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.
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.
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.
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:
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: