LAKE PLACID CLUB ~ MOUNTAIN COURSE
The Lake Placid Club Mountain Course was laid out in 1910 by Alexander ("Alex") H. Findlay, who immigrated to the U.S. from Scotland in the early 1880's and became one of the pioneers of golf in America. He is said to have played almost 2,400 courses in his lifetime, setting course records at many of them. Findlay was dedicated to the sport of golf and, in 1926, tried (unsuccessfully) to create a six hole golf course at the Vatican.
In 1931, the Lake Placid Club Mountain Course was remodeled by Alister MacKenzie, (pictured right), perhaps the most famous architect of the Golden Age of Golf Design. Dr. MacKenzie was the consulting architect for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland. Among the principal courses planned and laid out by him were Cypress Point, and Augusta National, home of "The Masters".
The Lake Placid Club Mountain Course is shorter than the Lake Placid Club Links Course but begs for the straight shot. With smaller greens and more tree-lined fairways, this course will appeal particularly to the strong player. Par fives give good players the chance to go for the green in two, but if you miss, you are apt to bogey the hole. With more hills and blind shots than the Lake Placid Club Links Course, the Lake Placid Club Mountain Course will nonetheless impress players of all levels with its scenic views and engaging design.
There are five par threes, and the approach to the green is blind on several. But, well struck shots will give good results. Bunkers and mounds continue to test the golfer, and placement of tee shots is the key to giving the best angle to the hole. At the 4th tee, you can see Mt. Marcy, the highest peak in New York State.
Par fours offer some of the best golf on the course, with the 3rd especially demanding. For a strong driver off the tee, perhaps using a three-wood, 200 yards is a substantial distance to carry. The fairway then turns left with a 175-yard uphill shot towards the severely sloping green.
Three par fives all call out for sharp straight drives, including the only two back to back par five holes in the world, each over 600 yards. The 10th, Jack Nicklaus's favorite on the course, is 631 yards of fairway, completely bordered on the right by woods; while the 7th presents mounds similar to those on the Links Course, plus spectacular views of the Sentinel Range.
Among par fours, the 6th is deceptive. While there are no bunkers or blind shots, this 360-yard hole slopes entirely towards the woods, requiring a strong drive to the left and careful shooting on to a postage-stamp green. By contract, the 14th is easy and forgiving, boosting the golfer's confidence before striking out towards the demanding 15th and 16th.
As on the Lake Placid Club Links Course, a challenging finish awaits at 17 and 18. A nearly blind tee shot uphill begins the 17th, but it compensates with a larger green. Par is possible for the well played shot. On the 18th, a strong tee shot must be followed with a long second shot, culminating in an uphill green guarded by bunkers on three sides, a rewarding ending to classic golf surrounded by breathtaking scenery.