By: Danny and Alice Scott
In the Upper Valley of New Hampshire, the late great Andy Sigler sold his award-winning Montcalm Golf Club to Chuck and Kristen Currier three years ago. The couple wear many hats in this casual, stunning setting and treat all members and guests as family.
The day we played this semi-private club, the owners were in The Keys where Kristen is still a real estate agent. We were greeted by their chubby, loveable beagle Olivia, who kept watch and made everyone feel welcome.
Montcalm’s mile long entrance is a winding stone drive through the woods and builds excitement and anticipation. Flowers line the practice green with flags waving and the bag drop persons are ready to assist, there and at the driving range which has a jaw dropping view of the valley and mountains, Whaleback ski slope to the left.
Heavy July rains and into August made the wildflowers stand out but challenged the grounds keepers for mowing the rough. Some fairways were still soggy and spongey, so carts were restricted to path only. Enter the Club Car Tempo Walk Robo-Caddie. Rather than park on the path and walk to your ball, you may simply walk the course from tee to each shot, with the little cart following behind you, carrying your clubs, beverage and even displaying GPS. It starts and stops on command with a remote toggle switch you hang on your pocket, waist band or belt. We had to try one, so Brennan, the assistant pro gave quick instructions and off we went, one in a regular cart and both of us talking to our robo-caddie which we named Timmy Tempo. The only thing it lacks is the ability to say, “Good shot, Alice.”
Number one on Montcalm initiates golfers to the ascending aspect of the course followed by number two’s descent. The terrific routing continues to ascend and descend dramatically, through the woods, unencumbered by any buildings other than the refreshment shack which is fully loaded with food and beverage options and conveniently centralized where a few holes converge. Another centralized construction is a lovely gazebo perched on the high hill where Sound of Music panoramic vistas might make you want to dance around it and sing, “I am 16 going on 17.”
Number 10 is a beauty looking down to a pond far below, but it is a beast to hit a level landing area for an approach to the green which is tucked next to a tree line. Trees were already changing colors the first week of August, foretelling the spectacular fall scene that must follow. Number 11 is a special par 5 requiring a carry over a marshy gorge to the green on hopefully or luckily your third shot to a victorious par. Big hitters here and on doglegs around the course are either rewarded or punished for trying to meet the designer George Sargent’s temptations. Fairways are generously wide on most holes as are the kind positions of forward tees. All the bent grass greens are smooth and pure.
The Club Car Tempo Walk on this mountain course turned out to be the best all-around workout, a walk unspoiled that is so popular with members that they have a whole fleet available. Walking provides the opportunity to see more of the beauty of the course, to commune with the monarchs and fully appreciate the many wild blooms, stone walls and wooden bridges. For those not ready to traverse the entire mountainous course by foot, nine holes with Tempo and nine with a regular golf cart is a fine option. Any way you play, it is nice to stay calm and experience the “full Monty” of Montcalm Golf Club, home to the Dartmouth Big Green men’s and women’s golf teams.
The pro shop at Montcalm displays stylish apparel and merchandise with locker rooms upstairs for members and fittings. Snack options are also robust with fresh sandwiches, burgers, salads, and a daily special. For our visit, it was a lobster roll and brisket sandwich for surf and turf, with Olivia resting happily at our feet. Olivia is a fan of the Dartmouth Big Green team that practices here, and they love her as well as the peaceful course, facilities, and food.
Surf and Turf options continued at Pine Restaurant in the Hanover Inn across from the Dartmouth campus with steak and halibut. The Jonah crab cake to start, was one of the most incredible we ever tasted and the blueberry panna cotta, a perfect finish.
The corner of the Hanover Inn is busy, so the valets are quick to attend your car and open the door to the elegant lobby where registration agents are welcoming and efficient. Our sweet suite on the top floor posed a view of the Baker Hall clock tower looming on one side and the Wilson Hall tower on the other. 18 and early 1900s architecture is impressive and inspiring for students and tourists alike. You don’t have to be a Dartmouth alum to stay at the Hanover Inn, but you might wish you were when touring the historic campus.
The best part of waking up at the Hanover Inn is having a cup of coffee in the room and knowing you can return to the Pine Restaurant for breakfast, again with a wide selection of menu items. Avocado toast delivers a surprising complexity of flavors to start the day and is a fitting complement to the sweetness of peach French toast with New Hampshire maple syrup.
Stay and Play packages for Montcalm Golf Club are available with the Hanover Inn or Courtyard by Marriott Hanover. We can attest to the quality experience and rest the Hanover Inn offers. Check it out, experience it once or consider real estate options and become a member in one of several affordable categories. Montcalm is situated in the Upper Valley section of the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region, between the Green Mountain National Forest and the White Mountain National Forest. It exudes natural beauty to enjoy all four seasons of outdoor sports, golf being the ultimate at Montcalm Golf Club. Visit www.montcalmgolfclub.com.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?