ENFIELD, New Hampshire – Montcalm Golf Club, a challenging golf course located in Enfield New Hampshire, is also a very serene property surrounded by dense forests and panoramic views of Vermont’s Green Mountains. The winding mountain road to the course is a mile long and gives you a glimpse of this magnificent mountain course. The friendly attendant at the bag drop will direct you to the clubhouse, a clubhouse unlike anything I have seen in over twenty years.
Montcalm’s clubhouse is constructed of Douglas Fir harvested from British Columbia, and built by four skilled craftsmen from Norway to create a building that reflects the Nordic style. It has a cathedral style ceiling framed by timbers. The front of the clubhouse has an extensive wraparound porch with dozens of rocking chairs so you can admire the mountain’s landscape and rock away your troubles.
The practice range is a few steps away from the clubhouse. It faces Whaleback Mountain and when you hit your practice balls, they seem to float through the clean mountain air, reach their peak and fall softly into the valley below.
When you are ready to tee off, hop into the cart that is loaded with apps that will play your favorite music, GPS to provide exact yardage, and even golf tips from Greg Norman. Montcalm is a mountain course, and while New Hampshire is a favorite destination for hiking, walking the 18 holes at Montcalm would classify as a real trek for a marine drill sergeant. If you are going to walk you can rent a “Tempo Walk” an automatic bag carrier that will follow you up and down the course. The rental fee is the same as a regular cart.
Montcalm was created on 380 acres of rolling hills with dense forests surrounded by towering pines, graceful birch trees and gentle rivers. The course is situated between the Green Mountain National Forest and the White Mountain National Forest, and at an altitude of 1,000 feet, majestic mountain views abound. This is a golf course that conforms to the existing hills and valleys, with a pristine forest landscape. Everything from deer to a family of lynx reside in this peaceful land. Unlike some courses, there are no massive houses or stacks of condos spoiling the landscape of Montcalm.
As the architect of Montcalm said, “Our adherence to the Donald Ross philosophy of trying to maintain as much of the lands natural character as possible required us to find a creative solution to using the rolling hills to our advantage.”
The first hole‘s fairway is a gentle rise up to a generous green that can be reached in two good shots. After holing out, pause for a moment and take in the panoramic view of the Green Mountains, which include the peaks of Killington, Pico, Okemo and Ascutney.
I was ready to tee off on the 425-yard Par-4 third hole when Steve Rogers, head professional at Montcalm, pointed out a clearing in the woods about a pitching wedge away from the tee. Mommy deer were grazing with their babies. “This land is so protected that the animals are not afraid of golfers.” I hit my tee shot and Steve pointed out that the deer were not startled. “They looked up but were not frightened when you hit your tee shot.” Golfers and all kind of animals coexisting perfectly. What a special place Montcalm is.
The founder of the course was Andrew Sigler, a Dartmouth graduate and a wealthy businessman who had been a member at Hanover Country Club. In 2001 Hanover Country Club was closed for renovations. Sigler decided to create a special course in the mountains. He hired the architectural firm of Wogan and Sargent to design Montcalm.
Mr. Sigler was also a member of Augusta C.C. and wanting to bring a little bit of Georgia to New Hampshire, he had the design firm create a replica of the famous par-3 12th hole at Augusta. It is 161 yards from an elevated tee, a stone wall and a stream front the narrow green. The ultimate golf fantasy for any recreational golfer.
Each hole is unique. One of my favorites was the 488-yard par 5th hole, where a good drive can set you up to reach home in two. The fairway takes a sharp left turn to an elevated green. Every hole is a challenge but still very fair. And the condition rivals the finest private country club you can find.
Montcalm has a thriving golf school, with practice facilities including 40 full swing grass hitting stations, 20 PGA Tour approved Turf Hound hitting stations and a bent grass putting and chipping green, practice bunkers and a 5,700 square foot putting green. And with its exceptional facilities, Montcalm is the new home course to the Dartmouth College golf team.
Another reason to visit is the special “Stay and Play” package. The package gives access to Montcalm, rated as one of the best golf courses you can play by Golf Digest, and includes unlimited use of the course and its training facility. Also included are accommodations at the Hanover Inn or the Courtyard by Marriott Hanover/Lebanon, only 8 miles from Montcalm.
There are some great dining options in Hanover, New Hampshire. For breakfast, start your day at Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery at 30 Main St. They have been serving breakfast and lunch at the same location since 1947. Cozy booths and tin ceilings provide a nostalgic era when neighborhood diners were in every small town in America. Everything is delicious but their waffles must be the best in New Hampshire.
For your evening meal visit Molly’s Restaurant at 43 Main Street. Molly’s is full of Dartmouth students who contribute to the upbeat vibe. Perfect pizza, and a vast assortment of pub grub at reasonable prices. After dinner stroll through the village green and unique shops that make up this college town.
On the web: MontcalmGolfClub.com