Getting a little bent out of shape because fall is upon us and winter isn’t far behind? Have the feeling that you’ll be putting your sticks in the closet soon and saying goodbye to them for three or four months?
Well, we’ve got a solution to your funk. Plan a weekend getaway to Cape Cod, where the golf courses remain open all winter, weather permitting. That’s right. While your buddies are watching the Golf Channel for their fix, you can be enjoying the rather mild winter weather of the Cape and still getting your swings in.
Indeed, October and November are two of the best months of play golf on Cape Cod, as the warm ocean currents keep the penisula warmer than inland areas. And from December through March, the Cape receives little snow. If the area does experience a bit of the white stuff, it melts quickly and courses are open again.
If you talk to the locals about their favorite courses on the Cape, Cranberry Valley Golf Club, designed by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva, usually comes up in the discussion. Located in Harwich, Cranberry Valley is a well-maintained course that flows easily over beautiful terrain, which includes marshes and a few cranberry bogs.
There are a number of dogleg holes at Cranberry, which plays 6,745 yards from the tips and has a par of 72. One of the best holes on the course is the double dogleg finale, a tough, 575-yard par-five that can make or break a match or a round.
If you are going to go low you are probably going to have do your scoring on Cranberry Valley’s par-fours and par-fives. Most of the par-fours measure under 400 yards, including the 309-yard 15th, which is approachable off the tee for the long hitters. All of the par-fives, except for perhaps the 18th hole, are reachable in two for the longballers. The par-threes here are very demanding, none more so than the penultimate hole, the brutal 229-yard 17th.
The charming town of Brewster features two superb 18-hole layouts at the Captains Golf Club, located in the laid-back historic mid-Cape area of “Olde Cape Cod.”
The Port and Starboard courses at Captains are both interesting, challenging routings and well maintained throughout the year. The Port Course plays 6,724 yards from the tips and carries a course rating of 73.5 and a slope of 130.
The Starboard Course is around 50 yards longer from the back markers and is rated 72.6 with a slope of 130. There are three other sets of tees on both courses to meet the playing abilities of all visitors.
The club has a splendid practice and golf learning center featuring over 40 grass tee stations with target greens surrounded by bunkers amid a rolling terrain that simulates actual course conditions.
Bayberry Hills Golf Course and The Links 9 are located in the seaside town of Yarmouth.
The original 18 holes at Bayberry Hills were designed by Cornish and Silva and opened for play in 1986. The Links 9 was opened in 1999.
The 18-holer is a true championship layout, one that can be stretched to almost 7,200 yards, although it’s slope of 123 from the tips indicates that good players can go low here provided they manage their games appropriately.
The track features seven par-fours of over 400 yards and three par-threes over 200 yards, including the tough 241-yard 17th hole. Number four is a great par-four, playing around 400 yards. It has water guarding the right side of the fairway landing area and the front of the green.
Number 14 is another great par-four. It measures over 400 yards from the tips and bends to the right, with bunkers guarding the fairway landing area and scattered around a deep putting surface.
The Links 9 is a fun course to play if you want to tack another nine holes onto your round or are merely looking to fit a little golf in between sightseeing. 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 sized green.
The fairways on the Links 9 are fairly wide and thus forgiving, which adds to the pleasure of playing the track. It’s only a little over 3,300 yards from the tips, so you can score here, as long as you stay out of the bunkers and high grass that line most of the fairways.
In contrast to the modern look and feel of Bayberry Hills, nearby Bass River Golf Club is a 100-year-old course that the legendary Donald Ross renovated and expanded in 1914. The layout is routed 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. It’s a real cool tee shot. The layout is on the short side, but the holes demand good shot making and a deft touch around the greens, a Ross trademark.
A few miles away in Sandwich is Sandwich Hollows Golf Club, which offers views of Cape Cod Bay to the north from several holes. 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.
The golf course at Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club in Brewster has reopened after Jack Nicklaus and his design company totally revamped the classic track and brought to it a new luster and challenge. The entire course was rebuilt from tee to green, on every hole.
Nicklaus did a wonderful job reshaping Ocean Edge, which is part of a resort amenity package that includes a luxurious hotel with tastefully appointed guest rooms and a wealth of other sporting options. The course now plays 7,011 yards from the tips and there are 60 bunkers scattered about the layout. They are strategically placed and can come into play from the tee and on approaches.
Several of the holes from the existing course were lengthened, such as the 10th hole, which used to be a short par-four but now is a 420-yard dogleg left par-four that is truly splendid in character and challenge.
Perhaps the new course’s signature hole is the 17th, which plays around 600 yards from the back. The par-five dogleg works its way up a hill and is a true three-shot par-five for even the longest hitters.
In addition to the course renovations, the $8.5 million upgrade included a renovation of the Linx Clubhouse, which now features a member’s only lounge, expanded locker rooms and additional function space. The course and clubhouse are open to Ocean Edge Club members and guests staying at the hotel.
Ocean Edge Resort and Club occupies 429 acres on a majestic bluff overlooking Cape Cod Bay. In addition to its golf course, the centerpiece of the resort is the 1912 Victorian-style Nickerson Mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are four restaurants on site: Zagat-rated Ocean Grille where Chef Michael Gregory prepares regional American cuisine with ingredients from the resort’s own herb garden; English-style Bayzo’s Pub with billiards; Linx Tavern for indoor/outdoor dining at the golf clubhouse; and Reef Café for indoor/outdoor casual dining, as well as three poolside snack cabanas.
Of course, you will need a place to stay while you visit the Cape this fall. Your options include five star resorts and spas, such as the above-mentioned Ocean Edge, offering all the finest luxuries and amenities, oceanside condos and hotels, quaint little bed and breakfast establishments, and cozy cottages nestled in the woods
New Seabury Resort and Country Club has been one of the premier resorts, conference centers, and residential communities of the Eastern Seaboard. Accommodations at New Seabury, while generally luxurious, run the gamut from one-bedroom villas to gracious beachfront cottages. With the completion of the 42,000 square foot clubhouse, New Seabury offers an array of dining - from private banquet functions, to a la carte service to a snack bar featuring hot food with both inside and outside café-style seating. New Seabury also has 3.5 miles of private beach, bike and hiking trails along with beach and cabana clubs.
The Heritage House Hotel is a year round resort that offers 143 guestrooms and suites, as well as a full service restaurant, function rooms, and recreation facilities such as an indoor pool with a Jacuzzi whirlpool and individual men and women’s saunas. Conveniently located in the Main Street Waterfront District of Hyannis, the Heritage House offers golf packages that are custom made.
The Cape Codder Resort and Spa in Hyannis has 260 rooms and fireplace/Jacuzzi suites, in-room movies, Nintendo, high-speed internet access, 3 restaurants, tennis, playground, gift shop, full-service Spa, exclusive Indoor Wave Pool with two-foot waves, 80-foot waterslides, whirlpool, saunas, state-of-the-art fitness center and much more. It is centrally located, convenient to golf, beaches, shopping, and attractions. Custom golf packages are available and feature golf, cart, room and dinner.
The Dan’l Webster Inn in Sandwich Village offers beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites, many with canopy beds, fireplaces and oversized whirlpool tubs, captivate guests who are looking for the ultimate in comfort. Newly renovated to include 54 exquisite rooms and suites. There’s award-winning cuisine, creative chef specials and extensive wine selection, pool, gardens gift shop, and an Early American style Tavern. Nearby you’ll find golf, health club, tennis, museums, shopping, and beaches.
The Wequassett Inn Resort and Golf Club in Chatham has exceptional accommodations, and guests at the Inn can enjoy exclusive non-member playing privileges at The Cape Cod National Golf Club. The Wequassett Inn provides world-class accommodations, dining and recreational activities of a four-diamond resort, together with the relaxed, informal attitude and warm, personal attention of an historic Cape Cod Inn. The Wequassett Inn offers Waterview rooms to individual cottages.
Dining options on the Cape run the gamut, from gourmet food restaurants to neat little roadside lobster shacks where one can enjoy a meal while watching sailboats float past off shore.
For more information about Cape Cod’s golf courses, accommodations, dining and other things to see and do visit www.capecodchamber.org. or contact the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce at (888) 332-2732