Every Day Courses, Part II


Two layouts by Donald Ross seem to beckon repeat play – a residue of his design vocabulary. Today’s example is The Sagamore, in Bolton’s Landing, New York.


The uphill, dogleg left 7th hole exemplifies The Sagamore's rugged topography. Photos: Tom Harack

Though of the same vintage as Mountain Ridge , The Sagamore’s location at the base of the Adirondacks means much more precipitous terrain. Indeed, while you get the sense of a fairly compact site overall – mature hardwoods make great buffers between many of the holes – the course is not readily walkable (having tried it once myself). That’s a deduction in my “course-you-could-play-everyday” score, although several cart-path-only forays per round make a round at The Sagamore a workout.


The panorama from the steeply elevated 1st tee, with Lake George as the backdrop, is the shot by which The Sagamore is known, but there are other great landforms. These include wetlands and meadows where Ross is said to have planted heather from his native Scotland.


The routing is efficient but varied. Some of the best holes are short ones, but

Landing areas may offer multiple approach angles, but the target remains small and, as here on the 5th hole, a 380-yard par 4, long is big trouble.

even the longest holes suggest safe areas to play, typically to chipping aprons leading to crowned, push-up greens – a difficult but doable shot.


A great example is the 13th, a par 4 that at 446 yards from the tips approaches the outer limits of golden age golf architecture. Despite a marsh on the right, there’s ample landing zone, but the second shot has to carry marsh #2. As is true of many of Ross’s water hazards, though, a solidly struck ball will easily carry the marsh, though it may come to rest on a 75-yard apron fronting an elevated green.


The Sagamore is, of course, part of the resort of the same name, so most of the packages on offer combine golf with accommodations and dining. Outside play is also welcome, though, and it’s a quality golf experience.


What golf course characteristics make you want to go back, the sooner the better?


Some cross-bunkers are more decorative than strategic, like this one on the 4th hole, but still manage to conform to the overall proportions.

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