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
by Roland Merullo, LINKS Magazine
All Courses & Travel
Resort profile The Balsams Grand Resort
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18