Gearing up for Golf in the Adirondacks

The sun is out, the snow is melting and in most places the snow has long since retreated. As the season continues to shift towards green, I hear a slight rustle in my closet… feeling forgotten and stacked my golf shoes have been waiting patiently for me to rescue them from the darkness. They long to feel at home once again on the tee box, lost in a gaze over stretching mountain horizons. I allow myself a deep breath, in and out, then pace myself as I exhale swinging all the way through, connecting, pushing straight to the green. Together my shoes and I have a kick in our step as we follow the flight path to our second shot. Ahh! Then I wake up! 

It was just a dream, especially if I connected on the first shot, but could be true very soon. The Adirondack golf season is quickly approaching and it’s time to start thinking about where, when and how… do I get my golf swing back.  I’ll give you a few tips on things to do if it’s still not time to head outside and start swinging, but first let’s see where you can go. 

The Where

The Adirondack High Peaks region boasts 126 holes of golf.  The Lake Placid Club has long stretching tree-lined fairways on the mountain course and a second 18 holes in Scottish Links style with great bunker placement. The clover-shaped greens at the Whiteface Club are surely not to be missed as it is one of our country’s oldest courses. This year the Lake Placid Club, the Whiteface Club and the Saranac Inn  Golf and Country Club are participating in the “Tee It Forward” movement. This initiative strives to make golf more enjoyable by placing more tees that tailor to a wider range of abilities. 

Just outside Lake Placid you can find three more courses, and in addition to the Links course at the Lake Placid Club, the course at the Saranac Inn Golf and Country Club and the course at Craig Wood Golf Course were designed by renowned Scottish architect Seymour Dunn.  Sitting directly in-between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake we also have a 9 hole course and driving range, Saranac Lake Golf Club in Ray Brook.  The Adirondack course designers have used creativity to work the dynamic landscapes into course layout. The Adirondacks offer variable terrain with dramatic elevation changes and scenic vistas around every corner that you don’t get in lower elevations. To me the view of a distant horizon puts me in a different mind space allowing me more time to focus and hit shots that often straddle ravines, loft over water hazards, and climb steep rimmed bunkers. Landing on the green is still a possibility from a tee or two but when you get there some greens are fast and are home to breaking putts that seem to stop your heart as they drop or don’t drop.

Now you tell me if you think the putt below went in or not?  It’s a night photograph I took with a long exposure so you can see the shadow of the ball as it approaches the hole.

Lake Placid Club's Head PGA Professional Jim Beauregard

The When  

Whiteface Club & Resort Golf Course
373 Whiteface Inn Ln, Lake Placid, NY 12946 - (518)  523-2551
Opening - Saturday, May 4th (weather permitting)
Beval Horse Show Tournament - Monday, June 25th 12:30
Shotgun Annual One Club Plus Putter Golf Tournament
Friday, July 6th  J.Peter Martin Whiteface Open Golf Tournament
Friday-Sunday, July 13 – 15, 2012 - Junior Golf Tournaments
Wednesday, August 15th 9 Holes Noon - The Adirondack Senior Open, part of the Sunbelt Senior Tour, returns to the Whiteface Club Aug.. 26-29.

Whiteface Club

Lake Placid Club and Resort
101 Olympic Dr, Lake Placid, NY 12946   -  (518) 523-2556
United Way Olympian Classic - June
NYSEF’s Golf fundraiser June 8th
Guy Conklin Shootout - Memorial Day
The Flaming Leaves Tournament  third weekend in September
Can-Am Team Challenge Cup -June 12-15, 2014

Saranac Inn Golf and Country Club 
125 County Route 46 Saranac Lake, NY 12983   -  (518) 891-1402

Craigwood Golf Club  
141 Country Club Road Lake Placid, NY 12946  -  (518) - 523-9811
Mason's Tournament - May 17, 2014
Jon Fisher Memorial Tournament - May 31, 2014
Greenshow Open - June 14, 2014

Saranac Lake Golf Club
Ray Brook, NY (518) 891-2675

Saranac Lake Golf Club 

The How

So it’s been a few months since you swung a club and those first couple rounds will not be pretty if you fail to get loosened up.  Muscle tension in the shoulders and torso are key factors that ruin a fluid swing and it takes time to get your muscle memory motor skills back and thinking for themselves.  The longer you go without a swinging club the more you lose the feel of the ball, muscle flexibility, strength and of course timing. One way to reconnect with your club indoors during the off season is to get out your wedge and hit ping pong balls around the house. This will help with the feel of getting a ball to spin.  Some pre-season activity will put you at the tee with more time to think where you want the ball to go rather than thinking how you’re going to get it there.  

The below three stretches were quoted from Dunham Sports:

  1. Head rolls – 30-60 seconds: Roll your ear gently to one side, toward your shoulder. Tilt your head back, then forth, and repeat on the other side. This relaxes the tension in the neck, and encourages shoulder flexibility.
  2. Shoulder stretching – 2-3 minutes: Raise your right arm directly in front of you, then bring it to the left, wrapping your left elbow around your right arm and using it to gently bring your right arm closer to your chest. You will feel the stretch in your outer right shoulder. Reverse this process for the left side. This allows for much greater range of motion and smoother rotation in your golf swing, which translates into more consistent shot making.
  3. Side stretching – 1-2 minutes: Raise your right arm directly above your head with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean your shoulders to the left and sway your right hip slightly out. You will feel a stretch along the right side of your body from your finger tips to toes. Reverse this process for the left side of your body. This stretch targets the outside of your arms, outer hips, and most importantly, your abdomen, which will further enhance your rotational stability and flexibility.

Stretching can sometimes be quite boring and no fun, if this is true for you grab a basketball or other weighted object and gently swing it from hip to hip. This will stretch your back muscles and strengthen your core to better support your spine as you will soon be over torqueing on the big swing causing that inevitable back pain. Heaven forbid you pull a muscle swinging early in the season it could put you out for a while or cost you a lot at the beverage cart. 

Be sure while planning your golf vacation to Lake Placid you check out our hotel specials for extra savings and possible extras on the course. Heading into the golf season with a physical and mental head start could give you that edge to a productive season, but if you’re not worried about beating last year’s round, just buy some new flashy golf clothes and at least look good when you hit the course. I think I would get all-white pants and shirt with a red circle on the chest and back so people can see me from a distance. Happy Spring Swinging!