A recent restoration by Ron Forse – when he removed many of the trees that were closing in on the fairways – has brought this charming old Donald Ross course back to life at Lake Sunapee Country Club in the new millennium. The tree removal program on the course returned many of the spectacular mountain views and the expansion of green sizes regained the original character of the putting surfaces.
The club was founded in 1927, when a number of local residents met at the New London town library to select Donald Ross as their golf course architect. After surveying half a dozen possible sites for the layout, the current location was chosen and the first nine holes were ready for play the following year. A further year on, all eighteen holes were in operation.Once renowned as the summer retreat of long standing member Gene Sarazen, the course at Lake Sunapee is certainly not short of quality golf holes; on the front nine, the doglegged holes at holes at the 3rd and 5th are particularly strong while on the inward half, the par threes at the 12th and 15th are very tough one-shotters.
From the first tee till the 18th green this course was a pleasure to play! True Donald Ross design. With the different tee boxes it can play very well to all abilities. I played white/blue as a senior player and my son played blue. Greens were fast but fair and the ball rolled true. Great day and can't wait to play again!
Two things stood out for me at Lake Sunapee. Tree removal has opened up many gorgeous views, especially those featuring Mt. Kearsarge—where I had warmed up for my round that morning by climbing to the summit. The other was the green complexes. All but a few provided the kind of contours that I find most interesting—not severe, but enough so that the challenge is about which direction(s) a putt will break in, not just how much. My favorite was #6, a downhill par 5 with a hidden swale in front and a variety of humps and bumps. I later found out this green, unlike the rest, was the work of Ron Forse in the 21st century, rather than that of Donald Ross in the early 20th. Ross’s work from tee to green also displays a strategic focus. Both par 5s require some thought on the second shot, as do a number of drives—most notably the 5th and 10th, both doglegs right and the 13th, which curves in the opposite direction.