Granliden on Sunapee - Golf Course
Golf was first played at Granliden in the late 1800's. Summer boarders of the Covell sisters would play a few informal holes around the boarding house which was located in the area of the current first tee and ninth green. In 1899 Alexander Findlay, considered by many to be the father of golf in America, was hired to design a nine hole course which was constructed on the hill to the northwest of the hotel. Alex Findlay also designed the course for Soo Nipi Park, a competing summer hotel located on the eastern shore of Lake Sunapee. Findlay also designed the Portsmouth Country Club which later became the Pease Air Force Base course, The Twin Mountain Course in northern New Hampshire, as well as fifteen other courses in New Hampshire from 1897 to 1901. From Florida in the south to Montana in the north, in the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th, Alex Findlay was a busy golfer and golf course architect.
In 1924 The Granliden Hotel contracted with Walter Travis to redesign the original course layout. The course covered the same terrain but crossing holes were eliminated and many holes were lengthened and the greens took on their present shape and sizes. Travis, known as the “Old Man” Started his career in golf later in life but was still a successful golfer and architect having built such renown courses as Westchester Country Club in Rye, NY, Cape Arundel in Kennebunkport, ME, Round Hill Club in Greenwich, CT and Jekyll Island Golf Course in Georgia.
The current layout at Granliden was restored to close to the original Travis layout as possible. Over time greens had become smaller and rounder as they conformed to the shape and size that a sprinkler would cover. The course went through some periods of neglect during the late 1950's and early 1960's after the hotel was closed.
In the mid 1950s the hotel was closed and the property was used as a retreat for the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit Church. During this period, the church maintained the course for play but on a minimal basis. In 1967 the course and remaining property was sold to Eli Sherman who developed the existing residential resort community with the lake and golf course as two of the leading amenities. Improvements to the golf course over the years have included restoring the size and shape of greens, updating irrigation to provide efficient use of water, increasing the size of tees to accommodate the pressure from increased play, and enhanced cultural practices to provide playing conditions consistent with current expectations. The course is still an excellent example of an executive 9 hole layout. Short enough for a quick 9 hole outing but challenging enough to try the skills of all.