Designed by Bob Cupp, the fairways of the Mountain course at the Spruce Peak resort, formerly Stowe Mountain, are laid out in the foothills of Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. The course is split into two sections, with the first eleven holes visiting the lower slopes of Spruce Peak then the last seven holes routed around Peregrine Lake on the floor of the adjacent valley.
In The American Golf Resort Guide author Daniel Wexler writes: “the opening stretch is spectacular, with the 506-yard 2nd rising through the woods to an angled green, and both the 394-yard 5th and 271-yard par four 6th running along sharp right-side precipices.
The plunging 171-yard 7th and climbing 499-yard 10th are the most engaging of the remaining elevated holes before play descends to the lake, which directly affects the 338-yard driveable 14th, the 194-yard all-carry 15th and the 317-yard 18th, another reachable par four.”
Bob Cupp was a talented architect but his effort at Stowe Mountain is overly shaped and sits on top of the land rather than blending within it.
The Vermont countryside is certainly present and the eye-candy appeal is certainly present throughout the round.
The land site is fairly cramped and, as a consequence, Cupp had to shoe horn holes too near to one another.
When you have a dominant ski operation the golf side of the equation is often forced to deal with land that can prove to be an insurmountable chore to work with in creating compelling design. Give Cupp plenty of credit for routing the layout given what he had to work with, however, the ultimate outcome is golf layout that makes too many compromises to be more than just a one round and done experience.
M. James Ward