On May 29, 1970, the first drive flew down the fairway of the first hole at Manchester Country Club and came to a stop on the carpet-like fairways that would become its trademark. Though the front nine had only just been completed and the back nine still needed some work, Opening Day at Manchester Country Club proved an auspicious beginning for the club. It represented the collective efforts of the community, the local golf governing body, and a vanguard of early members who took a bet on the club in its infancy.
Today, the finished design first drawn up by architect Geoffrey Cornish still rolls through 165 acres of the Green Mountains, though in a slightly different form. The front nine remains intact, but the back nine has undergone some improvements over the years. A full renovation that incorporated 34 additional acres was completed in 2003, bringing the course up to its present length of nearly 6,800 yards. In addition to a lengthy golf course, the club boasts a golf shop, four Class-A PGA/LPGA Professional instructors, two clay tennis courts, and full service dining facilities.
Course at a Glance
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.
With six 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 six, 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. The newest member to the Sterling Golf Management team is the Rockland course, where 18 par-3 holes wind between tall oaks for a picturesque par-54 round. Designed in 1921 in the Donald Ross tradition is the 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 sextet, 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.
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: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Length of 6,184 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 68.6 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 124 from the farthest tees * Three tee options
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: * 9-hole, par 35 course * Length of 2,801 yards from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 114 from the farthest tees * Link to scorecard
Though most fairways and greens lie dormant during the winter chill, Rod's Golf Improvement Center's spring to life year-round. Here, golfers can land birdies and pars during rounds at famous courses vividly replicated by three golf simulators. Golfers can also fine-tune their game at driving nets or the practice putting green, which allows them to stop carefully trimming their home's carpets with scissors.
PGA-certified pro Rod Van Guilder oversees the entire operation, and zeroes in on helping golfers sharpen their skills during lessons and club-fitting services. For those looking to upgrade their gear, the center sells golf equipment and repairs broken clubs.