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9 Questions on the OnCore Golf mega-facility in Buffalo



As land for golf becomes scarce and precious, as golf courses are repurposed as mixed-use communities, our game endeavors to find a new landscape in which to fit. Forgotten, under-used urban sites find themselves suddenly desirable, as cities redevelop factories and warehouses into recreational spaces. Enter OnCore, one of many boutique golf-ball companies (think CutGolf, Snell, Vice) to enter the marketplace over the last fifteen years.

OnCore is much more than golf balls, and has larger goals focused well in its lens. In September, the Buffalo-based company announced plans to build a massive, urban facility adjacent to the revitalized downtown of the Queen City. With a hotel, arena targets for golf, and other recreational offerings, OnCore is betting that America’s love affair with golf will continue into the next few generations. The brains behind the project, Bret and Keith Blakely of OnCore, answered some hard-hitting questions on how this dreamscape can possibly become reality in the USA’s favorite, snowy city.

Will this facility be able to handle Buffalo weather?

KB: Absolutely. The engineering of the frame is designed to divert and deflect winds off Lake Erie, the game board will be engineered to handle snow loads, and a variety of snow removal options will be integrated into the final design. The hitting bays are covered and will be heated both from above and below, providing exceptional comfort to customers year round. Many of the attractions and activities are fully-enclosed and unaffected by the weather and another advantage will be the 225 covered parking spots situated below the game board.

What makes this different from Topgolf?

KB: A number of things are unique to our approach. There will be complete ball-tracking technology in each hitting bay allowing golfers of all skill levels to not only enjoy the entertainment aspect of the facility but can use the information and data that will be available to improve their skills. We are using a proprietary game board construction and layout that will allow for a number of different competitive games including both skill and luck elements. Our games and ball-tracking do not require the use of special golf balls like Topgolf so customers will enjoy the ability to use the best balls in golf – those offered by OnCore Golf. A number of other elements – social media integrations, novel food and beverage services and offerings, different spatial configuration inside the clubhouse that provides enhanced entertainment and socialization opportunities, other forms of athletic experiences, and expanded meeting, event, banquet, and hotel space – are all distinctive factors.

Aside from golf, what other sports activities are planned?

KB: We are currently planning to offer some “active sports” activities including indoor water surfing, skateboarding, and simulated snowboarding. We also expect to offer simulated skills challenges in baseball, soccer, basketball, archery, and many others.

Why choose Buffalo?

KB: As the home of OnCore Golf, we felt strongly that this “first-of-its-kind” facility ought to be introduced in Buffalo. Buffalo deserves something that the world points to as the best of the best and there just aren’t other facilities in existence that will offer everything OnCore Buffalo will.

How is OnCore planning to use this to benefit the community in ways other than just the entertainment aspect. What sort of access will local junior and high school programs have to the OnCore Golf Buffalo facility?

KB: We have already committed to providing the First Tee of WNY with free space for their operations and to allocate time in the facilities for them to conduct their important programs. We will be reaching out to both athletic and educational programs to encourage and assist them in utilizing our facility for a wide range of initiatives. We are in talks with others about different ways we can use OnCore Buffalo to make a positive impact and assure that this is a huge reason for our bringing this project into existence.

Tell us about the environmental impact of this facility on Kelly Island and the Buffalo River.

KB:  We have already completed environmental studies and will be conducting remediation of issues created by previous industrial use of the site prior to breaking ground. Local government officials have indicated strong support for improving the infrastructure improvements for both vehicles and for pedestrians looking to access Kelly Island from downtown. We have also met with Buffalo River Keepers to ensure that our development efforts support and complement their work to improve responsible use of the waterway.

What changes will need to be made to the roadways in the immediate area (known as the Old First Ward) to accommodate the increased amount of traffic generated by the facility?

KB: There currently are over 1 million visitors to RiverWorks, which is also located on Kelly Island so the existing infrastructure is adequate to support the estimated 350,000 visitors to OnCore Buffalo. However, as indicated already, there have been a number of encouraging regarding the improvements that could be made to the roadway and creating a waterfront greenway for pedestrian access.

Discuss how the facility will benefit different age groups. Activities that kids love, don’t necessarily translate to seniors and middle-agers, and vice-versa.

KB: It is our plan to offer a complete spectrum of fun activities for all ages and to ensure that families can enjoy time at OnCore Buffalo without having to split up. The use of augmented reality glasses and simple gaming hardware to allow kids to launch golf balls towards the targets in a “virtual” mode, instead of having to actually swing a golf club, is just one example of that approach. There are a few others that are going to be incorporated into the facility that are so unique, we are not ready to disclose them!

Why will people stay at this hotel, when they could be in the heart of downtown, or near the airport?

KB: The OnCore Buffalo facility will be located within a mile of every major attraction in downtown Buffalo including Canalside, HarborCenter, Seneca Buffalo Casino, Buffalo Rowing Club, RiverWorks, the Cobblestone District, Sahlen’s Field, and Keybank Center. The question is why anyone would want to be anywhere else!

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Ronald Montesano writes for from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.



  1. Kimberly

    Nov 1, 2019 at 6:38 am

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  2. ScottF

    Oct 6, 2019 at 3:30 am

    Hahaha Buffalo seriously???

    • Ronald Montesano

      Oct 6, 2019 at 9:06 pm

      Seriously. Come see us and enjoy what we have, all year round.

      • Jon Barone

        Oct 23, 2019 at 4:23 pm

        Totally agree. I actually moved back here after being away for decades. 2 family members and 2 friends have moved back in the past 3 months. Affordability, access to so many Summer and winter activities is amazing, the Falls & Canada close by. The question is, why wouldn’t you want to live here. Only wimps that can’t handle the 3 or 4 bad snow days we have on average in the winter need not apply. ??

      • Jon Barone

        Oct 23, 2019 at 4:24 pm

        Totally agree. I actually moved back here after being away for decades. 2 family members and 2 friends have moved back in the past 3 months. Affordability, access to so many Summer and winter activities is amazing, the Falls & Canada close by. The question is, why wouldn’t you want to live here. Only wimps that can’t handle the 3 or 4 bad snow days we have on average in the winter need not apply. ??

  3. Juan Pablo

    Oct 4, 2019 at 6:37 am

    Ask them if they’ve ordered steel for their new building yet. Yes, it will be built. No, it’s never getting off the ground.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Oct 6, 2019 at 9:06 pm

      Interesting take. Can you elaborate on the steel concern?

      • Keith Blakely

        Oct 23, 2019 at 5:14 pm

        Ron – Not sure what Juan was saying? Yes it will be built but no, it’s never getting off the ground? Seems contradictory! Regardless, we have been working with global architectural, engineering, and construction firms so there will not be any surprises on cost, timing, or availability of all of the structural and technology elements needed.

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Morning 9: Improving golf coverage | Oral history of TW’s “best shot” | Nichols: Charity matches were great…but why no women?



1. Match-inspired innovations for improving golf coverage
Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan with a few thoughts…Mid-round interviews…There’s no really good reason beyond mild annoyance to the players that this couldn’t work, even in the current COVID-19 environment, provided that safe social distancing is practiced. In the major team sports, coaches are obliged to give interviews, and players will occasionally speak at halftime or between periods. There are no “coaches” in that same sense in golf, but the game happens at a slower pace, and a 60-second walking interview between holes is not too much to ask. I don’t think there’s a reasonable argument that it’s overly disruptive, especially if planned in advance.”
  • …”Mic’d up players and caddies…In exhibitions past, we’ve witnessed players with live microphones, but the purpose behind it is dreaded “banter,” which typically comes across as hollow, forced and not very funny. But if players and caddies wore mics during a round, producers could find riveting audio that captures natural conversation or impromptu strategy sessions. Phil serving as a mentor for Tom Brady was riveting and hopefully stokes our appetite for similar mid-round insight…”
2. An oral history of Tiger’s “best shot” 
Cameron Morfit for…(This is just the introduction to a fantastic piece that talks to Bob Weeks of TSN and Steve Williams, among others!)…”Had it slipped between Tiger Woods’ 6-iron and golf ball, one rogue grain could have sunk his hopes of winning the RBC Canadian Open in 2000, becoming the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win golf’s Triple Crown – the U.S., British, and Canadian Opens in the same year.”
  • “So was it the ultra-fine margin? The stakes? The absurdly improbable physics of the shot itself?”
  • “Yes. Yes. And yes. All of these things compelled Scott Verplank, among others, to call it “the greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my life,” Woods’ 218-yard masterstroke from the wet sand at the par-5 18th at Glen Abbey. Woods’ caddie Steve Williams would return to the bunker once the commotion had died down, still struggling to get his head around what he’d seen. Others have made the same pilgrimage and tried to visualize what Woods had, tried to feel what Woods felt, for this was magic.”
3. Thrive? Struggle? Survive? 
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak contemplates what’s ahead for the golf industry…”These are strange times living through a global pandemic. Suddenly, golf courses are packed in a way the industry hasn’t experienced since Tiger Woods was revolutionizing the game in the late 1990s and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem was predicting 50 million golfers by 2020.”
  • “Well, that didn’t happen, but golf has been given this new-found seal of approval highlighting its healthy aspects and its ability to provide safe recreation. As courses across the country re-open there is pent up demand among golfers to get out and play. Tee sheets are mostly filled and former golfers and those trying out the sport for the first time are emerging out of the woodwork desperate to be in the sunshine and doing something, anything that has been deemed “COVID OK.” There is renewed belief that golf can grab a bigger piece of the pie among recreational and entertainment options.”
4. Where were the women?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols wonders…How can there be downside to two Sundays of golf taking center stage and raising mega-money for COVID-19 relief?”
  • “Well, there is no a downside, but it could’ve been more. As LPGA player Mel Reid tweeted during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Challenge, the broadcasts could’ve represented all of golf.”
  • “They could’ve included women.”
  • “…It would’ve been great to see an LPGA player and her sponsorship partners get in on the action in a similar fashion.”
  • “The TaylorMade event could’ve been a mixed-team format. Maria Fassi and Paula Creamer are both in Florida. Some of TaylorMade’s female stars could’ve also called in during the broadcast as Jon Rahm did. Staffers who could’ve called in include Natalie Gulbis, Muni He and Charley Hull. Sung Hyun Park, who speaks limited English, was involved in a charity exhibition in South Korea with current No. 1 Jin Young Ko. Women’s golf frequently takes center stage in that part of the world.”
5. 80% of golf retail open
From the NGF Q…”The number of physical golf retail outlets that are back in business continues to increase – from off-course stores and specialty club-fitters to green grass pro shops.”
  • “Approximately 66% of golf course pro shops are open at facilities that are open to play, the equivalent of almost 9 million square feet, although some states and counties have limitations on the number of customers permitted at one time. That percentage is up from 36% at the start of the month, but is unchanged over the past week as pro shops in at least 10 states (including Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York) have government mandates that say they must remain closed inside to customers.”
  • “Meanwhile, approximately 79% of off-course golf retail stores were open (in terms of total square footage) through May 25. This is up from 73% last week and 59% two weeks ago. In early April, only about 4% of the 6.5 million square feet of total off-course golf specialty space was open to in-store traffic. Roughly 81% of all off-course retail stores are now open to customers.”
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GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (05/27/20): Adams, Mizuno, Ping



At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Gator5 – Adams CMB Irons

Forged – check, Multi-Material construction – check, cool as all heck because these clubs are sweet and Adams made some really cool gear – check!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Adams CMB Irons

Member Ksears – Brand New Mizuno MP20 Irons

Did someone say brand new Mizunos??? What else could you really want from a forged blade beside being meticulously crafted and forged in Japan – as well as being priced lower than retail.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link hereMP 20 Irons

Member 1hellaofashot – Ping G410 7 Wood

Speaking from experience let me just say this “stop denying the inevitable and embrace the 7 Wood” It’s endlessly versatile, more forgiving than a hybrid, and because this one for sale is a Ping G410 it is adjustable. Here’s your chance to dial in your own par 5 killer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Ping 7 Wood

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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Morning 9: Match 2: The most-watched golf telecast ever | Rory: Players don’t want fan-less Ryder Cup | Justin Thomas aces broadcast debut



1. 5.8 million average viewers for The Match
AP report…”Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.”
  • “Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.”
  • “It said the previous record was 4.9 million viewers on ESPN at the 2010 Masters, the year Tiger Woods returned to golf for the first time since the scandal in his personal life.”
  • “Woods and Peyton Manning scored a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady at Medalist Golf Club, a match that featured high entertainment with shots and with words, along with raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief funds.”
2. Shackelford’s take
A few observations from the scribe…“While still an overnight, it easily bests the previous week’s relief fund match that drew a 1.5 and total of 2.3 million viewers across three channels, including a 1.5 rating on NBC and a .24 on Golf Channel).”
“More incredibly, this means The Match 2 out-rated any major championship round on cable.”
“Given a so-so promotional run-up, a slow start to the show (caused in part by a slight weather delay) a dreary day to watch, and a long telecast, the rating is a stunning statement about the remaining star power of the contestants.”
3. JT’s TV debut
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”That said, whenever he decides to put down the clubs, he should immediately pick up a mic.
The former Alabama star made his broadcast debut as an on-course reporter on TNT/TBS alongside CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis on Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity, which saw Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. Thomas received rave reviews from golf Twitter during and after the event. He was brilliant. His rapport with Woods and Mickelson allowed them to open up on a different level compared to the original The Match in 2018.”
“Most importantly, Thomas didn’t overdo anything. Unlike some broadcasters, he knew fans weren’t watching for him and he never once tried to steal the spotlight. He didn’t speak just to talk. When he had something to say, it was insightful or funny. Like a golfer picking out which holes he can attack and score on, Thomas picked his spots on where to interject throughout the broadcast like someone who’s been doing it for years, let alone a day.”
4. Tiger looked terrific 
Bob Harig writes…”For the first time in 98 days, we got to see Woods in action. And the last time we saw him, he didn’t look good. Woods shot 77 at Riviera Country Club on Feb. 16 and finished last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational. And he complained that his back was stiff”
  • …”Woods hasn’t played since but neither has anyone else. And the time off has done him some good.”
  • “Woods didn’t miss a fairway. His swing looked smooth and in rhythm. He hit some deft pitch shots and a really nice long bunker shot. And all of this in difficult, rainy conditions.”
  • “It was just a charity match, but he looked pretty good. Who knows when Woods will resume his schedule when the PGA Tour returns next month, but his game looks good to go.”
5. Rory McIlroy: ‘Majority of players’ want 2020 Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 
Adam Woodard at Golfweek…”Rory McIlroy has a hunch about the Ryder Cup, and it’s one that golf fans around the world aren’t going to like.”
  • “In an interview with BBC Sport, the world No. 1 said: “My personal hunch is that I don’t see how it is going to happen, so I do not think that it will happen.”
  • “Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits is scheduled to host the 2020 Ryder Cup Sept. 25-27, but amid the coronavirus pandemic the event would most-likely take place without fans (if held at all).”
  • “I think the majority of players would like to see it pushed back until 2021 so that they can play in front of crowds and have the atmosphere that makes the Ryder Cup so special,” explained McIlroy. “The players are the ones that make the Ryder Cup. If they are not on board with it and don’t want to play then there is no Ryder Cup.”
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