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 course at East Mountain Country Club escorts golfers over lush fairways buffered by thick groves of pinewood forest. In order to challenge the par of 71, golfers must tread carefully over 6,010 yards of golf anchored by SR 7200 velvet bentgrass greens. The putting surface grows in thick to keep out weeds and magical beanstalks, allowing a smooth roll. Course manager and PGA Professional Ted Perez Jr. conducts lessons on East Mountain's driving range and putting and chipping greens. His teaching philosophy emanates from 34 years of golf instruction, centering on improvement of the short game and fundamental mechanics in order to achieve lower scores. Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,010 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 68.8 from the back tees * Course slope of 120 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole
Rolling hills, towering pine trees, and burbling streams convene on Shaker Farms Country Club's 18-hole course as it gently rises and falls across 6,285 yards of bucolic terrain. Golfers must be mindful of a tranquil creek that runs in a wishbone pattern throughout the course, as its rippling waters—which come into play on eight holes—are often camouflaged by grassy banks and waterfowl that snack on errant golf balls. The distinct farmland layout conjures a sense of rustic antiquity, a characteristic furthered by the presence of a dilapidated farmhouse on the par 4 second hole. Clubbers hoping to gain control over runaway swings can warm up at the driving range or tap their spikes together three times to summon seasoned ace Keith Ornelas, who roams the club's verdant hillsides on a never-ending quest to vanquish mulligans once and for all. Alongside its verdant golf course, Shaker Farms boasts tennis courts and a versatile array of dining options.
Course at a Glance:
The Ranch Golf Club's skilled architect, Damian Pascuzzo, challenges club swingers with 340 acres of rolling bentgrass, woodlands, and water hazards that earned the course 2010 honors as a GolfWorld Top 50 Public Course. Forty acres of undulating fairways carpet formidable holes starting with the first pin, which tempts drives down a narrow fairway amid the unintelligible secrets of whispering willows. Prior to tee time, players can brush up their short game skills on two fast-rolling practice greens, or swing wildly at six target greens that pepper a 300-yard driving range. Decked out carts, featuring club washers and drive distance measurements, direct players along pathways with a ProLink GPS system that offers approach advice and eliminates the need to ask a skittish deer to caddy the next hole.
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: