NE Golf Monthly - Granite Links Tops the South Shore
New England Golf Life - Playing Through the South Shore
Let's start at the top of the region:
Granite Links Golf Club at Quarry Hills in Quincy is the shining star of the area and should be a must play for golfers. A private club with limited public access, Granite Links earned distinction from Golf Digest as one of the top 10 best new courses in the country in 2004 and hosted the BJ's Charity Championship of the LPGA Legends Tour from 2005-08. The Tavern Restaurant at Granite Links was voted one of the Top 50 Best 19th Hole in America by Golf Digest in 2007. In February, Granite Links received more accolades when it was recognized as the 2010 Course of the Year for the New England section by the National Golf Course Owners Association. Two years ago, Granite Links became a 27-hole facility when it added nine Quincy holes in addition to the Milton and Granite nines. All three nines are interchangeable in order to play 18 holes, yet each offers a very different layout. The Granite nine is tight and compact with many blind shots while the Milton nine offers flare and drama with the Boston skyline visible in the background. The new Quincy nine is a nice addition with challenging changes in elevation.
Just a couple of towns due south along the coast lies Cohasset Golf Club, a classic Donald Ross design. Cohasset G.C.'s history dates back to 1894, and golf greats such as Bobby Jones and Francis Ouimet have played there. Even America's golf ambassador, Bob Hope, stopped by for a round when he visited the area. Currently undergoing renovations, Cohasset has remained an upper-echelon members club with a golf course that is always in immaculate condition. Its most recent claim to fame was hosting the Mass. Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship in 2007.
Black Rock Country Club in Hingham is one of Brian Silva's finest works among his wide variety of course layouts. Silva converted a former rock quarry into a architectural gem that requires a lot of thinking and nearly every shot in your bag. Right away, Black Rock made a name for itself by hosting the 2004 Mass. Women's Open and has now become a popular site to several celebrity and charity golf tournaments in recent years. Black Rock is also a nicely appointed residential community. Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield lives in a home alongside a back nine fairway.
The words "private and exclusive" are the superlatives used to describe both Boston Golf Club in Hingham and Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth. Motorized golf carts are not allowed at Boston Golf Club. It's walking only, and preferably with a caddie. Still, the club has garnered numerous national accolades for what is known as a truly amazing golfing experience. Boston G.C. also hosts the annual John D. Mineck Cup that features some of the region's best junior golfers during Deutsche Bank Championship week. The same can be said for Old Sandwich, which hit Golf Magazine's Top 100 list nationally in its first year, yet has a very limited membership. The club is is one tough course to get on if you're not a member and trying to work some connections. Former NHL goaltender Mike Dunham plays out of here.
Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton is a venerable, local private course with a never-ending string of some of the finest competitive amateur golfers in the Northeast for members. Thorny Lea was the boyhood home of famed golf writer Herbert Warren Wind, who coined the phrase "Amen Corner" for the 11-13 holes at Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters golf tournament. Thorny Lea also hosted the PGA National Assistants Championship in the late 1980's, as well as the 1988 Mass. Amateur Championship.
Harmon Golf & Fitness Club in Rockland represents the 21st century in American golf. There are only 9 competitive holes, but it provides everything else for a complete golfer's experience: nine-hole short course, 18-hole putting course, bunker complex, two-fairway grass driving range, 12-station heated driving range for the winter months, fitness center, and learning center for video swing analysis with launch-monitor equipment technology.
In addition to Old Sandwich G.C., the town of Plymouth has many more highlights besides Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower ship. Pinehills Golf Club is one of the busiest daily fee facilities in the state. It features 36 holes of golf with the Jones Course being a little more challenging than the user-friendly Nicklaus Course. Housing is sprinkled around both courses and should be high on the list for those wishing to live in a golf community.
Waverly Oaks Golf Club has figuratively risen from the dead. It was slated for a November 2009 closing to make way for the construction of Plymouth Rock Studios and the movie/entertainment business. The project has stalled for financial reasons, which is good news for golfers. It means this perennial, high-ranking public course is now open for business in 2010. Waverly is is another must-play course for golfers, particularly aficionados of Silva design.
The Bay Club - When it comes to design, The Bay Club in Mattapoisett is sometimes referred to as the "Brad Special.” It's a wonderful layout designed by both Brad Faxon and Brad Booth that, fortunately, has overcome some financial difficulties and is now on a better managerial path. The club hosted a national American Junior Golf Association event in the summer of 2008 and has also been the site of several tournament qualifying rounds in recent years. The course is both fun and challenging with a lot of hole variation. It is also a golf community featuring a high-end level of amenities plus some lovely homes within the development.