There's nothing quite like golfing on the side of a mountain, and that's exactly the kind of experience the Tupper Lake Golf Course provides. Located on Mount Morris, the golf course's jaw-dropping topography makes for some interesting fairway features and expansive views that will distract even the most dedicated golfers. But much like its namesake town, Tupper Lake Golf Course is friendly and welcoming to visitors. In fact, if you're new to the game or just looking to sharpen your skills, staff members like Director of Golf Evan LaBarge will be happy to give you a lesson. We wanted to learn more about what makes this golf course so great, so we reached out to Evan to get the inside scoop. Here's what he had to say!
Q&A with Evan LaBarge
1. What do you do at the Tupper Lake Golf Course (TLGC)? What is your official title?
My title is Director of Golf and I oversee the facility on both Grounds Operations and Golf Operations.
2. How long have you been with TLGC?
I have been with TLGC for four years.
3. When did you start golfing?
I started golfing when I was 7 years old — 23 years ago! I first learned how to play golf right handed for a couple years, and then I realized lefty just felt much better for me and I have stuck with it ever since. I can still get the ball around the course opposite hand though!
4. What do you love about golf?
Golf is a sport that can be played many different ways. Team events, solo events, competitively, etc. It is never the same. You always have to adapt to course conditions and weather, which in a way ties in to day-to-day experiences. Golf is a great way to test your patience and cope, and I fully believe it's more than just a game... it's a lesson.
5. Please tell me a little bit about why TLGC is a great place for someone who is new to golf?
The moment you walk through the door, the staff is very welcoming. We pick up right away if someone is a beginner or if they have experience. We offer free rental clubs for those who don't have any. We encourage beginners to come out and try it because we know they will enjoy themselves! Let's be honest, golf needs it! When it comes to the golf course, it fits everyone's game. Generous fairways, four sets of tees making the yardages very accessible, and plenty of risk-reward holes! Who wouldn't want to play a "Donald Ross design"!?
6. What is it like to take a golf lesson at TLGC?
A golf lesson here at TLGC is very laid back. We start from the bottom and work our way up with the basic fundamentals of golf: grip, posture, ball position, and alignment. I typically like to keep the lessons to 30 minutes because there is so much information within the golf swing, I don't want to frustrate the golfer. Once the lesson is complete, they will have two things to work on and focus on for when they practice!
7. Please tell me a little bit about why TLGC is a great place for an avid golfer?
As I mentioned before, we offer four sets of tees, which allows the golfer to test their skill level from tee to green. We have a great mix of short holes that you can capitalize on and some longer holes that can be reached in two but requires a couple of good golf swings! The greens are very tricky but I'll let you in on a little secret: You have to know where the lake is!
8. How does TLGC stand out from other golf courses in the Adirondacks?
TLGC is the perfect setup for your low handicappers and your high handicappers, which means anyone can play it! We have phenomenal views throughout the course, and we have a restaurant, driving range, and putting green on site. It's a great place to work on every part of your game!
9. What is your favorite thing about TLGC?
We have some of the greatest members a course could ask for. The members know how tough the golf business is, and when we have walk-ins the members always say they are first priority. It makes everyone feel welcomed and leave with a great experience.
10. What is your favorite time of year at TLGC and why?
Fall is by far my favorite time of the year at TLGC for a few reasons. The tree lined fairways are in full foliage and pictures don't do them justice. You have to see it for yourself! The work crew does a great job with keeping the tees, greens, and fairways cleaned off while the leaves fall so the course is in great shape until the snow flies.
11. What is the most challenging hole at TLGC and why?
I would have to say #5 is one of the hardest holes on the course. It is a long par 3 with an elevated green that is very difficult to hit and hold, which tests your short game to be able to make par. The scorecard says #16 is the hardest handicap hole, which is an average length par 4 with an elevated green that sits at an angle making the green seem skinny. A par on either of these is a great score.
12. What do you think is the most rewarding hole at TLGC and why?
#18 is by far my favorite hole at TLGC. It's a par 3 that comes right back toward the clubhouse, where everyone gathers behind the green to hoot and holler at all of the tee shots. It has a bowl green that makes it very interesting at getting it close to the hole!
13. What is your fondest memory at TLGC?
We host a Member Tournament called "The Tupper Cup", which is a Ryder Cup style tournament. Myself and the Assistant Golf Pro, Kris Clark, were captains of each of our teams. My team was leading by four points but there was still one group remaining. They finished on #18 and took enough points to tie it up! So, Kris and myself went to the 18th tee for a playoff. While all of the members watched, we each hit our tee shots and I stuck it in close enough to make birdie and secure the win for the first annual Tupper Cup! It was just a lot of fun with it coming down to the wire the way it did. The camaraderie was nothing like you've seen.
Tupper Lake Golf Course isn't far from town, making it easy to plan a weekend for the whole family. Hike one of the family friendly Tupper Triads, check out The Wild Center, build a sandcastle at Little Wolf Beach, and go stargazing at the Adirondack Sky Center & Observatory.
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