White pines, hemlocks, and white birches flourish on the 140 acres of New England countryside that golf-course architect Ted Manning—a Robert Trent Jones protégé—and US Women’s Open champ Mary Mills sculpted into a championship golf course for Townsend Ridge Country Club. Golfers can leave breadcrumb trails to find their way back as they swing through the forested links, hitting over the stream that splits the 3rd hole’s ryegrass fairway before heading uphill on a 474-yard, par-5 12th hole. The course’s signature par-4 14th hole demands a cautious approach, as balls that land past the pin find themselves rolling down a steep slope. At last, with the clubhouse in sight, golfers finish up at the 18th by launching their balls over a pond to land on a double green shared with hole 9.
Although it’s a daily-fee course, Townsend Ridge creates the feel of a private club with a driving range hemmed by 35 hitting stations and a pro shop that hosts two swing simulators. These let players keep in shape during wintery months by tackling digital recreations of the links at Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. For more structured practice sessions, golfers can join lessons and get professional answers as to what’s the best grip for hitting out of the sand and what kind of bird lays golf balls.
Course at a Glance:
Gardner Municipal’s par 71 course takes golfers on an 18-hole odyssey through immaculate fairways hugging the north end of Crystal Lake’s waters. Astride a whirring golf cart or advancing on foot, golfers bob and weave through the course’s tight tree lines, rein in wayward balls, and bribe woodland creatures to improve their lie. Rounds reach their crescendo at the 538-yard, par 5 seventh hole, where drives must trace the fairway as it doglegs to the left while avoiding a vanguard of towering trees along the left side of the fairway.
A multifaceted training area fosters straighter swings and confident putts with a three-tiered practice green and a two-level driving range with space dedicated for long drives, shorter iron shots, and blindfolded sprints through the barrage of practice shots.
Gardner Municipal Golf Course showcases the latest golf styles and equipment in Ben Egan's Golf Shop, which is run by a savvy staff that will help golfers find the clubs and clothes that best suit their style. William's Restaurant and Tavern awaits greenside, where golfers can peruse a menu of prime meat cuts and savory grill fare while deciding whether or not spinach leaves would make a good putting surface.
Course at a Glance:
Golf, swimming, summer camp, and weddings: these disparate activities and events all take place at Groton Pool and Golf Center, a city-owned recreational venue. Here, guests can head to the nine-hole, links-style golf course for a heated game or practice for an underwater marathon in the Olympic-sized pool. During school's off-season, youngsters can partake in Groton's summer camp programs that instill tennis, golf, and swimming skills that help boost self-confidence. The verdant, undulating grounds also make an ideal backdrop to events such as weddings and graduation parties.
Twin Springs Golf Course presents memorable shot-making challenges in a nine-hole, par 34 course that meanders through tree-speckled meadowland and small, rolling hills. The course's two eponymous springs come into play on all but three holes, forcing players to fight off swirling winds, large sand traps, and the impulse to chop down intervening trees with underperforming irons. At Twin Springs' signature hole, the 318-yard, par 4 sixth, golfers can opt to reach the green in two with conservative, 150-yard shots around a dog-leg left fairway or go for the green in one by cutting the corner with a Herculean drive that must soar over a gallery of towering pine trees. Golfers can stretch their swing at Twin Springs' driving range, where PGA teaching professional Bob Keene presides over private and group lessons. The aromas of sandwiches and appetizers emanate from the Twin Springs Bar & Cafe, which lets guests enjoy a post-round nosh while watching live sports or catching a cool breeze on the spacious outdoor deck. Visitors can also relax in the club’s new lounge or host small events such as a bridal shower, birthday party, or team meeting in the banquet space.
Unlike a tuxedo fitting, getting fitted for a custom driver provides valuable feedback that pertains to more than how smooth your hips are. TaylorMade's physics-friendly experts place reflective markers on key points of your body, then capture your swing across nine high-speed cameras to reproduce a 3-D animation to take home on CD. In around an hour, you'll know more about your golf club than most married couples know about each other's font preferences; you'll receive statistics for over 25 aspects of your swing including launch angle, wrist-cocking angle, and the computed distance of carry and roll.
First laid out in 1926 by influential course architect Donald Ross, whose 413-course resumé includes Pinehurst No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort, Winchendon School Golf Club’s 18-hole course stretches over 5,512 yards of tree-dotted New England countryside. The par 70 layout remains true to its original design, with narrow fairways cut through thick curtains of trees that part intermittently to reveal scenic views of Mount Monadnock and squirrels changing clothes. Small, undulating greens await at the end of each hole, offering a slick blend of bent and poa grass that presents more challenging putts than golfers may expect upon their first visit. Golfers can prepare for their rounds with a bite at the onsite bar and grill or by loading up on golf balls at the pro shop, which sells an array of golf equipment and apparel emblazoned with the Winchendon School Golf Club logo or pictures of clients’ favorite mini-golf obstacle.Course at a Glance:
Nestled within 164 acres of mature pine trees and hardwood forest, the secluded golf course at Quail Ridge Country Club surrounds visitors in natural splendor. Course architect Mark Mungeam of Cornish, Silva, and Mungeam, Inc., designed the fairways to harmonize with the naturally rolling terrain, where occasional stone walls line the edges of what were once farmers’ fields. After teeing off, players choose carefully among their bag’s fairway woods, long irons, and golf-ball-sized blowguns as they confront a number-one handicap first hole whose fairway unfurls over nearly 600 uphill yards. The course doesn’t let up, keeping golfers on their toes right up to the end of each round.
Off the course, players gain the skills needed to meet such challenges by frequenting the chipping area or practice putting green. During lessons held in these practice spots, head teaching pro John Carco harnesses more than 15 years of experience to help students eliminate slice and perfect their swing. The country club’s family center hosts a snack bar where golfers can fuel up for a round, stash their belongings in lockers, or build ball-driving muscles at the fitness center.
Just a hop and a skip from the family center, the club’s 3,200-square-foot outdoor pool entices visitors of all stripes with its widely varied facilities. Athletes zip down 75-foot swim lanes, parents and kids splash in a baby pool with zero-grade entry, and sunbathers bask on more than 4,500 square feet of deck. On four adjacent tennis courts, serves rebound off of Har-Tru clay surfaces, and windscreens keep out distracting breezes and lost pool-goers murmuring "Marco?"
Course at a Glance: