Andy Southmayd and I were able to get out for two rounds of golf while we and our families were in Vermont.
North Country Golf Club
Early in the week, we headed across the islands at the top of Lake Champlain to Rouse'’s Point, New York, for 18 holes at the North Country Golf Club. We've played here each of the last several summers. We meet Andy's old friend and former Milton neighbor Rich, who vacations about the same time each year, just a bit farther south on Lake Champlain.
The North Country Golf Club is close to the Canadian border and seems to have members from both sides. One of my favorite hats is a North Country cap I bought a few years ago. It has crossed US and Canadian flags. Often, out on the course, we meet up with folks whose cursing (it is golf, after all) is in French.
About a week before we played, the club had hosted the Labatt's Invitational. In chatting with the bartender after our round, we heard that the Labatt's tournament, and for that matter, the Bud Light Tournament, always fill up quite quickly. I think we were told that the Labatt's featured 200 golfers and 400 cases of beer. Or something like that.
I had a few pars and was hitting some shots just they way they are meant to be hit. But I was still having a few "blow-up" holes. There was rain in the area, and our round wasn't completely dry, but we got in all 18 holes.
Alburg Golf Links
Late in the week, we set up a foursome from among Tyler Place guests and planned to play Bakersfield Country Club, a mountainside course in far northern Vermont that I love. But Bakersfield was going to have a tournament that day, so we made a visit instead to Alburg Golf Links, on one of the Champlain Islands.
Andy and I had played a Tyler Place Golf Scramble at Alburg five or six years back. It has since changed hands and I think has improved. We were joined on this occasion by Tim, with whom we'd played before, and Bob, a new friend on his first visit to the Tyler Place.
It was raining determinedly as we left Highgate Springs that morning; it often rains when I want to play golf in Vermont. I don't think any of us were convinced that we'd get many holes in, but as we came around a bend in the road and to the entrance to the course, the skies brightened and the rains stopped. We were able to play all 18.
Alburg looks like a wide-open course; it has sweeping views of Lake Champlain and a variety of elevations. It is a links-style course in some places and a mountain-meadow style in others. All holes feature an impenetrable rough. There is water, but most balls are lost in 10-inch grass.
I started out well, with good drives and a decent short game on the first few holes. I was going along swimmingly until Andy helpfully pointed out how often the universe acts to humble you when you start out a round so well. Sure enough, the third hole was a disastrous blow-up. After at, I had some good holes and some awful holes.
It was all quite fun, though a few holes on the back nine featured an astonishing number of biting flies.
I like playing in different areas, and I've now had my Lake Champlain golf fix for the year.