Course 64 in my quest to play them all was The Pines course at The International in Bolton, MA.
The Pines is slated to be completely redesigned after the 2022 golf season by Coore/Crenshaw, so I'm glad I got to play it before it becomes a brand new course. ⠀
The Pines is on some really great land, with rolling hills that are dotted with big bunkers. True to the course's name, trees play a big part of the design, as most holes require accuracy off the tee to provide clear views into the massive, undulating greens. ⠀
The 17th hole is probably my favorite on the course. A blind tee shot to a fairway falling from right to left. The green is perched up in a little hollow of trees. ⠀
The closing stretch in general is pretty solid. The 16th is a challenging par 3, the 17th is the strongest par 4, and the 18th is a long, dogleg right par 5 to a severe green.⠀
For the most part, the memorable holes at The Pines are more for the dramatic flair than pure design quality. Long par 5s like the 5th or 11th that twist through trees or wrap around bunkers will stick in the mind. Or the long par 3s like the 7th and 16th with forced carries. There are plenty of holes that end with incredibly huge greens.⠀
I like the front nine better than the back, even with the good finishing three holes. They are far better than the rest of the holes on that side. The front is more varied and a bit less impacted by the trees. ⠀
The hospitality is exceptional at The International. We had a cart driven to our car at arrival. Water, Gatorade, and snacks were scattered about the course in coolers. The staff were friendly. While the range was closed, the short game area is second to none.⠀
The International's future is going to look very different with the plans that are in place to turn it into a true golf destination by Escalante, who swooped in and saved The International following bankruptcy.
For the sake of comparison, if you have a chance to play The Pines this fall or next year, go check it out! Then make your way back to see the new course!