By Roland Merullo
Dixville Notch, N.H. ' A lot of golf courses lay claim to the name Donald Ross, but in few of these places do you feel Ross presence as strongly as at New Hampshires Panorama Golf Course, part of an elegant Dixville Notch resort called the Balsams. This palpable sense of Ross genius is probably due to three factors: He personally supervised the work here, something true of only a small percentage of the courses that bear his name; his original 18 has not been tweaked for the modern world with changes to make the greens and bunkers more tolerable for resort guests; no houses have been built in sight of these fairways.
With its square, grassy-faced bunkers, devilish putting surfaces, optical tricks, and offset tee markers, Panorama stands as a memorial to its creator at every turn, offering generous landing areas that give way to difficult approach shots, that lead to short-game challenges of such marvelous intricacy that make Panorama one of the most difficult in New Hampshire.
The 387-yard 12th hole is a perfect example of Ross gift. It is a downhill tee shot to a bowl of a landing area with water right and woods left. You then face a sharply uphill approach over a crescent bunker placed so that the half-visible flag seems much closer than it actually is. The right side of the green is preferable here, but watch out for a bunker and a steep drop-off. Most players will hit their approach shots left to be safe, but that means putting toward a slope so deceptively severe that a three-putt from 15 feet is a 70'30 proposition. Hole by hole, the observant player here will get lessons in classic golf design.
The Balsams itself, 10 minutes down the road, has the single disadvantage of being far from civilization'a pretty three-hour drive from the nearest big airport in Manchester. That negative is more than offset by the striking scenery of cliffsides and forested hills, a placid pond just out the front door, and a stately, 140-year-old, 200-room full-service hotel with heated outdoor pool, an executive golf course, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding, a small spa, billiard room, a movie theater, tennis courts, a full kids program, moose-viewing safaris and clothing shops.
Breakfast and lunch buffets feature long tables brimming with every imaginable hot and cold dish, from made-to-order omelets to fresh seafood, from Angus beef to vegetarian delights. The six-entree-per-night gourmet dinner menu includes offerings like lobster, prime rib, line-caught swordfish, fresh trout, all preceded by a daily selection of soups, salads and appetizers and followed by 20 choices of dessert.
For those wanting to experience a different side of the culinary experience, the Balsams offers cooking classes, culminating in a four-course luncheon, as well as an apprentice training program for aspiring chefs.
The resort has a classy country feel'port on the veranda and jackets at dinner, alongside cool mountain air and nice little touches like framed inspirational quotes set up in the hallways once walked by Teddy Roosevelt and Frank Sinatra. You can even visit the Ballot Room. Since 1960 the room has been the site of the first returns in presidential elections because the entire voting populace of Dixville Notch (26 in 2004) shows up at midnight to cast their ballots.
But its the golf that really makes the trip worthwhile. Even those who prefer to play on modern courses fashioned by the blade of a bulldozer will be impressed by the variety of golf shots, awed by the 40-mile mountain views and spectacular September foliage. After a round on a windy day at Panorama, you come away with a rare exhilaration, feeling like you have just held a private conversation with one of the games greatest designers.
Location: Dixville Notch, N.H.
Accommodations: 203 rooms and suites
Golf: Panorama Golf Course, par 72, 6,804 yards; Coashukee, par 32, 1,917 yards
Amenities/activities: Spa, tennis, hiking, fishing, nature programs, theater, mountain biking, game room, kids Camp Wind Whistle, watersports on Lake Gloriette
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Resort Profile The Balsams Grand Resort - COPIED
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.