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May 30—GOLF DIGEST came out with its rankings for the top golf courses in New Hampshire earlier this month based on the following criteria:


How well does the course present a variety of options involving risk and reward, and require a wide range of shots?


How challenging, while still being fair, is the course for a typical scratch golfer playing from the tees designated as back tees for everyday play (not from seldom-used championship tees)?


How varied is the physical layout of the course in terms of differing lengths (long, medium and short par 3s, 4s and 5s), configurations (straight holes, doglegs left and right), hazard placements, green shapes and green contours?


How individual is each hole when compared to all others on this course?


How well do the scenic values of the course add to the pleasure of a round?


How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways; how firm yet receptive were the greens; and how true were the roll of putts on the day Golf Digest scorers played the course?


How well does the course design exude ingenuity and uniqueness and possess characteristics that you would consider outstanding for its era?

Based on those factors, here’s what Golf Digest came up with for New Hampshire’s top five courses:

1. Baker Hill Golf Club, Newbury

2. Golf Club of New England, Stratham

3. Lake Winnipesaukee Golf Club, New Durham

4. Manchester Country Club, Bedford

5. Portsmouth Country Club, Greenland

For a comment on this list, who better to turn to than Concord’s Bob Mielcarz, a member at Concord Country Club whose golfing resume includes a record nine New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur Championships.

“Those are the courses that a lot of people would quickly list,” Mielcarz said. “To me, I wouldn’t want to play some of those courses on a regular basis. Of all the courses on that list of five, Baker is the one I like to play. If you could throw out two or three holes that I don’t like, it’s my favorite on the list.

“One of the things I like about a golf course that’s not on the list of variables or qualities, is walkability. I like to walk, and some of these courses you cannot walk. I’ve always felt that, especially in competition, I don’t want to ride. I want to be able to think between shots and if I hit a bad one, walk it off. I love the tempo of a walking round versus riding.

“I play at Concord. I’ve been there forever, and personally I wouldn’t give up my membership at Concord for any of those other golf courses. I just like the challenge of it. The walkability of it. Tournaments are held there. Nobody eats it up. The course is a pretty hard course to score on.”

And in addition to Concord CC, what New Hampshire courses does Mielcarz enjoy playing the most?

“I like Baker,” he said. “I like Portsmouth, although I don’t know if I’d want a steady diet of Portsmouth. It’s kind of wide open, and the wind blows there more than I’d like to see. I like Sunapee. I like Nashua. I even like Laconia, and that’s got some quirkiness to it. I enjoy playing Laconia. And Mount Washington. Put Mount Washington on that list. Condition-wise it’s not the greatest sometimes because of the short season and the amount of money they put into it being a resort facility, but that’s a nice golf course and you’re certainly not going to get any better news from a scenic standpoint.”

After more thought, Mielcarz added Bald Peak Colony Club in Moultonborough to his list of personal favorites as well.

“A lot of people may not like Bald Peak because it’s a short golf course and you have to work your way around it,” he said. “Longer hitters would hate that place, but Bald Peak is kind of unique and interesting — but that’s a course not too many people will get to play because it’s kind of a gated community.”

Milecarz made it very clear that he wouldn’t trade his membership at Concord CC for a membership at any other course in the state. He said the par-4 seventh hole is among his favorite holes to play on the Concord layout.

“I like good conditions, and I like relatively fast greens, and we certainly have that at Concord,” he said. “I think our seventh hole is a great par 4. I don’t always play it well and I don’t always make pars on it, but it’s one of our best par 4s because it’s a demanding tee shot, and then you’re hitting to an elevated green.

“There’s some pin placements on the green that can drive you crazy. From the standpoint of being a great hole, that’s a good one. Too many bogeys on it, but I still love the challenge of it.”

Who’s the best golfer New Hampshire has produced? Certainly you can make a strong case for Portsmouth’s Jane Blalock, who won 34 professional events (27 on the LPGA Tour) and played in 299 consecutive LPGA events without missing a cut. She was the LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 1969.

Blalock never won a major, but she finished third at the U.S. Open in 1971 and 1976, and second at the LPGA Championship in 1972 and 1980.


Rules question: True or False: In individual stroke play through the green, the ball farthest from the hole should be played first. Answer later in column.


Strafford resident Nicholas Grimbilas, who recently completed his sophomore season at Endicott College, was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference Men’s Golfer of the Year. The award was voted on by the conference’s eight head coaches.

Grimbilas, who graduated from Bishop Brady High School, was the medalist at the CCC Golf Championship. He posted a 9-over-par 149 over 36-holes with individual rounds of 76 and 73. He was also the low scorer at the Endicott Invitational on April 13 with an even-par 70. In an abbreviated season, he posted a 76 stroke average over four rounds.

Dover’s Jared Turgeon, who plays for Wentworth Institute of Technology, was selected to the All-CCC Second Team. In addition to golf, Turgeon played baseball and hockey at Dover High School.

Timothy Picard (Nashua), Brandon Gillis (Sky Meadow) and Sam Barton (Kingswood) are among those entered in the 57th Hornblower Memorial tournament, which will be played Friday and Saturday at Plymouth (Mass.) Country Club.


Hampton’s Leo Sack, 91, made a hole-in-one on the 130-yard 14th hole at Pease Golf Course on Wednesday. It was the third hole-in-one of his career. He also aced a par-3 hole in Florida and one in Texas.


Answer to rules question: True. After both players have started play of the hole, the ball farther from the hole is played first. If the balls are equidistant from the hole or their positions relative to the hole are not determinable, the ball to be played first should be decided by lot.

Source: USGA Rules of Golf.


June 1: NHWGA Spring Fling (Owl’s Nest)

June 3: NHGA Tournament Series (Lake Sunapee CC)

June 5-6: NHGA Players Invitational (Baker Hill GC)

June 9-10: NHWGA Women’s Team Championship (Beaver Meadow GC)

June 10: NHGA Four Ball Championship (Owl’s Nest)

June 13: NHGA Junior Spring Preview

June 15: NHGA Stroke Play Series (Pembroke Pines CC)

June 21: Junior Team Championship (TBA)

June 22: NHWGA President’s Cup (Pease GC)

June 23: NHGA State Am qualifier (Breakfast Hill GC)

June 25: NHGA Junior Tour Mini Series (Intervale CC)

June 25: NHGA State Am qualifier (Bretwood GC/South)

June 27: NHGA State Am qualifier (Beaver Meadow GC)

June 28: Hoodkroft Junior Open

June 28: NHGA State Am qualifier (Abenaqui CC)

June 28: NHGA State Am qualifier (Maplewood GC)

June 28-30: New England Women’s Amateur (Agawam Hunt/East Providence, R.I.)

June 29: NHGA State Am qualifier (Loudon CC)

June 30: Junior Tour (Owl’s Nest)

July 1: Mini Series (Rockingham CC)

July 6-7: Junior All-Star Championship (Mt. Washington Resort GC)

July 8: Junior Tour (Candia Woods)

July 12-17: NHGA Amateur Championship (North Conway CC)

July 19-21: Mike Ryan Memorial Championship (Derryfield CC)

July 20-22: New England Amateur (Great River Golf Club/Milford, Conn.)

July 22: Junior Tour (Keene CC)

July 26: Junior Tour (Breakfast Hill GC)

July 27: Junior Tour (Loudon CC)

Aug 2-4: Junior Championship (Pease GC)

Aug 15-17: New England Junior Amateur (Val Halla Golf Course/Cumberland, Maine)

Aug. 19: Junior Invitational (TBA)

Sept. 14-15: New England Senior Amateur (Manchester Country Club/Manchester, Vt.)