John F. Parker Memorial (public)
Date Played: November 5, 2022
Yardages: 4,477 - 6,609
There aren't many courses you can visit without a tee time and hit a tee shot within ten minutes of pulling on your golf shoes.
I played John F. Parker for its convenience. It was on the way back to Boston from Rhode Island, so I took a chance and they were happy to oblige.
I paid my 20 bucks (cash) at the bar (no pro shop here) and headed to the first tee. The outdoor patio had some locals shooting the breeze and playing cards. The course had a smattering of people on a Monday afternoon.
From the first tee, I thought the course was going to be tired and rundown. It was hard to tell where the fairway ended and the rough began. However, once I reached the second hole, I grew more impressed with the conditions of the fairways and greens (bunkers weren't great...). The fairways were in good shape and the
greens rolled pretty true.
The greens are simple throughout the nine holes - circular and small without much slope. The par-3 6th and the par-4 7th had the most interesting greens.
On three of the seven driving holes, you can see the flag from the tee box, so there is some good movement using doglegs and the slight land movement.
I'd say the par-5 fourth hole and the par-4 7th were the standout holes.
The reachable 4th bends to the right out of a tight shoot and uphill. The uphill approach is to a small green with a bunker that sits about 20 yards short of the green. Visually, you think you don't have much room, though. Players have to trust their yardage and club choice.
The 7th is a very cool short, downhill par 4. A small pond creeps out from the right and the green has some great mounding to the right side and the green is the most interesting on the course with some interior slope short-grass surrounds.
I found myself charmed by John F. Parker as it is exactly as advertized. It's certainly not going to blow anyone away or make me drive down from Boston to play again. And it’s rough around the edges. However, for Taunton to have a place where people can play golf for 20 bucks or learn the game at a course with some humps, hills, and hollows (along with a driving range) is great.