Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 4th hole
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Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 4th hole
A pond protects the fourth green at Bristol Harbour Resort in Canandaigua, New York. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
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Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 5th hole
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Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 5th hole
The 393-yard fifth hole at Bristol Harbour Resort plays slightly uphill. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bristol Harbour Resort G.C. - no. 7
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Bristol Harbour Resort G.C. - no. 7
It's a tough shot trying to hit Bristol Harbour Resort's par-5 seventh green in two. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 8th hole
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Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 8th hole
The par-3 eighth hole at Bristol Harbour Resort plays downhill. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bristol Harbour Resort G.C. - no. 10
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Bristol Harbour Resort G.C. - no. 10
The 10th hole takes on a completely different wooded feel than the front nine at Bristol Harbour Resort in Canandaigua, New York. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 12th hole
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Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 12th hole
The 376-yard 12th hole is one of the shorter par 4s at Bristol Harbour Resort in Canandaigua, N.Y. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bristol Harbour Resort G.C. - no. 14
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Bristol Harbour Resort G.C. - no. 14
Everybody remembers the 14th hole at Bristol Harbour Resort because of its severe drop to the green. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 15th hole
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Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 15th hole
It takes a strong 170-yard shot from the blue tees to carry the wetland on the 15th at Bristol Harbour Resort in Canandaigua, New York. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bristol Harbour Resort G.C. - no. 16
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Bristol Harbour Resort G.C. - no. 16
The 16th at Bristol Harbour Resort bends right, then climbs to the green. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor
Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 17th hole
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Bristol Harbour Resort golf course - 17th hole
The 17th hole at Bristol Harbour Resort climbs to an elevated green. Take an extra club or two. Jason Scott Deegan/GolfAdvisor

Bristol Harbour Resort offers classic Robert Trent Jones golf amid New York's Finger Lakes

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. -- It's a split personality that makes the classic Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf course at Bristol Harbour Resort so unique.

Bristol Harbour's front nine opens gently with soft, rolling land and wide-open spaces. Once golfers drive across the road, the land springs to life on the back nine, heaving up hills and falling into valleys with fairways framed by thousands of trees. The one knock on the course is inconsistent conditioning, but this special setting overlooking Canadaigua Lake does make it easier to look past the rough spots. The 6,700-yard Bristol Harbour lights up every fall when the leaves start changing.

The real fun begins with back-to-back par 5s at holes 6 and 7. The sixth drops off an elevated tee, setting up a daunting 200-yard-plus carry over a pond for those who want to go for it in two. The seventh climbs back uphill, playing as a true three-shot challenge. Everybody remembers the 14th hole, a par 4 requiring a layup to the edge of a steep drop-off at the dogleg in the fairway. The green below slopes right to left, so favor the high side or the approach shot will roll off into thick rough.

The next tee shot at the 15th hole, an intimidating par 3, must fly over a river gorge. The fairways of Bristol Harbour's par-4 ninth and 18th holes run parallel to one another, sharing a pond at the green. Even if you don't have time for lunch on the patio back at the lodge, take a minute to admire the view of the lake. It's the reason so many people love the Finger Lakes.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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