they couldn’t have stayed open this long without the support of a great community.
Hartman said they love seeing a younger crowd coming in and getting interested in golf.
“This place does so well, because we are not a closed off country club. We allow anyone to come off the street to play for a day. You don’t have to be a member to enjoy the golf course,” he said. “We have a lot of people who come just to enjoy a day of golf. We get families, couples, and singles that all come down. We get about 110 members a year. That is what keeps us alive. The members are the heart of the business.”
Hartman said it is fantastic to be part of a place he loved since he was 12 years old.
“I started in 1960 and have been golfing here every since,” he said. “We have people who want to preserve Brae Burn’s history. You don’t see this often in other villages. These people all grew up here, and when the (Paroda’s) bought it they put their heart and soul into this place.”
Hartman said it is nice to see his hometown growing strong.
Brae Burn has had many community members in its past become part of its ever growing legacy. To name a few, in 1901 Jackson Health Resort (Dr. James H. Jackson & Dr. J. Arthur Jackson) took over operation of the Brae Burn Links and appointed Dr. Walter Gregory as course manager. However, due to the course being a bit of a distance from the Sanatorium and medicine being their true focus, after a year of operating the course the Jacksons headed moved to form a corporation in 1902, which would take over lease of the land from Tracy Scovill. It was at this time that the course was officially incorporated and named Brae Burn Golf Club.
There were several different caretakers throughout the years until Robert Ferris assumed control in 1944. In 1963, when the new syndicate was organized, the stockholders were Ferris, Leonard Fierle, Harold Shay, Robert Badger, Robert Kane and Howard Shay. Great care has been taken to preserve the historical value of Brae Burn so as to ensure its continued presence within the Dansville community.
For more information about this part of our legacy visit https://www.braeburn1898.com
Brae Burn Golf Course is located at 60 Red Jacket Street and can be reached at 335-8840.