The Sagamore Resort

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Discover The Sagamore Golf Course, which was originally designed by the renowned Donald Ross at the height of the Roaring Twenties.

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The Sagamore Resort’s golf heritage dates back to 1928.


The Sagamore Resort – Golf

Get introduced to The Sagamore Resort’s historic golf course, which was originally designed by Donald Ross at the height of the Roaring Twenties.


The fairways at The Sagamore Resort’s championship golf course are lush, narrow, and lined with beautiful hardwood. Deep bunkers surround the undulating greens, creating an iconic landscape that has enchanted visiting golfers for generations. The site was originally designed by Donald Ross, a Scottish immigrant and golf course architect responsible for creating many legendary destinations. An apprentice of Old Tom Morris, Ross had trained at St. Andrews in the 1890s before finally immigrating to the United States. He eventually built dozens of iconic fairways throughout the country, including Aronimink Golf Club, Seminole Golf Club, Oak Hill Country Club, and the celebrated Pinehurst No. 2. Ross himself built The Sagamore Resort’s golf course in 1928, although the business would not acquire the venue until a year later. (Contemporary players today should look up when they reach the first hole; Ross designed it with the view in mind.) The resort had specifically bought the course at a discounted rate due to the harsh economic effects created by the Great Depression. In fact, most of the money used to obtain Ross’ course came from a wealthy entrepreneur who had regularly vacationed at The Sagamore Resort. Renamed as the “Sagamore Golf Course,” Ross’ beautiful series of fairways attracted countless guests from major metropolises like New York City and Boston. All who came found the 18-hole, par-70 course to be absolutely astounding. Since then, the Sagamore Golf Course has continued to be one of upstate New York’s most celebrated venues for golfers. While the hotel is on an exclusive island on Lake George, the golf course is located directly across the water on the mainland. The area gives guests access to a championship course with stunning scenes of the lake and surrounding Adirondack mountains. Shuttle service is provided between the golf course and the resort.

  • About the Location +

    The Sagamore Resort resides within the community of Bolton Landing—a hamlet located within the greater Town of Bolton. Bolton itself is a small bucolic town of just a few thousand people that rests on the shoreline of Lake George in New York’s famed Adirondacks. Bolton was originally founded at a time when Lake George sat at the frontier of New York’s expanding borders in the years immediately following the American Revolutionary War. Before the conflict, the area had long been occupied by the Mohawk of the Iroquois Confederacy. Further to the north were the French colonials of New France, whose bastion of power was situated across the St. Lawrence River in Québec City. In fact, some of the first Europeans to explore the region were French, as the great Samuel de Champlain investigated the region in 1609. Several decades later, a French-Canadian Jesuit missionary named Isaac Jogues returned to the area and gave the lake its first name—Lac du Saint-Sacrament. Once the Netherlands officially lost control over the lower regions of New York after the Second Anglo-Dutch War of the 1660s, English—and later “British” settlers following the Union between the crowns of England and Scotland in 1707—began pushing north into the Adirondacks. This tensions finally reached a boiling point in the 1750s, when France and the United Kingdom fought for control over the region during the Seven Years’ War.

    The conflict in the colonies became known as the French and Indian War and featured savage fighting among the French and the British, as well as their respective colonial and native allies. The war itself eventually arrived to the Lac du Saint-Sacrament in September of 1755, when an army of colonial British Americans and Mohawk Indians fought and defeated the French. Led by Sir William Johnson, the British army seized the entire area and renamed it “Lake George” after King George II. They even commemorated the fight as the “Battle of Lake George.” In the days following the battle, Johnson constructed his soldiers to erect Fort William Henry at the southern end of the lake. The fort itself was christened in honor for the king’s grandson, Prince William Henry, who was a younger brother of the future King George III. But the French did not abandon the region quietly, constructing a massive fortification called Fort Carillon at the opposite end of the lake. The French reinforced the citadel’s garrison with a new army of French soldiers under the command of Louis-Joseph de Montcalm. In 1757, Montcalm besieged Fort William Henry and set it ablaze when the British finally surrendered. As the British retreated to Fort Edward further south along the Hudson River, Native Americans allied to France ambushed the column. The assault would forever be known as “The Massacre at Fort William Henry.” An irregular force of colonial militia led by Robert Rogers attempted to capture the fort back but failed when it arrived in the region a year later.

    France ultimately lost the Seven Years War, which gave nearly all of its colonial possessions in Canada to the United Kingdom. It also surrendered all of its claims to land along the border of British America. Despite the removal of the French threat from North America, the British still saw fit to reinforce its less densely populated territories in the continent. Lake George in particular served the strategically important role of protecting the main line of communication between the major settlements of Montréal and New York City. The British subsequently renovated the two forts at either end of Lake George, filling them with new garrisons. The importance of the lake became all the more apparent when the Thirteen Colonies rebelled against the British Crown in the 1770s. Among the first acts by American patriots during the conflict was the capture the arsenal at Fort Carillon, which had recently been renamed as Fort Ticonderoga. In 1775, a motley crew of frontiersmen known as the Green Mountain Boys overwhelmed the citadel’s outnumbered regiment of soldiers. Led by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen, the American soldiers subsequently captured the fort’s cannons and transported them to help bolster the Continental Army outside of Boston. The fort also served as the staging ground for the ill-fated American invasion of Canada that occurred several months later. Nevertheless, the British briefly regained Fort Ticonderoga during General John Burgoyne’s assault up the Hudson River in 1777, although the Americans recaptured it a final time following the former’s defeat at the Battle of Saratoga.

    Once peace arrived in the newly formed United States at the end of the 1700s, small towns like Bolton began appearing throughout the Adirondacks. But unlike much of New York during the subsequent century, the mountain chain remained largely pastoral. Even in the 1790s, Americans recognized the uniqueness of the area’s inherent beauty—especially that of Lake George. Future U.S. President Thomas Jefferson encapsulated this perception brilliantly in a letter he penned to his daughter, in which he stated: “Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour of mountains into a basin…finely interspersed with islands, its water limpid as crystal, and the mount sides covered with rich groves down to the water-edge.” Another U.S. President would find the area similarly enchanting more than a hundred years later—Theodore Roosevelt. Long an avid outdoor enthusiast, Roosevelt often traveled south from his home in Long Island to visit Lake George. In fact, he was hiking nearby Mount Marcy when word reached him of President William B. McKinley’s death (Roosevelt was then serving as the latter’s Vice President). By this point, many Americans began constructing spectacular summer homes all along the shoreline of Lake George, making it one of the most exclusive places to stay in the United States. Several well-known artists began establishing several art colonies, too, allured by the lake’s magnificent landscape. Among the those who ventured north to draw inspiration from the region’s magical scenery were the likes of Martin Johnson Heade, John F. Kensett, Frank Vincent DuMond, E. Charlton Fortune, and George O’Keefe. Yet, Lake George had already been immortalized in other forms of art, the most notable of which was James Francis Cooper’s classic novel, The Last of the Mohicans. Originally published in 1826, it has undergone several reprints ever since, and has even featured a movie adaptation.

  • About the Architect +

    Donald Ross: Few other golf course designers have had such an impact on the sport of golf than the legendary architect Donald Ross. Born in Dornoch, Scotland, Ross’ legendary career began when he apprenticed under Old Tom Morris at historic St. Andrews during the late 1890s. He harnessed several important skills from Morris that ranged from club maintenance to landscaping. Ross then used his education to parlay a job at the Royal Dornoch Golf Club near his childhood home. Unfortunately for Ross, the pay was abysmal. With the encouragement of Scottish expat named Robert W. Willson, Ross decided to try to find more rewarding work at one of the many new professional golf facilities that had started opening across the United States. Willson subsequently financed Ross’ trip across the Atlantic in 1899, who helped him settle down just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Ross accepted a job as the resident golf pro at the Oakley Country Club, where he left an immediate impression upon its members. Word soon spread of his talents, which eventually attracted the attention of prominent businessperson James Walker Tufts. In the midst of developing the resort town “Pinehurst” within the North Carolina sandhills, Tufts decided to hire Ross to head the new settlement’s golf club. Ross headed south that winter, although not without some cajoling from friends who doubted the entire endeavor.

    Nevertheless, Ross went to work in 1901, serving as the primary golf instructor for a single, 18-hole course created a few years prior by Dr. Leroy Culver and John Dunn Tucker. Ross decided to completely renovate its fairways after conferring with Tufts, thus jumpstarting the work on the future Pinehurst No(s). 1 – 4 over the next two decades. Over time, they quickly became the treasures that Tufts had originally envisioned. Their success further catapulted Ross’ reputation throughout the United States, inspiring many other destinations to hire him to design their respective courses. In all, Ross would create (and redesign) over 400 unique golf courses across the country, with some of his most notable being at the Seminole Golf Club, Oak Hill Country Club, and the Aronimink Golf Club. Ross was also commissioned to create the brilliant golf course at The Sagamore Resort in 1928. He subsequently transformed the layout into a stunning system of 18 different holes that blended in seamlessly into the surrounding countryside. Ross continued to work well into his seniority, often returning to Pinehurst to modify his first four professionally made courses. When he finally died in 1948, he had managed to leave a legacy that few others in the golfing world have come close to matching ever since. In fact, Ross’ legacy is still so great today that the World Golf Hall of Fame even inducted him posthumously several decades later in 1979. 

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