In 1971, Antonio “Nemo” D’Agostino whose business was building golf courses, fell in love with and purchased the 400 acres of scenic farmland that encompasses the course today. The land had been owned over the years by the Stevens, Walburger, Ripley, and Maas families.
In 1979, the front 9 holes were built using plans designed by Geoffrey Cornish. A trailer served as a temporary club house. The clubhouse was built in 1989. By the time of Nemo’s death, the course and clubhouse had fallen into severe disrepair. 40 years of out of town ownership had taken its toll.
The Drumm family purchased the course from the estate in October, 2012, to save it from being returned to farmland, and then began the arduous process of transforming the clubhouse and the course. The building was gutted. Renovations included all new parking lots, well, driveway, windows, doors, siding, roof, interior layout, bathrooms, plumbing, heating, electrical, flooring, lighting, kitchen equipment, furniture, decks, and more. All of this is set in a rustic farm decor reflecting the course’s and our family’s agricultural background. In five short “arctic” months, Drumm Construction’s talented team of employees and subcontractors transformed the clubhouse from a building that probably should have been torn down into what you see today.
Several consultants & turf experts were called in to advise us on course improvements. Updates included new gravel cart paths, a rigorous fairway and greens maintenance program, and miles of drainage and irrigation system repair. Other investments included a new fleet of golf carts and maintenance equipment.
We appreciate the incredible support we have been given by the local dining and golf communities. We look forward to years of fun on the course, restaurant and sports bar!
In the fall of 2012 we bought Vesper Hills Golf Club. The course, equipment, and the clubhouse were in severe disrepair. It had been years since any money had been invested in the property. The owner had passed away and it was on the verge of closing. Although neither of us are golfers we hated to see it go back to farmland.
The basic layout of the course (a Geoffrey Cornish design with a length of 6850 yards), the view of the lake, and the general picturesque atmosphere made it unique enough to take a chance. As we already owned a construction and equipment business, we felt we would be well suited to rebuild the place.
Work began almost immediately after the closing. There had only four months to get it ready to open. Plans were being developed even as the restoration was beginning. In that short four months, our personal lives took a backseat because of the enormous amount of work to be done. Long hours and seven days a week were the norm that winter.
In that time we needed to totally gut and rebuild the clubhouse, hire new staff, purchase new equipment and golf carts, and learn the business of golf. We hired consultants and architects and got to work. We made it. In the four month period, we had one of the coldest and windiest winters in our memory. With the help of some very talented and hard working people, it was completed.
Come April 28th we were ready to go. It has been a constant work-in-progress since then. Some other recent improvements include our new island hole, maintenance building, cart paths, irrigation, drainage, bunkers, tree planting, parking lots, etc. The first few months were the toughest.
The business took longer to recover than the course. When an establishment has gotten a reputation — good or bad — it takes a while to change. It has slowly come back to where it needed to be! It finally feels like we have made it.
We have been voted the 6th best golf course in Central New York, one of the top five golf courses in the Finger Lakes, and in the top 17 Alfresco restaurants of Central New York! And, the place is hopping most days.
We hosted four PGA events in one year. Vesper used to have six events a year and now it has gone to more than 70! We also added three new leagues.
We invested heavily in the course and the people that work here, and it was a success. We built it and you came. Thank you CNY!
Mark & Suzanne Drumm