Summer has waved goodbye to us in its big green rear view mirror, taking with it those warm mornings when dew sat atop the putting greens and the sun rose like a big red Titlest.
But the departure of summer means only one thing, great fall golf!
In many ways autumn is the best time of the year to play. The crowds of summer are gone, leaving the fairways to truly dedicated golfers. Our games should be in tidy shape, honed by a half a year’s worth of play and practice. I’d say it’s time to set some personal records!
One of the best places to knock it around during the fall is Cape Cod, where the mild breezes of the Atlantic take the chill out of the air and the sun warms the land over which courses meander. The trees are ablaze with color and the white clouds floating overhead create a bucolic scene.
If Mother Nature cooperates many golf courses on the Cape will stay open through the winter, providing an added bonus to our annual golfing experience.
“We’ll stay open year round as long as we don’t get snow,” said Tom Tobey, head professional at Bay Pointe Country Club in Onset. “And I think fall is the best time of the year to play golf on the Cape.”
Let’s take a look at some of the venues where we can hit the little white sphere around for the next several months...and hopefully longer.
Golfers are buzzing about the improved conditions and wonderfully scenic test of golf Bay Pointe Country Club presents. Once known as Warham Country Club, Bay Pointe offers a fun routing and a course that is easy to walk.
“We have really improved conditions here,” said Tobey. “Our new superintendent, Russ Bragdon, deserves a lot of credit for all he has done.”
Bay Pointe, located just a mile from the Cape Cod Canal on the mainland side of the Cape, plays only 6,201 yards from the tips and is a par-70. It is a shot maker’s course, one where correct club selection and accurate positioning is rewarded more than brute strength off the tee.
The terrain of Bay Point is gentle, except for some hilly sections on the opening two holes, the first a par-five that measures close to 500 yards and the second the longest par-four on the course at 465 yards.
The layout also features one of the few island greens in Massachusetts, the seventh hole, which plays only 100 yards from the back tees. But you had better hit it right on the number or double bogey or worse comes into the equation.
Bay Pointe has two distinct clubhouses, The Golf House and The Pavilion, the latter hosting large parties and outings.
A few miles away Sandwich Hollows Golf Club is another course that has seen its overall conditioning improve dramatically.
Sandwich Hollows offers views of Cape Cod Bay to the north from several holes, and the course is bordered by hundreds of acres of conservation area to the east, west and south. This gives the golfer a feeling of being isolated from players on other holes.
Sandwich Hollows features a number of par-fours on the short side, several long par-threes, and challenging par-fives, one of which (the sixth hole) measures close to 600 yards from the tips.
Up Rt. 6 a bit from Sandwich Hollows is the Yarmouth’s 45-hole facility that includes Bayberry Hills Golf Course and The Links 9 and Bass River Golf Course.
The original 18 holes at Bayberry Hills was designed by the notable team of Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva and opened for play in 1986. This is a true “championship” layout, which can be stretched to almost 7,200 yards. The track features seven par-fours of over 400 yards and three par-threes over 200 yards, including the monstrous 241-yard 17th hole. Number four is a superb par-four, playing around 400 yards with water guarding the right side of the fairway landing area and the front of the green.
The Links 9 was opened in 1999 and is a fun course to play if you want to tack another nine holes onto your round or merely looking to fit a little golf in between sightseeing or a day at the beach. A number of the holes are doglegs, which makes approach shots tricky if you don’t put your tee shot in the proper position. Number nine is a 195-yard par-three that demands a solid shot over water to reach a medium size green.
In contrast to the modern styling of Bayberry Hills, Bass River offers a 100-year-old course that the legendary Donald Ross renovated and expanded in 1914. The course rolls along among trees and sandy hills and features narrow fairways, small greens and views of nearby Bass River.
The club’s signature hole is the sixth, a 169-yard three par that plays across the river. The layout is on the short side, but the holes demand good shot making and a deft touch around the greens, a Ross trademark.
The Captains Golf Course is Brewster offers 36 holes of very good golf on two distinct 18-hole layouts. The club bills itself as the Cape’s premier public golf facility and who is going to argue. The conditioning here is always top notch, the golf is challenging and scenic, there are two practice greens and a driving range, a restaurant, a staff that is always available for lessons, and a fully-stocked pro shop.
The two courses--The Port and The Starboard--are solid routings. The Port plays to a yardage of 6,724 yards and has a slope of 131 and a rating above its posted par of 72, which gives an indication of the difficulty of some of the holes. Perhaps the best is the 573-yard, par-five eighth. A pond guards the putting surface and there are several large fairway bunkers to complicate matters.
The Starboard Course plays around 6,800 yards and has a slope of 122. It’s a bit more “player friendly,” with wide fairways and large greens and fewer bunkers than its stable mate, which makes it more suitable for seniors and mid handicappers. But there is enough challenge to keep even the best players interested. Number 18 is a great finishing hole, a 534-yard par-five that can be reached in two by big hitters.