The Sagamore: Golf's Adirondack Retreat Picture Scotsman Donald Ross, the great tournament player and course architect, who, it's been said, turned golf course design from an engineering job into an art form, musing about his next design challenge, circa 1928, at the Sagamore Hotel in Upstate New York. His task? To create a course befitting American royalty: those masters of the universe who had made their fortunes in the early 1900s and would traipse up to this resort area on Lake George from New York City each summer.

Some 70 years later, The Sagamore (of the five grand hotels built in that era, the only one that remains) and its golf course, which were once closed but completely and lovingly restored in the 1980s, offer spectacular recreation and much more to satisfy 1990s high achievers.

An hour's drive north of Albany, The Sagamore rests on Bolton Landing, a private 70-acre island in Lake George. The resort offers 17,000 square feet of meeting space and 350 guest accommodations, including 100 newly renovated rooms in the main hotel and lakeside suites with wood-burning stoves.

News from The Sagamore: * Wapanac Castle, a historic lakeside private home is available for groups.

* The full-service European spa will be expanded in late 1999/2000. --Betsy Bair

The Publisher's Cup Plays Whistler Whistler, British Columbia, has long been one of North America's best ski destinations. For me, it's also become synonymous with great golf.

Recently I traveled to Whistler with a group of publishers from golfing magazines worldwide to compete in the Publisher's Cup and Conference tournament. We stayed at the gorgeous Chateau Whistler Resort (a Canadian Pacific Hotel). Nestled at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, it has 558 guest rooms, a 4,200-square-foot spa, and meeting space for up to 1,200 people.

The golf knocked my socks off. We played two rounds at the Chateau Whistler Golf Club, where Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed what is arguably his best work: a 6,635-yard, par-72 course that follows the natural terrain. The course features a rise of 300 feet and winds through rock-strewn streams, ponds, stands of ancient Douglas fir, and granite outcroppings. Among the highlights: a wild green set in a natural canyon and a 200-yard downhill play to a green guarded by a lake and a massive granite wall.

We also played the spectacular Big Sky Golf and Country Club in Pemberton, about 30 minutes north of Whistler. Here, the Robert Cupp designed, par-72 course is set at the base of Mount Currie and bordered with waterfalls.