Indeed, New England can be called the cradle for American golf as the region is home to some of the oldest and most historic courses on this side of the Atlantic. Here’s our list of the best New England golf courses that you can play across the region’s six states.
From the coastal town of Stonington to the Hartford suburb of Bloomfield, and Hebron in between, Connecticut has several golf courses worth exploring.
Gilead Highlands is one of two public courses at Blackledge Country Club in Hebron, Connecticut. This championship-level course emphasizes the area’s natural rolling hills, with numerous elevation changes to challenge any golfer's decision-making. It is well known for its lovely forested surroundings, and the best time to enjoy it is during peak fall colors.
The North Course is one of the two courses managed by the world-renowned Troon at Lake of Isles. The course features both the heavily wooded Connecticut countryside and a 90-acre lake. Elevation changes and several undulating greens make for a serious challenge, while multiple tee boxes help accommodate less skilled golfers.
Image: Courtesy of Wintonbury Hills Golf Club
If relaxed golf is your cup of tea, then Wintonbury Hills in Bloomfield, Connecticut, is the place for you. A 6,711-yard Pete Dye design, Wintonbury Hills combines an open links-style and traditional tree-lined holes. This par-70 track will challenge golfers yet present an enjoyable round of golf.
Maine is known as Vacationland, and there are enough golf courses in the state to full several vacations. Here are a couple of Maine’s best.
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Belgrade Lakes Golf Club fits perfectly on 240-acres that feature rolling, tree-lined fairways, white granite outcroppings, and old-style cross bunkering throughout. British architect Clive Clark gave players a variety of hole layouts with photo-worthy par-3s, short but challenging par-5s, and those tricky par-4s — completing former owner Harold Alfond’s dream of having a golf club for the people.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., Sunday River Golf Club has long been considered one of the top courses in Maine. Sunday River's attraction is more than its breathtaking mountain views. The course features many challenging holes to test the most skilled golfers with deep bunkers and elevation changes.
Between The Country Club, TPC Boston, Worcester Country Club and Myopia Hunt Club, Massachusetts golf courses have hosted plenty of U.S. Opens, Ryder Cups and PGA Tour playoffs. But Massachusetts offers a wealth of public courses that anyone can play. Here are some of the very best.
The delightfully named Crumpin-Fox Club opened in 1969, but multiple updates since then have turned it into a modern woodlands course. Known for the immaculate conditions and its challenging elevation changes, Crumpin-Fox is best enjoyed by golfers with confident shotmaking abilities. It has consistently ranked in numerous top 100 lists, and no golfer should overlook this track while traveling through New England.
First formed in 1893, the Segregansett Country Club is a formerly private, now semi-private course located in Taunton, Massachusetts. Local golfers love the course for its challenging layout and immaculate greens and fairways, as well as the relaxing atmosphere of the country club. Golfers should expect deep bunkers, a few turtle-back greens, and forced carries to challenge them throughout their round.
Wahconah Country Club is another of New England's semi-private courses that allow tourists to play its pristine fairways and greens. Built in 1929, Wahconah has a more wide-open front nine with a traditional New England narrow and wooded back nine to challenge golfers.
The Granite State is known for its beautiful fall foliage. What better way to experience the popping yellows, reds and oranges than from some of New Hampshire's best golf courses?
Brian Silva restored the 100-plus year-old Mount Washington Golf Course in 2008 using the original plans of the course’s first designer, Hall of Fame member Donald Ross. The result is a thoroughly faithful recreation of an early 20th-century course located at the Omni Mount Washington Resort.
Features include bunker shapes and depths that may seem odd to modern golfers but allow for a classic feel of a bygone era. The resort itself includes activities for everyone, even those who don’t enjoy a round of golf.
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A Jack Nicklaus-designed course, Owls Nest Resort and Golf Course features beautiful views of the White Mountains. Regardless of whether you’re a serious or casual golfer, this 6,819-yard track, will challenge you with elevation changes while offering top-notch conditions that show how fantastic New England golf can be. Less than two hours from Boston, Owl’s Nest has the charm and value to appease any player.
Established in 1895, North Conway Country Club provides a spectacular golf experience through the Mount Washington Valley. This par-71 championship layout has water hazards on five holes and bunkers sprinkled throughout the track.
Built as a nine-hole course in 1895, William Levy designed and added the final nine holes in 1975. Accuracy at North Conway is vital to a successful round, but regardless, North Conway CC screams New England golf and should be on everyone’s list.
Little is size but large in personality, Rhode Island golf courses are a microcosm of the state itself. Some of Donald Ross’ finest work resides in the Ocean State, and there is no shortage of breath-taking views from these Rhode Island gems.
A semi-private country club, Green Valley Country Club offers championship-level play in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Founded in 1957 by Manny Raposa, Green Valley will challenge golfers with several particularly long holes, including a 600-yard par-5 and a 240-yard par-3.
Raposa not only designed the original layout, but led the redesign efforts as well. Green Valley became an 18-hole course in 1966. Since then it has hosted major state amateur tournaments, the 1997 Rhode Island Open, and USGA qualifying tournaments.
Newport National is a gem of a public course. Designed by Arthur Hills, this links-style track features sloping fairways, marshes and strategically placed bunkers. This course has incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Sakonnet Passage, and will challenge players with the heavy winds coming off the Narragansett Bay.
A course that’ll likely remind you of those in Ireland and Scotland, Newport National offers a taste of that historical flavor. The front tees play at 5,217-yards and the tips at 7,244-yards.
The only true-public Donald Ross course in Rhode Island, Triggs Memorial, is a gem of a municipal course. At 6,522-yards, Ross put his stamp on it with problematic par-4s, reachable par-5s, and breathtaking New England beauties of par-3s. He designed the course to flow with the land's natural contours, but Triggs still includes some slight elevation and small green-side bunkers.
Triggs’ front-nine is relatively flat, but the back-nine features the larger elevation changes. There have been renovations, but for the most part, the club kept the beauty that Ross crafted in the early 1930s.
If you’re looking for a traditional New England golf vacation without the New England hustle and bustle, Vermont is the place for you. Here are some the finest Vermont courses you can play.
Fox Run Golf Club is a par-70, 6,500-yard championship layout that features bent grass greens and multiple tees for all levels of players. The course features rolling hills and moderate elevation changes which challenge golfers. Fox Run is a former qualifier spot for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, and this course is a feature piece of Vermont golf.
An original Walter Travis course, Rees Jones redesigned The Golf Club at Equinox in 1991 to bring it to contemporary standards. This track features incredible mountain views and screams New England beauty. Designed to test a player’s ability to hit a variety of shots, the Golf Club at Equinox is as a par-71 6,423-yard layout. Players will see undulating greens and strategic green-side bunkers while being tested to hit smart shots.
Woodstock Country Club boasts one of America's great courses located at the Woodstock Inn & Resort in rural Vermont. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., this championship-level course has been around since 1895.
Simply put, this is a country club that knows golf and provides one of the best experiences in America. Its challenging course has enough elevation changes, bunkers, and water hazards to satisfy even the most skillful scratch golfers.
While New England doesn’t get as many months of golf as some areas around the United States, the region features some stout tracks that any golfer can enjoy. From links-styles to parkland courses, New England courses are as unique as any.
Top Image: Courtesy of Crumpin-Fox Club