The high-pitched thwacks of flush drives pierce the air from the elevated hitting bays that encompass Leo J. Martin Golf Course's driving range, inspiring clubbers of all abilities to perfect their pendulous swings. With more than 30 hitting stalls replete with new artificial mats, the expansive range facilitates practice shots with all clubs or overenthusiastic legs as guests soak in sweeping views of the tree-lined New England countryside. The range faces due east, so golfers won't have to reckon with the setting sun as they follow soaring shots through the stratosphere. A selection of new and used clubs anchors the facility's fully stocked pro shop, providing pristine wares to accompany swings fine-tuned at the range or during lessons. The practice area shares grounds with the Leo J. Martin Memorial Golf Course, a 6,320-yard course that opens its grassy passageways to all aspiring pin hunters.
Golfers across the handicap spectrum practice bogey-thwarting skills at Natick Golf Learning Center, where PGA- and LPGA-certified pros preside over a multifaceted outdoor practice facility. The center’s outdoor driving range offers 75 artificial and natural-grass hitting mats; two chipping greens, a putting green, and a practice bunker let players practice their finesse shots. During daily lessons, the pros enlist video analysis and other teaching aids to help pupils tackle new skills or correct recent on-course weaknesses.
Sandy Burr Country Club is a golf course in good company. It's among the nation's ever-dwindling stock of courses designed by Donald Ross, master architect of such notable courses as Pinehurst No. 2 and Inverness Club. The legendary designer unveiled the 18-holer in 1922, at the outset of the decade that would soon become known as the "Golden Era" of golf course design—due to the proliferation of course construction, not because stockbrokers refused to play with anything but golden clubs. Adding to the historical pedigree, professionals Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen played the course in the 20s and 30s, even participating in the 1935 Massachusetts Open. Golfers today walk in their large footprints as they take on the 6,550-yard course and its three water hazards, before retiring to the English Tudor-style clubhouse—a charming piece of history in its own right.
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.
Established in 1896, William J. Devine Golf Course inspires greens-goers to hone their strokes at one of the oldest public courses in the nation. William J. Devine Golf Course's more than 6,600 yards were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the famed architect behind New York’s Central Park and the concept of sea level, and redesigned by the “Michelangelo of golf” Donald Ross. The course has earned a 72.1 course rating, a bent-grass-slope rating of 120, and a “va-va-voom” rating on the gorgeous index. Across nine holes (up to a $29 value), putters maneuver through manicured fairways and precarious sand traps on a golf cart (an $11 value) as they sense the ghostly presence of legends, including Willie Campbell, who became the first head professional at the course; precocious prodigy putter Bobby Jones, who fine-tuned his stroke on the grounds; and George F. Grant, the inventor of the golf tee and organic astroturf, who pioneered minority play at the course.
Champion over the ghoulish attractions gracing all 18 holes at Monster Mini Golf. The Winter Garden location contains enough geometric challenges to make the course interesting for all ages. Navigate your illuminated golf ball past horrible goblins, a disgruntled swamp monster, impolite specters, and a scarecrow jack-in-the-box, or just stand in awe at the 3-D spectacle. Be sure to listen for Monster Mini Golf’s own in-house radio station, "W.I.R.D. (Weird Radio)," whose live, on-site DJ hands out prizes for random reasons on the links.