Course 83: Cape Ann GC



Cape Ann GC (Public)

Essex, MA

Played on July 23, 2022

Yardages: 4,424 - 5844 yards


Cape Ann is a delightful nine hole course set out on the marshes and overlooking Essex Bay.

It's a low-key spot with a small pro shop, friendly staff, and inviting Fairway Pub.

Anyone that learns to play at Cape Ann will learn to hit all sorts of various shots due to the wind and grass conditions. Our visit invited bump and run shots and various choices off the tees because of the firm ground. One shot that Cape Ann golfers will learn requires ignoring the flies that might bite you at the most inopportune time.

The opening two holes keep players close to the clubhouse, but a glimpse out toward the third and fourth holes hints at spectacular views once players crest the hill and get a look at the marsh.

The bunkering and some of the trees and views gave me the sense we were playing in an island paradise. Maybe it was just the searing summer sun.

The fourth hole wraps itself around the marsh, a tumbling par 4 that can leave a player breathless if the ball picks the proper line, bounces hard, and rolls to a stop far from its origin.

The seventh hole, a polarizing topic, is a long par three. The green sticks out into the marsh and requires an impossibly accurate shot to hit the tiny, sloped green. The blue tees can stretch to 250 yards.

Of the nine holes on the course, six have views of the marsh and four of them play along the edges of it.

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John Updike was known to play Cape Ann. In an interview with Gary Larabee Updike said of the course:

"Cape Ann is a more spacious course, with a wonderful high marsh view from the fourth tee, and an amusing tidal water hole for the seventh. It’s actually been improved since I began to play it 45 years ago, though the same family runs it. A nice low-pressure venue. I had my best round ever there: 38 on the first nine, and par 35 on the second, for a sparkling 73. I’m not sure I ever broke 80 again."

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The course was in great shape. We payed $28 for the twilight rate and played 18 holes.

A steal of a deal.

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