One of the most interesting and historic resort courses in New England is nestled the rolling hills of the Berkshires of western, Ma.
The Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club,
located in Lenox, was built during the lavish days of the Gilded Age and welcomed wealthy industrialists and writers of the day. Frederick Law Olmstead, the man who created New York City’s Central Park, was commissioned to design the grounds at what was then a mansion called Wyndhurst owned by the furniture baron John Sloane.
Cranwell’s 18-hole course was designed by Wayne Styles and John Van Kleek in 1926. This is a picturesque, traditional New England resort course routed over the hills surrounding the resort and through mature woodlands of the area.
Here, you will be treated to magnificent views, tree-lined fairways and naturally contoured greens that have been carefully preserved in the more than 80 years since the course was built. In addition to being awarded a Four Star Rating in Golf Digest 2008-09 “Best Places to Play,” the course also received the SpaFinder Reader’s Choice Award “Best Spa for Golf” and “The Best of Northeast Golf” Reader’s Choice Award.
Cranwell’s resort complex, having had much of it original grandeur restored, offers a relaxed and elegant approach to life with a new spa opening in doors in 2002.
In addition to the award-wining golf course, there’s an extensive golf practice facility on the premises manned by PGA pros.
The resort recently undertook considerable renovations to its classic course. Work completed includes edged bunkers
throughout the course, trimmed trees, widening of the road and a new drainage ditch between holes12 and 13.
Previously rough cart paths have been smoothed, and an enlarged cart path at the 10th green was built with a new walk-path to green. The 15th hole’s greenside bunker was also excavated with new drainage and sand.
According to superintendent Tony Moore, “The course faired the winter very well last year and along with these improvements, we are expecting another great season of golf in the Berkshires.”
Moore was a significant hire for the resort. Prior to joining Cranwell in 2006, he held assistant superintendent positions at various well-known courses throughout the Northeast including Fox Hopyard in Connecticut, Bethpage State Park–Black Course (host of the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open Golf Championships), Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack, N.Y., and Wentworth-by-the-Sea Country Club in N.H. He holds a BS in Plant and Soil Sciences, as well as AAS in Turfgrass Management, both from the University of Massachusetts.
Moore and his staff keep the course in superb condition throughout the season and it is full of great holes. The fifth, a 233-yard par-three, is one of the most demanding short holes in the area and is the only one on the layout on which you will find water.
You had better score well on the front side because the inward nine is much more difficult, with several brutal par-fours and some very good par-threes waiting. The 11th is one of the course’s signature holes, a 200-yard par-three that plays from a chute of trees to a severely slopped green. Huge bunkers guard the putting surface.
The course is open to the public, or golfers can purchase a membership that includes advance tee times, unlimited driving range privileges, discounted access to the Spa at Cranwell and pool, as well as shopping and dining discounts.
The course is also host to many corporate and association outings,
fundraising tournaments and social retreats.