Celebrating A Centennial: Lakeside Country Club

Celebrating A Centennial: Lakeside Country Club     

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 4, 2023, Penn Yan, NY   

By Lynn Palatas Delaney


Lakeside Country Club is celebrating its centennial anniversary this spring and summer with a variety of tournaments and special events. The celebration season begins on June 3rd with the Legacy Gala, a roaring twenties-themed party for the club’s nearly 500 members. Also slated for members in June is The Gridley Open, a nostalgic golf game using the original six holes of the golf course. Named for Abraham and Ellen Gridley who originally owned the current Lakeside property, the golf outing will feature players wearing period attire and entertainment all afternoon. In July the “Champagne in the Kitchen” pickleball tournament will take place and a Centennial Jamboree is scheduled for August. 

“This season is all about celebrating our century milestone and preserving Lakeside’s legacy for future generations to come,” said Bebette Yunis, President of Lakeside.

Lakeside was founded in 1923 when interest in golf was exploding and dozens of courses were opening around the country. Noted for its unpretentious and friendly environment, the club has long been a respected social and recreational hub for members, guests and the public. It has since evolved into a club not only for golf, but also for a variety of activities including pickleball, dining and charitable events. 

“We are proud of our club’s long history in the Penn Yan community. There are third and fourth generations of families that are members, which is very special,” Yunis said. 

In May of 1923 ten local businessmen with one set of golf clubs banded together to start what is now Lakeside.  According to historical records, the men were said to be “addicted to the use of golf”. The group would rise before daybreak to play at a temporary three-hole course at the local county fairgrounds (now Lake Street Plaza) “in their mad endeavors to out shine Gene Sarazen” (the top golfer of the day).  As more local golf enthusiasts joined in, they began looking for a more permanent course location. Funding and support grew for the new enterprise and Lakeside Country Club was incorporated that month. 

The perfect spot for Lakeside was also soon found: the Abraham and Ellen Gridley Farm on East Lake Road just south of Penn Yan on the shores of Keuka Lake. The 40-acre tract of land was said to be “sufficient for a splendid natural course” according to historical records, and the club remains there to this day. A twenty-year property lease was signed and members soon dug the first six golf holes, which were playable by the end of June 1923. By August of 1924 three more holes were added and the club held its first golf tournament. These original nine holes remain the basis for the current golf course layout. By 1928 the club was successful enough to purchase the leased property for $20,000 and expansion was quickly planned. 


Lakeside Country Club has had a supportive membership and dedicated grounds crews for the past 100 years.The golf course has seen many improvements and transformations of its fairways, tee boxes, sand traps and water hazards. Irrigation was introduced in the late 1960’s and later expanded. Driving range amenities were added in 1982. Continued land acquisition allowed the vision of an 18-hole course to materialize in 1995. According to historical club records, notable golfers that have played Lakeside include the venerable Walter Hagen who hailed from Rochester, NY and Jack Nicklaus, who’s uncle lived in the area. 

“We pride ourselves on the maintenance and condition of Lakeside, and always have,” said Bob King, Lakeside's golf pro since 2005, “With a 100 year golf tradition to carry on, we want everyone – members, guests and the public alike – to have the best golf experience in the Finger Lakes,” he added.  

The original Gridley farmhouse that came with the property was used as Lakeside’s clubhouse for 63 years. It was enlarged, renovated and remodeled several times but finally had to be razed using a controlled-burn fire. A new clubhouse was built in 1987 and was significantly updated in 2022 complete with an expansive outdoor deck overlooking the first fairway. A new golf pro shop was built in 2020 and features an indoor golf simulator where members can work on their golf game inside during the inclement Finger Lakes winters.

Like any active organization that has operated for a century, Lakeside has endured ups and downs but has always found a creative way to weather the storm. “During World War II there was gas rationing, but that didn’t stop activities at the club,” according to the late Shirley Ogden Cougevan, who had chronicled Lakeside’s history for many years. “Members would hire a horse and wagon to be transported from the Knapp Hotel (in Penn Yan) to and from the club, and war bonds were used as tournament prizes,” she wrote. 

The club continues to be abuzz with activities from April through November whether for a wedding reception, Friday Fish Fry or a game of Euchre. “Our new deck has a great view and is a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy lunch or dinner," said Cara Gladke, clubhouse manager.

In 2017, much like the ten men with a golf course vision, several club members had been playing pickleball all winter in Florida. They suggested bringing the fast-growing sport to Lakeside. Nancy and Bill Feinstein, who spearheaded the pickleball initiative at Lakeside, surveyed members’ interest and developed a construction plan. The club’s Board of Directors quickly recognized the benefit of adding this amenity and in 2018 two pickleball courts were constructed and dedicated in memory of Ellen and Ed Matson, long-time Lakeside members. 

The club was surprised at how quickly pickleball attracted a whole host of new Lakeside members. “The response to adding pickleball has been amazing,” said Nancy. “People are now joining Lakeside to play pickleball because they realize it’s affordable, fun and sociable.” 

Club president Yunis believes that staying relevant by adding amenities like pickleball embodies the foundation of how Lakeside was started and ensures the club’s longevity. Fletcher McTaggart, 81, a longtime Lakeside member concurs and is also passionate about the club’s future. The Caddie Club Champion in 1957, Fletch has many great stories and is always willing to share a tale or two. “I can remember as a boy back in the fifties caddying for a quarter a bag, it was such fun, and if we did well, the player’s would throw in lunch.” Fletch said. “I can’t believe it’s been 100 years, I can’t wait for the next 100,” he added with a wink.     


For further information contact:  

Lynn Palatas Delaney     Email: lpalatas@gmail.com         


Lakeside Country Club is a one-of-a-kind gem set amidst vineyards, woodlands and hills in the heart of the Finger Lakes. Located south of Penn Yan, NY the exceptional 18-hole 6631-yard golf course is challenging yet approachable for all skill levels. Several holes even boast spectacular panoramic views of beautiful Keuka Lake, the pride of the region. Greens and fairways are kept in meticulous condition by a professional and dedicated grounds crew. Practice facilities include a natural grass driving range as well as two practice areas for putting, chipping, sand trap work.  

 Known for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere, the club is semi-private and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. The Lakeside lifestyle includes a newly-renovated clubhouse with patio and firepit lounge, the full-service Vines Restaurant, pickleball and much more. Weekly golf leagues, tournaments, social events with live music and activities such as bridge, euchre and mahjong round out all that Lakeside has to offer. The Vines Restaurant is also open to the public for lunch seven days a week and dinner on Friday nights. Come enjoy the Lakeside lifestyle!  www.lccpy.com