The mild days and cool nights on Cape Cod, Massachusetts keep golf course turf green and lush, even after the hot summer we had. And there is perhaps not a better place to play the game we love at this time of year than on this peninsula on the southeastern tip of the Bay State.
There are myriad courses located within an hour or two-hour drive from wherever you settle down for the night. From championship 18-hole layouts, resort courses and charming, old nine-hole tracks, The Cape offers myriad golf options. Because of the close proximity to the warming waters of the Atlantic ocean, Cape Cod remains fairly mild throughout the year and courses will remain open year-round weather permitting.
When not banging drives or hitting seven-irons stiff to the pin, you can get away from it all on the beaches (quiet at this time of year), hiking trails, and shopping in cozy villages. Check out the numerous seafood restaurants and lobster shanties, where you can sample freshly-caught seafood and enjoy a beverage while sitting on a picnic table and gazing out into a harbor or the rolling ocean waves.
The National Seashore and its very informative visitor’s center, as well as a number of wildlife sanctuaries, feature miles of walking and biking trails and unfettered strolls along the beach. And it’s easy to find suitable accommodations, whether it is on the ocean or bay side of The Cape, a posh hotel in Chatham or a weathered cottage in the dunes in Wellfleet.
Thanks to Golfing Magazine’s comprehensive Course Play Stimulus Program, our subscribers can try out a number of courses on Cape Cod. Check out the details of this can’t miss offer in this issue. Call 860-563-1633, or visit www.FreeGolf.net to sign up.
Here are some courses to play on your autumn Cape Cod road trip.
Yarmouth is home to 45 holes of golf that encompasses the newly renovated Bayberry Hills Golf Course, the Links 9, and Bass River Golf Course.
The work at Bayberry Hills Golf Course (www.GolfYarmouthCapeCod.com) was undertaken by Tim Gerrish of Providence, R.I., a former member of the Geoffrey Cornish/Brian Silva team that laid out the track in 1988. Changes were made to make the nearly 7,300-yard course friendlier to the average golfer, yet maintain or even enhance the course’s challenge to the low handicap player.
Bunkers were re-positioned to enhance play options, and others replaced with closely mown collection areas on some holes, providing multiple options for greenside recoveries, fairway corridors have been widened, and green surrounds have been expanded.
Rough areas in the front of greens have been replaced by tightly mown fairway to create the illusion of false fronts in many cases. Fairway corridors were widened and tree lines thinned, allowing for recovery shots where previously none existed. This feature, accomplished through the removal of over 3,000 trees, provides enhanced course playability, along with a vast improvement in aesthetics and added panoramic course views.
The course’s original bunkers were also re-built to reduce sand area, while maintaining proper proportions and enhancing the original style. The bunkers were lined with pervious capillary concrete that allowed dramatic sand flashing, while reducing bunker face maintenance.
Forward teeing areas on four holes were added for more options in course setup and to provide additional user friendliness. Three tees were re-surfaced, including a new championship tee on number three (a par three), stretching the course to nearly 7,300 yards. In some cases, tees were located for better playability, and on other holes additional playing surface was added to provide varied play lines and more tee placements.
The Links 9, which is on the property at Bayberry, opened in 1999 and is a fun layout, with wide open fairways, solid par-threes and exposure to the Cape’s wind, which makes the course play different from day to day. 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 an accurate shot over water to reach the green.
Bass River Golf Course (www.GolfYarmouthCapeCod.com) is over100 years old that the legendary Donald Ross renovated and expanded. The layout rolls along 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 par-three that plays across the river. The layout is on the short side, but the holes demand good shot making and a good short game, a typical Donald Ross demand on the player.
The Captains Golf Course (TheCaptainsGolfCCourse.com) in Brewster features 36 holes of golf on two very distinct 18-hole layouts. The club calls itself the Cape’s premier public golf facility, and the conditioning here is always excellent, and the golf challenging but approachable for players of all abilities.
The Port Course 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. One of the best holes 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” than its sister layout, with wider fairways, large greens, and fewer bunkers than the Port Course, which makes it more suitable for mid- and higher handicap players. Number 18 is a great finishing hole, a 534-yard par-five that can be reached in two by big hitters.
Dennis Highlands Golf Course (www.DennisGolf.com), in the town of Dennis, is situated on 175 acres of pine and oak forest on the north side of Dennis. Designed by Jack Kidwell and Mike Hurdzan and opened for play in 1984, Dennis Highlands is considered by some to be one of the “crown jewels” in the traditional list of fine Cape Cod golf courses. It boasts a spectacular practice range and offers a visually enjoyable golf experience.
Dennis Pines Golf Course (www.DennisGolf.com) is located on 170 acres of pine forestland in East Dennis. Designed by Henry C. Mitchell and opened for play in 1966, Dennis Pines has long been noted as one of the toughest layouts on Cape Cod. Tree-lined corridors place a great premium on accuracy rather than distance. Water comes into play on four holes, and the 12th hole is known as one of the most difficult par-fives anywhere. The Pines plays 7,029 yards from the tips and will provide the most accomplished players a true test of golf.
The Club at New Seabury (www.NewSeabury.com) is a great place to visit and stay for awhile at this time of year. Stunning ocean views frame the 1,500-acre property, which boasts two recently renovated championship golf courses and Sea Quarters accommodations. Whether you are visiting, exploring a club membership or second/new home, The Club at New Seabury offers it all. The premier private golf community boasts resort amenities, as well as fine and casual dining, all with spectacular views of Nantucket Sound.
Golf enthusiasts will love the Ocean (amazing views) and Dunes courses and also have unlimited use of the resort’s practice facility and professional instruction. If you want to complement your golf experience with other recreational interests, there is no shortage of activities at New Seabury. If you stay on property, you can dine at the upscale 95 Shore restaurant and bar, visit The Sand Wedge Bistro for breakfast and lunch, or check out nearby classic Cape Cod venues.
Visit www.CapeCodChamber.org for information.