THE JOURNAL NEWS: Purchase homeowner adds 3-acre backyard golf course
November 12, 2014
Mark Stagg, a builder, installs a 3-acre practice course for his golfing teen-agers.
This private golf course was designed by Michael Lehrer, shown, of Home Green Advantage in Armonk.(Photo: Mike Dardano, BuzzPotential)
In golf-crazy Westchester County, it's not that unusual to find homeowners with a golf green of their very own in their backyard. But a 3-acre home course with four tee boxes, three huge greens, a fairway and a sand trap? That's pretty special.
Add in a 25-foot stone waterfall, a 50-foot pond, night stadium lighting and a booming sound system, and you've got the makings an over-the-top country club.
Tucked behind a private gate on Alyssa Lane in Purchase and alongside a rather noisy stretch of the Hutchinson River Parkway, you'll find homeowner Mark Stagg's brand new 3-acre toy.
"It's the best private course in Westchester, even Fairfield," says course designer and builder Michael Lehrer, whose company, Home Green Advantage, is based in Armonk. "It's definitely the most elaborate. Is it the biggest? Let's just say there's nothing like it in Westchester."
Since abandoning a career as a certified public accountant 20 years ago, Lehrer has become the go-to guy for building home greens and private golf courses. "I've built 600 of them, from Montauk to Hawaii," he says.
The decision to build a home course "made sense," says Stagg, a builder (the Stagg Group) and the owner of NY Stone & Masonry Supply in Mount Kisco. "We're a golfing family. I have two sons who really, really play the game and practice all the time."
Tyler Stagg, 19, plays golf for Manhattanville College, and Justin, 17, has been a star player on the team at Harrison High School, earning a trip to the NY State tournament.
"This is a practice facility, a state-of-the-art practice facility, with some nice touches," their father says. The family had a backyard green at their previous home, in White Plains.
"We were club champions three of the last four years at our club (Westchester Hills in White Plains)," Mark Stagg adds.
This part of the 5-acre property was certainly nothing special before the course was installed, he says. "It was just overgrown weeds, overgrown saplings, high grass."
"The plan has evolved, like an artist with a blank canvas," Stagg says, gesturing out across the course. "I had an architect design an initial plan. It's been a collaborative effort."
Because Stagg was able to supply all of the raw materials — including 450 truckloads of fill, soil, sand and stone — the project was finished in a very fast three months.
Rich Fancher of Home Green Advantage in Armonk carries sod to the new golf greens at Mark Stagg's home in Purchase. (Photo: Mike Dardano, BuzzPotential)
"Golf course construction usually takes over a year," says Lehrer, who built his first putting green in 1995, in his own back yard in Armonk. Before long, he was installing them for friends and neighbors, and his company has now installed about 150 private greens in Westchester.
What's particularly great about this course, Lehrer says, is the breadth of the three customized greens, which measure 3,500, 3,000 and 2,500 square feet.
Homeowner Mark Stagg's new private 3-acre golf course at his home in Purchase features three greens, four tees, sand traps, a fairway and night lighting, along with pond and 25-foot stone waterfall. Stagg is a builder and owner of a stone supply co. in Mount Kisco. The course was designed by Mark Lehrer of Home Green Advantage in Armonk. Homeowner Mark Stagg is photographed Nov. 7 in Purchase. (Photo: Tania Savayan/The Journal News)
The Stagg course is not exactly low maintenance. The special grass on the greens has to be trimmed and cut three to four times a week.
Construction on the site included grading the property, digging out the pond and adding contours and swales. There is also an extensive irrigation system and a paved walkway that circles through three-quarters of the course. The course is a mix of synthetic and natural grass.
More than 400 evergreen trees, mostly deer-resistant Siberian spruce, were added around the perimeter for visual and noise screening.
Stagg says that he and his family are already looking forward to spring — and better weather for golfing.