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There is hardly a better place to play golf when the
leaves turn color and the nights get cool than Cape Cod.
The little peninsula on the coast eastern
Massachusetts is home to some of the best golf courses in New England. Starting
at Bourne and ranging to Truro, the Cape boats a wide variety of layouts--from
exclusive private clubs to little nine-hole gems that never fail to delight.
Autumn is a magical time on the Cape. The crowds of
summer have gone and the living has returned to a slower, more relaxed pace.
The days are still warm, with temperatures moderated by the ocean waters that
are never far away from any spot on Cape Cod.
It’s a perfect time to head out for a weekend or a
week. Walks along the beach, enjoying fine dining or digging into a meal at one
of the many lobster shanties that dot the area, hiking or biking along the Rail
Trail, visiting the magical Cape Cod National Seashore, checking out the
historic sights or simply sitting back and watching the brilliant sunsets with
a beverage in hand, these are just some of the many after-golf pursuits you can
But you came for the golf, right? Most courses offer
some fabulous fall greens fees offers. The courses are in great shape and it’s
easy to get a tee time. If the weather cooperates, Cape Coders play can golf
year round. So this really is a place where the game never stops.
Designed by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva and
located in Harwich, Cranberry Valley Golf Club is well maintained courses and
features a superb routing that flows easily over beautiful terrain, which
includes marshes and, of course, a few cranberry bogs.
Management enhanced the course a few years ago
through an extensive bunker redesign and restoration, overseen by noted
architect Mark Mungeam. Several fairway bunkers were relocated so as to come
into play to protect par against today’s modern equipment, although the best
players can still dare to fly the traps off the tee.
“We have had a great year and we expect that to
continue into fall,” said director of golf Dennis Hoye. “Playing conditions are
Cranberry Valley is offering a great $38 greens fee
special Monday through Thursday.
Cranberry Valley isn’t overly long, 6,745, but there
are a number of dogleg holes that add invisible yardage and demand proper club
selection and shot placement off the tee.
One of the best holes on the par-72 layout 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 less than 400 yards, including the 309-yard 15th,
which is approachable off the tee for the long hitters. The par-threes here are
very demanding, none more so than the 17th, a 229-yarder.
Mick Herron, director of golf at the club, said
golfers can play 18 for $34, including cart, after Columbus Day and for $38 on
weekends. An indication of the late season Cape Cod golf enjoys is Bay Pointe’s
annual Holiday Invitational, which will be held Nov. 28 this year.
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 Pointe 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
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.
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 golfers the 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 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 that 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 good 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 are 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 look of Bayberry Hills,
Bass River Golf Club offers a 100-year-old course that the legendary Donald
Ross renovated and expanded in 1914. The layout rolls along among trees and
sandy hills and features narrow fairways, small greens and views of nearby Bass
Said Jim Armentrout, general manager of the club, “We
have great weather, great conditions, great value. We have multi round packages
and if you play either Bass River or Bayberry Hills, you can play the sister
course after noon with in the same week for $50. We expect to have a great fall season.”
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
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. 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 sister track, which makes it more
suitable for seniors and mid handicappers. Number 18 is a great finishing hole,
a 534-yard par-five that can be reached in two by big hitters.
The 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.
Nicklaus did a wonderful job reshaping Ocean Edge,
which is part of a resort amenity package that includes a luxurious hotel 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.
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.
Falmouth Country Club is a town-owned club that has
27 holes of great golf--an 18-hole, par-72 championship course and the
nine-hole “Talon” layout that appeals to players of all abilities, especially
seniors, ladies and juniors.
FCC’s holes have a “Carolina” feel, and it is real
treat to play here during autumn when the warm breezes blow off the Atlantic
Ocean and the sun bounces off the tall pines that line much of the layout.
FCC’s Championship Course plays 6,665 yards from the
tips and has a par of 72. There is a nice mix of short, mid-length and long
par-fours that will have you hitting every club in your bag, both off the tees
and on approaches to the medium-sized greens.
There are three par-fives on the back side of the
Championship Course, including the 500-yard 15th, which can be
reached in two by long hitters.
You might catch a glimpse of a pair of ospreys
patrolling the water from their nest near the 10th hole. Sprays of
beach grass that lines the bunkers on the 151-yard par-three 12th
hole give the setting a feel of seaside links golf.
The Talon Course plays 3,455 yards from the tips
and, despite its reputation as a “family” course, the track has quite a bit of
bite, such as the monstrous, 495-yard par-four first hole. The fourth hole, a
295-yard par-four, can be reached by the big boppers.