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Cranwell Resort, Spa and golf Club,-Spa-and-golf-Club/Page1.html
John Torsiello
By John Torsiello
Published on 03/10/2005

Golfing Jewel of the Southern Berkshires
Snug in the rolling hills between Stockbridge and Lennox is the golfing jewel of the Southern Berkshires--Cranwell Resort and Golf Club.

The classic New England layout, designed by Wayne Styles and John Van Kleek (who also designed the acclaimed Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown, Ma.) in 1925, Cranwell Golf Club has taken is rightful place among the great resort courses of New England.

Part of a superb overall resort that also features a magnificent 100-year-old country hotel with 107 rooms, a year-old, state-of-the-art spa, tennis courts, an outdoor pool and a golf school, Cranwell's course is playable for the high- and mid-handicappers yet challenging enough for the very best player.
The course measures only 6,346 yards from the back tees and plays to a par of 70. But a number of the greens are elevated, adding a club or two to approach shots. The greens are sloping, fast and well-guarded. The layout is in immaculate condition as workers continually upgrade and care for the course.

David Strawn, head professional and director of golf at Cranwell, said great effort has been made to make the club one of the best public access courses in the region.
"Some 10 years ago, the new owner saw that the golf course had great potential but hadnít received the care that it needed," said Strawn, who has been at Cranwell 10 years. "A master plan was put together that added multiple tees, redid bunkers, paved portions of the cart paths and improved the course in general. We've brought the course to a level where it is receiving more attention."

Jack Pluta, formerly of the Pittsfield Country Club, was hired three years ago to serve as head superintendent at Cranwell.
"Jack is a veteran and the go-to guy in this area when it comes to course maintenance," said Strawn. "When you drive by the resort, you see a course that is in beautiful condition."

Cranwell has become a true year-round resort with the addition of the multi-million dollar spa. The improved golf course, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, also serves as a lure. A Golf Digest golf school attracts clients, who often decide to stay an extra day or two and enjoy the many recreational opportunities the Berkshires present during the summer.

The front nine of Cranwell is more open that the back side. One of the best holes on the outward side is the brawny 233-yard par three sixth hole that has wetlands guarding the left side of the green. Number nine is a classic, 411-yard slight dogleg right par four that demands a well-struck tee shot followed by a long iron or fairway wood to an elevated and sloping green. Woods guard both sides of the fairway and putting surface.

There are several short par fours on the back side, which play longer because of the hilly fairways. Number 17 is a fun hole. It measures only 328 yards, but you wonít get any roll on your tee shot and the second shot is to a green hidden from sight. It's a great example of a short par four--a hole that can yield a birdie or punish wayward shots with bogey or worse.

What is as remarkable as the beauty, playability and conditions of Cranwell are the very reasonable greens fees. This is a true hidden gem that deserves to be played more than once.

For further information about golfing at Cranwell, call 413-637-2563.