Golf writer Bill Giering plays the Ticonderoga Country Club and the Lake Placid Club courses, Both Designed by Seymour Dunn.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (ARRCH) does a yeoman’s job of supporting, promoting and protecting the great architecture of the Adirondacks. But when you take all the fancy hand cut wood and and quarried stone and birch bark away you are left with the dirt… under it all, … its always the dirt.
And Seymour Dunn, a Scot, who came here around 1900, did beautiful things with Adirondack soil. He designed and built some of the Adirondacks’ more memorable golf courses.
I had a chance to spend a weekend enjoying two of his designs and the people who flock to laugh, play and even cuss his creative layouts.
The Ticonderoga County Club, just north of Hague, was one of his first designs. Dunn was the head pro at arguably the best course in Europe, Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, before he came to the North County. He may have been known more for his golf instruction than he was for his design. But the Ti Country Club is one of his great gifts to this area.
The entrance to the Club really starts miles before on Route 9N. Tall pines hide the view on both sides of the road, and occasionally you get a quick peek at the lake. The parking lot sits slightly below the well landscaped, brown shingled, white trimmed restaurant and pro shop. Emeralds Restaurant is worth the trip on its own. Owners Erin and Mark Wood put their hearts into it every day and keep it fresh and new even after 15 years… a great spot for a cold beer or a special dinner.
Your first “WOW!!” happens when you walk around the corner and see the well manicured Ti C.C. course for the first time… Wow!!. It will remind you of walking through the tunnel at Yankee Stadium, when you first see the baseball diamond, grass cut in interesting designs. Wow!!, You know you are someplace special. Course Superintendent Doug Ross keeps the Wow’s coming.
The course has had a 90 year history of great PGA Professionals.. Mike Doctor, Tom Gunning, Bill Duprey, Tony Fortino , Jack Giles… and 35 year veteran, great guy and keystone of the club PGA Pro George Mackey.
The high staged first tee is surrounded by a stoned wall with past champions listed, a scenic start to a fun filled walk. I had a chance to meet Rick Liddell, this years men’s champion who shot a smooth 70,75, to win his 20th Men’s Club Championship. And Donna Fleury, who won the Ladies Championship for the first time. (photo)
Glens Falls legend Mike Hayes brought his Super Tuesdays Golf Events here years ago, and also invited tennis great Ivan Lendl here. Lendl loved this course.
There seems to be a constant drum beat, a smooth rhythm to this Seymour Dunn creation. The first hole is downhill and a nice welcoming hole. The second hole is uphill and more serious, the third a short birdie-able par three. The forth hole is a tricky and long par five, the Battle of Snowshoe was held here…and it is still a battle for sure. The 5th is the easier of the back to back par 5′s, a wonderful worn stacked gray fence that guards the course from the dark forest on the right, the fence is distracting in its natural beauty. And so it goes..easy, hard, easy, hard, easy…. the Seymour Dunn Rhythm leads you around this unique layout. Finishing with a man size 16th hole, a breather and relaxing 17th, and a true test 18th uphill with a tough green, hard, easy, hard….. A local guy I played with said the 18th green was harder to read than a Russian Newspaper.
I found it interesting that from the 3rd hole thru the 13th hole there was only one par 4. But the rhythm is smooth and constant and won’t let you relax, a real test.
PGA Touring Pro Joey Sindelar won the 1976 NYSHSAA Championship at Ti C.C. with a cool 68-66. The course record is 64 by Brian Tennyson who waa local pro.
Heading North to the Lake Placid Club
After a late bite at the Liquids & Solids restaurant in Lake Placid, an interesting spot with a vast menu that passionate foodies will love. I woke to the view from the sixth floor suite at the Northwood Inn on Main Street in downtown Lake Placid, incredible view to start the day with. Sun glistening off the calm lake, early morning kayaks and paddle boarders leaving slight echoing wakes in the smooth surface of Mirror Lake.
Lake George resident Janice Woodbury, the Tournament Director and Steve Englehart, the director of ARRCH, picked a perfect day for their annual fund raiser golf event at the Seymour Dunn-designed Links Course at the Lake Placid Club. Dunn designed the lower course in a Scottish Links style in 1909. Big greens with a lot of movement, surrounded by natural fescue grasses, and tricky fairway bunkers.
The Club has a total of 45 holes…. Alister McKenzie who designed Augusta National Golf Club home of the Masters, designed the other 18… pretty good Scottish company and heritage..
If you ever wanted to pick the best golf holes in the Adirondacks, I know one clear winner that would be on every ones list. I can’t think of a better 19th hole than the view from the back porch of the Lake Placid Club. Foggy and soft mountains in the background, a well maintained mountain course at your feet and even a view of the Olympic Ski jumps are silhouetted in the big sky. Its a stunning view and lovely spot for an after golf beverage. A perfect spot to reflect on how the devilish Seymour Dunn has engage your interest, challenged you and created a track that lifts the human spirit…and makes you feel like you have accomplished something when you are done.
Among the winners of the AARCH tournament were these Lake George residents: Nancy Hyman; Karin Hyman-Gentner; Grant Gentner and Nicole Ryan.