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Harvest Hill public golf course
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A Farm Inspired Design

Written by Rachel Dobiesz
Imagery by Sandra Kicman

When Ross Cellino bought Harvest Hill public golf course on Transit Road in Orchard Park in October of 2012, he wanted to build a clubhouse that would fit the existing environment and give a nod to the land’s prior life as a working farm.
    “What we wanted to do was make the clubhouse feel like it was part of the original intent,” he said.
    Designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan, the 7,010-yard hybrid course features an 18-hole course, a three-hole family course, and a practice facility.  Accompanying the bent grass fairways, bunkers and greens are plenty of natural features, including wetlands, woodlands, and an abundance of heather. It isn’t hard to imagine the working farmland that occupied the space prior to 2006, when the course first opened.
    To bring his vision to life, Cellino hired architect Charles Gordon and interior designer Carol Schaper. 
    “I knew the quality that I was going to be dealing with and what their skill level was and, frankly, I feel like both of them are exceptionally skilled artisans,” said Cellino. “I had that track record to work off of.”
    Gordon and Schaper created a clubhouse that, inside and out, reflects Harvest Hill’s farmland setting. The exterior of the building is formed from heavy timber and is one of four structures – a clubhouse, a tournament pavilion, and two cart barns – that flow together to frame the golf course.
    “We drew inspiration from farmhouses and farm complexes that have silos and simple barnlike structures,” said Gordon.
     The clubhouse building, which houses the Pro Shop and Rooth’s
Sky-Lite restaurant, sits on high ground close to the course. It is glazed on both sides, so that golfers can immediately see the 18th green when they enter the clubhouse.
    One of the most important aspects of the structure is the silo, which sits above the Pro Shop and houses a massive fan that is visible from the interior of the building. Although the silo is non-functioning, the feature creates a barnlike feel to the building and is a landmark for golfers coming in from the course or approaching the structure from the parking lot. An arbor between the clubhouse and pavilion frames the view of the course when golfers are approaching from the parking lot,
    “When you’re playing golf coming up on number 18, you get to look up at that silo that’s built into the clubhouse,” said Cellino. “It has a really neat look as you make your way toward the 18th hole.”
    In the spirit of self-sufficiency, solar panels sit atop both cart barn structures. Although they don’t eliminate the need for traditional electricity entirely, Cellino said that he wanted to add an eco-friendly component to the project and even considered a windmill before settling on the panels.
    For the interior of the building, Schaper, who grew up on a dairy farm, took inspiration from the farm-like setting of the course and the burnt orange, green, and yellow colors of the Harvest Hill logo.
    “The whole concept was to have it have some of the elements of the old barn,” said Schaper.
    To merge the feeling of the old structure with the modernity of a new building, Schaper used accents of wood, concrete and galvanized metal. She also put an emphasis on lighting, which is often overlooked in commercial structures. 
     “The comments I’ve gotten from people are that it’s so comfortable and it has a kind of understated elegance,” said Schaper.
    The project unfolded with dramatic speed, with only a few weeks between the start of design work in October 2012 and the approval of the building permit in November 2012.
    As with all building projects, there were many moving parts involved in the construction of the Harvest Hill compound. Conway & Company Architects created working drawings of the design, Lehigh Construction Group was the contractor on the project, Dean Gowen was the landscape architect, and Procraft Heritage Creations in Bend, Oregon designed the Pro Shop.
    Construction was underway by December of 2012, and the club was running by Memorial Day 2013.
    Cellino said that he has no plans for any other structures, but that work will still be done on beautifying the course.  The parking lot is still undergoing major changes and will feature a winding drive buffered by a boulevard of trees and other shrubbery.
    “I think my expectations have been exceeded,” he said. “Oftentimes you design something and you hope for the best and frequently it falls short. This project actually far exceeded my expectations. I think everything turned out as good, if not substantially better than what I expected.”
   

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