My 15-year-old could provide the shot-by-shot account of his best-ever (at the time) round ever -- 88 reasons he loves Belgrade Lakes -- but, that would be like listening to a bowler go frame by frame through his league set, so I’ll move on. I’ll spare you the glory details, but make the point that it IS possible to record your best-ever round anywhere, there at Belgrade Lakes. Seriously, if a child can do it... (I’m just saying).
Golf Digest considers Belgrade Lakes Maine’s best course. Presumably based on more than just my son’s opinion. It was, in fact, the only public course in all of New England recognized by their 2017-18 Top 100 rankings. And unquestionably deserves its place. The words “roller coaster ride” are routinely exaggerated in golf articles, so I won’t go there, but I will say that Six Flags should send their architects to Clive Clark (and Belgrade Lakes) for design ideas.
A significant difference between Belgrade Lakes and most manmade twisters is the launching point. You start at the top here. The high point of the entire ride is at the beginning. There are so many innuendo-laced ways I could write this, but I’ll just go with “immediate ecstasy.” Oh, don’t worry, there are plenty more “peaks” scattered throughout the round, but your socks are knocked off before you even take your seat in the (most luxurious public golf) cart. You pull up to a clubhouse perched dramatically high above the course, forests and water, and take a camera-in-hand stroll around the summit absorbing the stunning panorama.
And then you take to the first tee and hit a drive that you don’t think will ever land -- way, way, way out into a steeply sloped and wide-open fairway. (Seriously, “worm burners” get at least 200 feet off the ground on No. 1.) Man, that ball flight with that panorama is a truly beautiful sight. It’s one instance your 7-iron could surpass Tiger’s average with that club. You’ll feel like you could break 70 at that point. But you won’t.
Belgrade Lakes is a special round, with as many as eight “signature” quality holes on the front nine alone. Yes, it’s a “bring a lot of balls” kind of course, and you’ll probably go through all of them, but it’s also a “take a lot of pictures” and “make a lot of memories” kind of course. It is THE Maine event—the pinnacle play. No question.