Between the greens fees, cart rentals and so on, a round of golf at a nice course can get pricey fast. Fortunately, you can get a good deal and not break the bank if you're willing to play hookey or skip out of work early -- and let's be honest, who doesn't want to do that in the summer? Here are five of the area's best affordable (i.e., $35 for a round, with a cart, after 2 p.m. on weekdays) courses.


Located in Wyoming County just outside East Aurora, Byrncliff is brilliantly designed, featuring hills, creeks, ponds and a ravine. Each hole is challenging, but they're still open enough that you could recover from a wayward tee shot. Beware of the blind approach on the 15th hole!


Ironwood is a beautiful, hilly links course on a hilltop just into Wyoming County, a little east of East Aurora.  Rolling hills, ponds and woods make each hole challenging, but the heather just off the fairways isn't so thick that you can't recover a wayward shot. Holes 7 and 14 feature ponds just in front of their undulating greens, so think your shots through carefully. Hole 16, meanwhile, is a serpentine-like par 5 -- a true risk/reward hole.


TCCC is sculpted into the hills of Southern Erie County on Route 39, south of the thruway's Silver Creek exit. Like Byrncliff, TCCC offers hills, creeks, ponds and woods, and each hole is unique and challenging. It's also got the best front nine anywhere, in my opinion.


Lancaster's Buffalo Tournament Club has a lot of holes that are open enough to let ‘er rip and still recover if you’re off the mark. But several holes have ponds, a creek or woods to deal with, so you need to be accurate, too.  BTC's huge greens make your approach shots a little easier to nail, but once you’re on, you may have a loooooong putt. This course is VERY nice for the money.


The Links at Ivy Ridge, on Route 5 in Akron, is the most beautiful links course in the area -- 'nuff said.

Contributed by Chris Nichter