On a clear day at the tee box on Mill Valley Golf Links' 14th hole, you can see for miles?and drive the ball pretty far, too. Perched 200 feet above the fairway below, the elevated tee box helps compensate for an otherwise lengthy par 4, which measures 468 yards from the tips. Such novel holes abound on this 18-hole, 6,583-yard layout, including the fifth hole, a par 3 that plays to 240 yards from the tips.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,583 yards from the tips * Four tee options * Scorecard
Ledges Golf Club is not your typical municipal golf course. Sure, its 18 holes sweep across 244 acres of Pioneer Valley land that belongs to taxpayers, but lumping it with other publicly owned courses wouldn't fully convey the thought that's been put into it. Founded in 2001, the course is a result of five years spent drawing up its hybrid layout and executing its private club-like atmosphere. In designing it, architect Howard Maurer sought to strike a balance between links-style holes and the woodland setting, as the course is surrounded by mountain ridges and protected wetlands that many species of wildlife call home. As partners in the Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary Program, course superintendents preserve these natural surroundings by eschewing harmful pesticides and fertilizers on the fairways and hairsprays on the rough as they keep the course in pristine condition.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 6,507 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 72.2 from the back tees * Course slope of 133 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole * View the scorecard.
Donald Ross, America's first great golf course architect and designer of legendary loops such as Pinehurst No. 2 and Seminole Golf Club, had a way with the land. He seemed to be able to bend the earth to his will. Where lesser architects might have just laid down a bunch of green yoga mats, Ross punctuated the landscape with subtle, artful flourishes – such as crowned “turtle back” greens and deep bunkers – that were perfectly integrated into the landscape. These nuanced touches can be witnessed at Orchards Golf Club, a 1922 Ross creation. The famed designer splayed the 18-hole course across 160 acres of terrain marked by dense forest groves and an enduring mystique, attributes that earned the course hosting duties for the 2002 NCAA Women's Championship and 2004 USGA Women's Open Championship.
Course at a Glance:
At Agawam Municipal Golf Course, an American flag billows high above the pristine white clubhouse's back porch, where players can quaff postround drinks as they watch their peers hole out and head in for the day. The 18-hole course drapes over rolling hills marked by dense forest along each fairway, forcing players to keep their drives straight or risk having their golf balls snatched by hungry Sasquatches.
Course at a Glance:
Edward and Kristine Mele were driving their son to baseball practice one day when a downpour caused the team to relocate to indoor batting cages. This serendipitous change led the Mele family past Sand Trap Mini Golf, which was derelict and for sale. Within a week, the Meles owned the course. Gathering up their sons, daughters, siblings, and friends, the couple renovated the grounds, removing the debris and haunted windmills that littered the place. Today, Sand Trap's gleaming 18-hole course draws families and friends outdoors to revel in spirited competition. As they progress through the course, Coca-Cola beverages and Blue Bunny ice cream help visitors keep cool and stop them from burrowing into a bunker hidden beneath the 18th hole.
The nine-hole course at Northampton Country Club was carved into the countryside in 1898. Four sets of tees make each time-honored hole manageable, whether a player can hit the long ball or prefers to throw the ball toward the green. A river comes into play on two holes, and the wide fairways cut through regions of dense forest that can ensnare errant balls.
After a round, players can head to the recently renovated clubhouse to dine at the 19th Hole bar and grill and regale fellow visitors with tall tales of booming drives and the 3-foot putt that got away.
Course at a Glance: * Nine-hole, par 35 course * Total length of 3,041 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 69 from the back tees * Course slope of 119 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole