DJ's First U.S. Open win


When there is a major title on the line, there is bound to be some excitement over the four rounds of U.S. Open. This past weekend's U.S. Open was no walk in the park for the players or spectators. The U.S. Open returned to famed Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania for a record ninth time, making it the first course to host more U.S. Opens than any other course in history.

With 156 players set to tee off during the first round of the tournament on Thursday, inclement weather suspended play three times, creating a long weekend of golf for everyone involved. Over half of the field never had the opportunity to begin round one of play due to the weather. With the rest of the weekend forecasting zero participation, the tournament was going to have to be played from sunrise to sundown each day in order to complete the tournament by Sunday night.
It was a great weekend of golf to watch, with different names atop the leader board each round.

Shane Lowry had the lead going into the final round Sunday afternoon, with Dustin Johnson trailing behind. On the fifth hole of the fourth round, Johnson's ball moved backwards on the putting green. He had not addressed the ball, or grounded his putter. The United States Golf Association (USGA) believed he had caused the ball to move. However, Johnson and his playing partner, Lee Westwood, both confirmed that he did not cause the ball to move. This should have been the end of this discussion because under the rules of golf, this would not count as a penalty since he did not cause the ball to move.

Unfortunately, the USGA said it was more certain than not that Johnson had caused the ball to move. The game of golf is built upon integrity, and the USGA was basically calling Johnson a liar. Thankfully, Johnson prevailed after being penalized one-stroke, and won his first major championship. The USGA is now trying to save their reputation for the way the ruling against Johnson was handled, but it will be hard to do when the golf community feels that the USGA was wrong.

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We need to develop a "real estate slide rule"


Real estate is all about numbers, math and formulas. There are mortgage calculations, amortization schedules, debt ratios, average sale prices, days on market, the percentage of asking to selling prices, tax rates, tax bills, and on and on. It is all about numbers. I took four years of college prep math back in the day when you still used slide rules to figure out things. I can't say I was a whiz, but I got by. I am sure I have forgotten way more than I retained and I certainly don't remember how to use a slide rule. I can't remember the last time I even saw one. Today, I wish someone with a lot more mathematical background than I would invent a slide rule that could actually calculate the probability of selling a house ... any house, in any condition. Maybe a computer program would be more appropriate today.

Most real estate agents can tell when they list a home whether they have a real winner or not. It's that gut feeling you get from being in the business long enough to know that this particular home is really nice, something special, priced right, and that it won't be on the market long. Of course market conditions and asking price all have something to do with the outcome of any sale.

I have heard it said that numbers and mathematics can be used explain everything in the world. So, out of curiosity, I looked at the statistics for all the residential sales in Belknap County in 2015. The average sales price for the year was just over $320,000 and on average it took 120 days to sell a home. The average year of construction for the homes that sold was 1967 and they averaged 2,025 square feet in size with 3.09 bedrooms, and 2.23 baths. I guess we can call it three beds, two-and-a-half baths, to be real. There were 330 properties that sold that had no garage. For those that had one, the average was 1.3 stalls. A 1.3-stall car garage would be good for a small car and a moped, so I think we should round up to two bays. One-stall garages made up 19 percent of the sales, two-car garages made up 35 percent, and three cars or more made up about 11 percent of the sales.

The majority, or 80 percent of the homes that sold had a basement and the averaged finished space below ground was 768 square feet. Being in New England, most homes that sold, or about 56 percent, are heated with oil. About 33 percent used bottled or natural gas, 9 percent were electric, and the rest were kerosene, wood, wood pellets, and one had geo-thermal heat. I think there were a couple that relied on body heat, too! The average size lot was 2.96 acres.

There you have it, the perfect house to sell; a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath, 2,225-square-foot home built in 1967 with a partially finished basement, oil heat, and a two-car garage on 3 acres will sell in four months for $320,000. Right? Maybe, maybe not, though it seems that you have got the odds on your side. But you also need factor in condition, quality, location, amenities, and more! Where is that slide rule and what is is the formula? It would be nice if we had one! You'd expect a home to sell quickly if it was mint condition, had new upgrades, was in the perfect spot, on a lake, and had no neighbors. But it could be overpriced! What are the chances then?! Is there a logarithm for this? From Wikipedia I see "Logarithmic scales reduce wide-ranging quantities to tiny scopes." I like the "tiny scopes" part. Whatever that means, it could help.

So to all you mathematical geniuses out there, I am requesting help to develop this new slide rule for real estate. We need to get to the root of the problem and not go off on tangents or cotangents. We may need to use some sines or cosines instead of signs and co-brokes. I think we can make a fortune with this, so give me a call.


P​lease feel free to visit to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system. ​Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.

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Laconia Country Club clinches the cup

Allison Mitzel

Assistant Golf Professional, Laconia Country Club

On Thursday, June 9, the annual Ladies Quad Cup returned to Laconia Country Club. The weather and course were in perfect conditions for the four teams to compete in the 18-hole event. The Quad Cup consists of women from Keene Country Club, Laconia Country Club, Manchester Country Club and Nashua Country Club.
The event rotates alphabetically to each course every year, and will be held at Manchester Country Club in 2017, Nashua Country Club in 2018, and Keene Country Club in 2019 before returning back to Laconia in 2020. One woman from each club was paired into a foursome, and all eighty women teed off at 8:30 a.m. The format was a point quota game, and players were awarded one point for a bogey, two points for a par, and four points for a birdie.
The best 15 scores were used to calculate each team's cumulative score. After the best 15 scores were recorded and calculated, there was a tie between Keene and Laconia Country Clubs at 34 points. Nashua was in third with 19 points, and Manchester Country Club was in fourth place with a deficit of 18 points.
In order to break the tie for first place, the 16th best score from each team was analyzed. Laconia Country Club's 16th score was two points better than Keene's 16th score. This two-point difference enabled Laconia Country Club to clinch the cup, and keep the trophy in their possession for the next year.
The women representing Laconia Country Club were Ann Brienza, Joanne Dickinson, Sue Dore, Maria El-Kurd, Scottie Ferry, Donna Grantz, Cindy Keenan, Connie Keller, Corrie Kinnicutt, Linda Knott, Helen Miller, Barbara Milligan, Maureen Power, Marianne Smith, Bette Stafford, Sheila Sullivan, Cheri Sweeney, Lorraine Verderame, Susan Whitmore and Mary Lou Wilson. The women are already looking forward to defending their win next year at Manchester Country Club.

A native of Poland, Ohio, Allison Mitzel is spending her first summer here in the Lakes Region as an Assistant Golf Professional at Laconia Country Club. She played golf collegiately at Youngstown State University in Ohio, and is currently the Assistant Women’s Golf Coach at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. 

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Making practice count

By Ben Stone


Everyone that plays the game of golf wants to lower their score, and are never happy until they do. The easiest and quickest way to do this is by practicing, mainly by focusing on practicing your short game and putting. Two-thirds of all golf shots are hit from within 100 yards, and 43 percent of shots are taken on the putting green. Those numbers do not correlate with how most people spend their time practicing.
When most people go the range to hit a bucket of balls, they usually pull out the driver first and sometimes that is the only club they hit. Not only is this a bad idea, it also will do minimal to help improve your game. Hitting balls can be good for you, especially if you are trying to work on mechanics or swing changes, but it should not be the only thing you do when you practice. You should spend equal amounts of time, if not more time, practicing your short game and putting. Have you ever watched a PGA Tour event and wondered how a pro can get up and down from almost anywhere? It is because they spend seventy percent of their time working on putting and wedges.
You always hear golfers saying, "I hate bunker shots," or, "I hate pitch shots from around the green." This is a clear sign of something that can be worked on. Instead of turning a blind eye to these problems and hoping you never have theses shots, practice them so they are no longer a problem. When you go to practice, drop a few balls in the bunker, or around the green, and practice these different shots until you start to get a feel and are more comfortable hitting them.

Next time you go to the range, don't go right to the driver. Make sure you practice your short game and, most importantly, practice your putting, this will go a long way in lowering your score.

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Lakes Region Profiles — Lakefront bargain hunt

By Mary O'Neil

Sales Associate at Roche Realty Group


One of the current favorites on cable television channel HGTV is the show "Lakefront Bargain Hunt." This program follows home seekers across the nation as they try to find the lakefront property they have always imagined owning within a reasonable budget. The show highlights locations that prove you do not need a "a boatload of money" to live on the lake.

Interestingly, an upcoming episode will feature a couple from western New Hampshire hunting for a bargain on Lake Winnipesaukee. Having grown up vacationing on the lake and after years of renting or staying with friends, they finally decide to find a lake house of their own. In their search they are assisted by local real estate agent Kevin Shaw of Roche Realty Group, who helps them find lakefront living within their budget of $375,000. The episode airs on HGTV this Sunday, June 19, and again on Monday, June 20 and July 4.

The premise of HGTV's Lakefront Bargain Hunt is that anyone can live on a lake. But what about those with substantially less than the $375,000 budget featured on the Lake Winnipesaukee episode? Is it possible for them? In the Lakes Region, the answer is yes. While less money may not buy you lakefront on one of the more well-known lakes, it is possible to enjoy the same lifestyle – gazing over the water from your living area and master bedroom, walking a few steps to jump into your boat, swimming from your own private sandy beach, sitting by a cozy fire under the stars while the waves lap the shoreline... Why? Because the Lakes Region has 273 water bodies to choose from, including lakes, ponds, and rivers.

Some people might respond, "Yeah, they get the lake and I get the pond." But the reality is some of the so-called "ponds" are bigger than water bodies with the title of "lake." For example, Pine River Pond near Wolfeboro covers 594 acres and goes to a depth of 62 feet off Boys Island. By way of comparison, Lake Opechee, a popular waterskiing lake and site of the 1954 National Waterski Championship, covers 426 acres. Currently for sale on Pine River Pond is a charming 3 bedroom home only steps from the water with over 150 feet of privately owned shorefront – all for around $200,000.

So if you really want to live on the water, go for it. Right now, there are many properties available for even those with a limited budget.

The unspoiled waters of Lake Winona in Center Harbor and New Hampton are an ideal spot for sailing, waterskiing, kayaking, and canoeing. This 148-acre lake is a cold water fishery with a maximum depth of 47 feet and is stocked with rainbow trout by NH Fish & Game ( And as far as properties, for example, a currently listed 3 bedroom ranch provides canoe and kayak access right from its own private beach for around $200,000.

Dotted with both primary and second homes, Webster Lake in Franklin offers a retreat from the busy water bodies of the more well-know lakes. With more than 612 acres and a maximum depth of around 40 feet, it provides ample surface area for every kind of lakefront pastime. One current listing for around $200,000 sits right on the shoreline and provides long range views over the tranquil waters. The ranch comes complete with over 100 feet of shorefront, private dock, and mooring.

Sargent Lake in Belmont is located just south of Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam and offers abundant recreational and wildlife activities throughout the year. This 43-acre lake is a haven for kayakers, canoers, and paddle boarders. The lake hosts a variety of fish species including bluegill, lake trout, and smelt, making it a desirable spot for fly fishing, net fishing, spinning, and trolling. Wildlife enthusiasts enjoy sightings of river otters, muskrats, herons, songbirds, white-tailed deer, fox, and more. ( For around $160,000 you can own a 2 bedroom bungalow with over 150 feet of shorefront. Around $200,000 will get you a spacious 3 bedroom family home with water views from the open living area and 109 feet of waterfront.

Pristine natural beauty surrounds Balch Lake, situated in Wakefield. This sparkling water body near Wolfeboro covers a sizable expanse of 704 acres and has over 14 miles of shoreline. Year round activities on and around Balch Lake include waterskiing, jet skiing, fishing, snowmobiling, and hiking ( There are possibilities to own private waterfront on this lake for under $200,000, including a currently listed 2 bedroom cape with 105 feet of shoreline.

Sunrise Lake in Middleton, a 20 minute drive from Alton Bay, spans 247 acres and is classified by NH Fish and Game as a warm water fishery ( Homes situated on the shoreline are ideally placed to enjoy boating, kayaking, fishing, and long views over its sparkling waters. For around $175,000 you can take in the beautiful setting from a 2 bedroom camp with 75 feet of waterfront, your own sandy beach, and boat dock.

In the Lakes Region, there is something for everyone. These lakes represent just a few of the possibilities in the area. For those looking to wake up to sunrises and coffee on your deck overlooking the water or boating from your back yard, there is a way to do it in the Lakes Region for an affordable price. Start looking for your own lakefront bargain and maybe you will be the next star on HGTV's Lakefront Bargain Hunt.

Visit to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 603-366-6306.

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