Bay State Picks: Public courses you can walk for under 60 bucks
Walking a good, interesting golf course is one of golf's delights. It's even more wonderful when the round is under $60 for 18 holes.
After playing a lot of courses around the state, here are a handful of courses you can walk for under 60 bucks that I think you'll enjoy.
In some instances, you might have to play at a certain point in the day to stay under that $60 threshold.
As usual, the only courses I include in my lists are one's I've played on my quest.
Bass River - Yarmouth, Mass.
Weekend: $57 (after 1pm)
So much Cape Cod golf feels the same. Pine tree lined holes with the smell of salt water as the only reminder that the ocean is close at hand. There isn't a lot of waterfront public golf on Cape Code (shoutout to Highland Links, which I have yet to play on my quest).
Bass River's holes range from boring to exciting. A few straight holes in the middle of the flat portions of the property aren't great, but when the ground is firm, they do force players to stop and think about what club they should hit.
The second hole is a challenging par 4 with a great downhill second shot into a green that's set into an amphitheater.
As the round comes to an end, players hit their shots into the 17th green with the Bass River in the background. The par-3 18th hole iplays over the Bass River. A nice way to end the round after beginning the day on a putting green with water views.
Cape Ann - Essex, Mass
Rates: $32/$45 (9 holes/18 holes)
This nine-holer is just a blast. The views of the marsh in Essex are beautiful. The fourth hole is one of my favorites in the state, as it curls along the marsh, giving players a sense of freedom to tee it high and let it fly. In the heat of the summer, Cape Ann is crispy and fast. Play late in the evening for a great sunset walk.
Cape Cod CC - Falmouth, Mass.
Fri-Sunday: $48 (after 2:30pm)
A Golden Age design. Devereux Emmet put together a course with some severe greens, cool bunkering, and a simple routing.
The 14th, known as the "Volcano Hole" is a stunning hole that has likely ruined a lot of hopes and dreams for a personal best score. False fronts and tough interior slopes on greens protect this rather short golf course.
D.W. Field - Brockton, Mass.
Some of the best greens you'll find at a municipal golf course. A no-frills public option south of Boston. The course has an old-school feel that is both charming and with a hint of Massachusetts grit.
The fourth hole is dynamite. Golfers can bomb the ball down close to the green or lay back for a full shot into a wild green that slopes from the back right to the front left.
The thirteenth is another hole that dazzles. A brute of a par 4 that curls to the right and uphill to a two-tiered green that slopes hard back to front.
Make sure you get there a little early or plan to stay after the round to take in the first tee vibes, as a small patio bristles with activity as players start their round.
Franklin Park and George Wright - Boston, Mass.
George Wright: Full review
Franklin Park: Full review
The two city courses have the same rates. I love both of them for different reasons.
Franklin Park is a more welcoming design for a wider array of golfers. It's wide open with some blind tees shots and patches of wispy long grass. The course has a true public feel as people walk the public pathways that surround the course. You might even have commuters cutting across the course on their way too or from work.
George Wright is a true ass-kicker. It's a big course that can be very hard the first time because the tee shots are blind and balls can get out of position (or lost) pretty quickly.
Kettle Brook - Paxton, Mass.
Weekend: $55 (after 1:00pm)
One of the brawnier courses on the list, Kettle Brook is a Brian Silva design with big bunkers, big greens, and some funky design aspects (trees in the middle of the fairway, for instance).
Overall, it's a very good course out in central Massachusetts that will challenge golfers and leave them strongly considering another visit.
Mt. Hood - Melrose, Mass.
Weekday: $49 (non-resident)
Weekend: $57 (non-resident)
Set up in the hills of Melrose, Mt. Hood traverses some challenging land. Views of Boston Harbor welcome golfers on the 12th tee box. Players can plot their way around Mt. Hood or try to overpower the rather short course. Stray tee shots can bound well off the course. A sharp short game goes a long way.
Sandy Burr - Wayland, Mass.
Weekday: $60 (from 7:30am -1:00 pm... $50 or less after 1:0opm)
Weekend: $60 (after 1:30pm... $50 after 3:30 pm)
Donald Ross' design begins with two par 5s. A great way to set the tone for the round. The first par 4 doesn't come until after the 100 yard par-3 third hole.
Sandy Burr is a simple, straightforward course with some driveable par 4s, a few target golf holes, short par 5s, and solid par 3s (especially the beastly 10th hole).
Wachusett - West Boylston, Mass.
Weekends: $55 (walking after 1pm)
Wachusett is at the top of my list of places I recommend to people looking for a public course that's a bit off the radar. This Donald Ross design is a simple walk, that will ask every player to hit a lot of different shots over the 18 holes.
The front nine straddles Prospect St. and plays on the more extreme piece of land, especially holes 5,6, and 7 that play down and then back up a big hill before players cross Prospect St. for the final 11 holes.
The stretch of holes 11-16 are the highlight, winding and weaving through tree lined fairways with some vintage Donald Ross greens and use of humps and hollows to put a premium on strategy and skill.