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Top 5 Tips

Recently, I astonished my coworker Katie when I admitted to never having played at the Tupper Lake Golf Club.   

We swiftly remedied that.

The Tupper Lake Golf Club is a scenic, tree-lined mountain course located in one of the most gorgeous parts of the Adirondacks. It’s astonishing that I’d never played there because I’ve sampled so many of the region’s other courses, and I’ve had plenty of time to do so, as it was originally built in 1932.

Katie driving on our discovery golf mission.
Katie driving on our discovery golf mission.

Having now played a round and discovered this gem with Katie the other day, my first impression was that the course is a study in contrasts. There’s the challenging, 18-hole championship course itself, half of which was designed by the famous Donald Ross, and then there’s the casual, friendly atmosphere in which you feel like a local.

I realize I might not be the only one in the world who hasn't had the pleasure of playing there, so to give those folks a head start, I’ve applied my newfound knowledge and compiled these top five tips to connect you to the Tupper Lake Golf Club.

Here they are!

1. Make an expert connection.  

My introduction to the course included access to the highest level of expertise — Tupper Lake’s head professional and course manager Evan LaBarge. He provided me with an overview of the course and a few details about it — which informed my other four tips.

In addition to running the place, he and fellow pro Chris Clark are available for lessons, too.

Head pro Evan LaBarge
Head pro Evan LaBarge

2.  Know your Tupper terminology.

At a typical 18-hole golf course, holes 1 through 9 are referred to as the “front 9,” and holes 10 through 18 are the “back 9.”

Not here.

The Tupper Lake course’s front 9 is actually called the “Top 9,” which makes sense, as the whole course is located on the side of Mount Morris, making the Top 9 higher in elevation. The Top 9 represent the newer half of the holes, which were updated just about a decade ago.

The “Bottom 9” were designed beginning in 1932 by Donald Ross, and as logic would have it, they are located nearer to the base of the mountain, and closer to Big Tupper Lake.

Putting on Tupper Lake's terrific greens.
Putting on Tupper Lake's terrific greens.

3. It’s all downhill.

Speaking of Big Tupper Lake, according to my expert sources, all of the greens (which are quite nice and were very fast the day I played) tend to roll toward the lake.

This aligns with what I learned about Donald Ross-designed courses on Wikipedia.org, which are known for crowned greens that “invited players to make run-up shots but had severe trouble at the back of the greens in ways such as fall-away slopes into collection areas.”

Regardless, it might be prudent to bring along a map from a bird’s-eye view as a reference for the lake’s direction.

Putting reference map
Putting reference map

4. Best bet for a hole in one.

Apparently, one has the best chance of hitting a hole-in-one on the signature hole, number 18 (at the end of the Bottom 9). This is for a few reasons, including the fact that it is a short par 3. As it ends at the club house, it’s also the most likely place to find witnesses to any winning shots.

This particular drive did not result in a hole-in-one.
This particular drive did not result in a hole-in-one.


5. Beat the crowds.

The course is always accessible for a tee time in spring and summer, and it’s actually quite popular for cross-country skiing in winter.

But the pro tip for planning a golf getaway is to play the course during the fall. The jaw-dropping views of the lake and Technicolor mountains during foliage season are not to be missed!

Spectacular Tupper Lake in fall
Spectacular Tupper Lake in fall

Community connection

As I indicated, the tree-lined course is meticulously maintained and a challenging layout for any level player, including experts like our pro Evan.

But while playing, Katie and I came across a variety of super-friendly folks. Some were finishing up that day's tournament, some readying for ladies' league, and some just playing a casual round like us, but they ALL gave us an enthusiastic welcoming hello.

So here's one final pro tip: Save some of your backswing energy for waving!

The Tupper Lake Golf Club welcome wave.
The Tupper Lake Golf Club welcome wave.

Stay and Play 

Just a couple more pro resources!

Plan your stay: Adirondack golf packages
Apres golf: Putts and Pints — and golf at par for our friends to the north!

This week in related ADK news:

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