Hale Irwin has quietly proven to be a sound PGA Tour player/golf course architect over the past 20 years.
The bespectacled, three-time U.S. Open champ was the mastermind behind the design of New England Country Club in Bellingham, Mass., one of the best-conditioned and most interesting courses in the greater Boston area. The layout has played host to a number of prominent tournaments, including the New England Public Links and NCAA Division II regionals.
New England CC has the look and feel of a private club, with Irwin placing his routing smoothly over rolling hills and through mature woods. He also designed multiple tee boxes to allow all players the opportunity to enjoy the track.
While not overly long at around 6,500 yards from the back tees, New England CC is a true test of golf that features several doglegs, ample greenside and fairway bunkers, and water on a number of holes.
Number three is a fine, short par-four, measuring 338 yards from the tips. It bends ever so slightly to the left with a pond guarding the left side of the green.
The number one handicap hole on the course is the 521-yard par-five fifth. While not especially long, it demands a lusty drive to reach the corner of the dogleg with trees protecting the left side and bunkers to the right of the landing area. The second shot must also be true to find a suitable area from where to hit a short iron approach shot into a deep green that has bunkers on either side.
The ninth hole is a tough way to finish the front side. The 401-yard par-four, a dogleg left, has water that must be cleared off the tee and again on the approach shot.
The 12th hole is a superb, 171-yard par-three that calls for a shot over a pond, and the 13th is a 403-yard par-four that asks the player to fly it over water on the approach shot.
Number 16, a 161-yard par-three, is made more intimidating by having to clear yet another pond on the tee shot with bunkers on three sides of the putting surface.
New England CC, which offers stunning views spring through fall, has all the amenities one would expect from a private club, including an all-grass driving range, practice bunkers, a practice putting green, and computerized GPS yardage systems on the carts.
The club’s Egan’s Pub Grille Room and Patio are great for those after round get-togethers.
New England C. C.
(508) 883-2300 - Hale Irwin Design - Public, 18 holes