The ping of sharp line drives and towering drives echo over the grounds at Legends Golf, where athletes of all ages compete in rounds of miniature golf and hone swings in the batting cages or at the driving range.
Golf balls trickle down topsy-turvy tracks at the 18-hole miniature-golf course, which weaves through rock faces and tiny geysers that erupt with glee any time a player misses an easy putt. Eight target greens populate the 300-yard driving range, where new Wilson Staff Range Balls touch down after taking flight from 45 synthetic mats or 35 grass tees.
Under the vaulted roof of the batting cages, nine pitching machines send baseballs and softballs speeding toward hitters as they get the most out of every at bat and discreetly argue balls and strikes with imaginary umpires. To pass the time in between mini-golf rounds or during kids' golf lessons, guests can use Legends' wireless Internet connection free of charge.
Apple Hill Golf Club entices golfers of all abilities with a 27-hole tapestry weaved into rolling, New Hampshire woodlands. The club’s 18-hole course meanders across 6,184 yards of wide, bermuda grass fairways and bentgrass greens flanked by ponds that come into play on more than half of the holes. Those looking to hone their short game can tee it up on the nine-hole, par 3 course, an 800-yard layout that duffers can complete in an efficient 45 minutes, enabling them to squeeze in a session before dark or in time to drop off their 9-iron at soccer practice.
During the summer, PGA professional Steve Lundquist utilizes the multifaceted grounds to host a junior golf academy, which grants pupils free play on the par 3 course throughout the season. Along with a wide selection of clubs, balls, clothes, and shoes available for purchase, the club’s pro shop curbs appetites with fresh sandwiches, drinks, and hot dogs that can be braided together to form fully functional putters.
Championship Course at a Glance:
Originally sculpted into the New Hampshire countryside in 1889, Exeter Country Club's nine-hole course stretches across 2,801 yards for a par 35 layout. Wreathed by waterways flowing south from the Great Bay, the course cools off clubbers and hot-tempered carts with seaside breezes that waft across the greens. Though consisting mostly of straight-ahead fairways, the course forces players to adjust at the fifth hole, a 365-yard par 4 where golfers must bend drives around a dramatic 90-degree dogleg left obscured by dense tree lines. Exeter Country Club's on-site restaurant, Grill on the Hill, awaits at the end of the ninth green, serving up a menu of American fare to quench appetites after a day of dedicated pin-hunting and scorecard falsification.
Course at a Glance:
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:
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.
With five distinct courses etched into the New England countryside, Sterling Golf Management promotes pin-hunting recreation for Boston-area golfers of all abilities. The longest and most difficult of the five, The Shattuck Golf Club's 18-hole course kicks off with a 409-yard par 4 where players hack their way toward a green that is visually wreathed by the rising red rocks of Mount Monadnock, setting the tone for a scenic, 6,764-yard round. Groves of trees ensconce the fairways and barter over carbon dioxide at Norwood Country Club's recently renovated course, a relatively flat layout characterized by smallish greens and flanked by a lighted driving range. Designed in 1921 in the Donald Ross tradition is Maynard Golf Course, a picturesque par 70, 9-hole course with a full-service clubhouse. The same sylvan makeup returns at Newton Commonwealth's course, where lush tree lines cast shadows over a creek as it snakes across the fairways of seven holes. Rounding out the grassy quartet, Chelmsford's nine-hole course takes golfers careening across 2,467 yards of narrow fairways, placing straight drives or skilled golf ball pilots at a premium.