Whether you’re an experienced golfer or a newbie, there’s no shortage of great places to play on the South Shore. Offering championship tees, spectacular scenery and numerous amenities, here’s a glimpse at nine of our favorite courses– no membership required.By Richard Trust | Above photo by Niserin
450 Little Sandy Pond Road, South Plymouth
Four tee locations at each hole make Atlantic Country Club comfortable for golfers at any level of expertise.
Players driving from the back tees have 6,728 yards of distance to negotiate; from the front tees it’s 4,918 yards. The course opened in the fall of 1994 and is tucked away some 2½ miles off Route 3, down a winding road—free from traffic and distractions. When you’re at Atlantic, you know you’re there to play golf.
101 Jefferson Street, Braintree
Location, layout and superb condition of the course give Braintree a huge legion of loyal players. Three rivers run through this scenic piece of real estate visited not only by golfers but by deer, coyote, fox, geese and whatever else nature provides du jour. There’s a lot of water, rendering accuracy a necessary premium.
The many big greens leave room for chip and run. After they finish, golfers are often quick to reserve their next tee time because they believe they could do better.
Holes: 27; semi-private
100 Quarry Hills Drive; Quincy
With Granite Links offering 27 holes with links-style design and varying elevations, it’s up to golfers to choose two sets of nines to build their rounds of 18. One of the most intriguing holes is Granite Course No. 9. Driving off the back tee, confident players face a carry of 175-180 yards over a quarry. Golfers electing to drive from the shorter three tees don’t need to carry the quarry but could face a fairway bunker.
Situated just a few miles south of Boston, the course is ideally situated for city residents and visitors. Then there’s the signature backdrop at Granite Links: a spectacular view of the Boston skyline. You might forget the numbers you put on your scorecard, but you’ll always remember the sight of that skyline.
94 West Elm Street, Pembroke
There’s a lot more to like here since former Thayer Academy and National Hockey League star Jeremy Roenick bought Pembroke Country Club in 2009. He loved playing the course while growing up in Marshfield and now he loves owning it.
“It was really rundown when we took it over, now it’s one of the best layouts on the South Shore,” says Wally Roenick, Jeremy’s father and the club’s general manager. A lot of time and money went into rehabbing the fairways, greens and tee boxes. Wooded areas were cleaned out, making it easier to find stray balls and have clearer shots out of harm’s way. New irrigation and drainage render the course more playable now than when it was overgrown. Golfers who had abandoned the course on its downslide have returned in significant numbers. Players are back, and so is Pembroke.
Rees Jones Course — Nicklaus Design Course
54 Clubhouse Drive, Plymouth, 866-855-4653
There are two courses at The Pinehills, designed by Rees Jones and Nicklaus Design.
John Tuffin, Pinehills’ director of golf says both courses were created to provide “the finest daily-fee golf experience in New England.” Those who frequent either or both might agree that has been achieved.
Rees Jones Course at The Pinehills
The Jones Course, which opened first in 2001, is slightly more difficult than the Nicklaus and a bit more of a premium is placed on accuracy off the tee with a lot of large, sweeping fairway bunkers. A standout feature of both courses is that each hole has five sets of tees, so championship golfers can drive from the back tees and get as stern a test as they want. The difference between the back and front tees is almost 2,000 yards, a figure reflective of accommodating players at all skill levels.
Nicklaus Design Course at The Pinehills
Opened in 2002 to complement the Rees Jones Course, the Nicklaus gives The Pinehills a second world-class championship daily-fee course, for which there is a growing demand, based on the number of scheduled tee times. The Nicklaus Course is slightly more forgiving off the tee, with more of an importance placed on approach shots to the greens. There’s a little more undulation on the Nicklaus greens, and getting on the correct side of the pin is more beneficial than on the Jones Course.
Tuffin is proud of the user-friendly approach taken at The Pinehills courses. “From the time you pull up to the bag drop to the time you leave, it’s a five-star experience. The service, the course conditions, the layout, food and beverage afterwards,” he says, are first-rate.
274 South Street, Hingham
South Shore Country Club is being restored one bunker and one tee box at a time, referencing old photos in order to achieve a look and feel that is reminiscent of the golf course when it was built in 1922. Owned and operated by the town, the course is an easy walk from the West Hingham commuter rail station and can be enjoyed as much by a competitive, low-handicap golfer as a beginner.
South Shore is fairly generous off the tee, but a tad more imagination is needed once you’re on the green. Most of the greens are elevated and small, and all of them might look like they’re flat to the naked eye, but they all have some measurable break. Overall, head pro Chris Riley says, “We pride ourselves on being a public course with private course-like conditions.”
444 Long Pond Road, Plymouth
Waverly Oaks used to have 27 holes, now it has 18. Actually, it has 24–three to be used by residents of new on-site housing and three others as a short-game practice area for dwellers of the home sites that will number 83 when construction is completed.
The Plymouth course is fair and playable with wide, forgiving fairways on a layout that is always in great condition. The club is situated on an eye-catching 250 acres with 100 feet of elevation change. The goal when it was founded in 1998 was to bring private club conditions and service to the public. Today, the course is considered a high-end, daily-fee course, which is noticeable in the details. “We have gentlemen who will unload your bags from your car and get them set up on your cart,” says owner and general manager Mark Ridder. “When you’re done, they’ll take your bag, clean your clubs and load them back into your car. That’s very different from the typical public golf club.”
250 Driftway, Scituate
The tight confines of the oft-windy, town-owned course built on only 100 acres, with its range of trees and shrubs amid a rocky topography, require players to be straight shooters. As Bob Sanderson, the golf professional at Widow’s Walk since it opened in 1997, is wont to say, “It’s a course that favors brains over brawn and precision over power.”
Several ravines and water hazards can gobble up golf balls on errant shots from the big hitters’ back tees, but many lost balls can be avoided by driving from tee blocks more appropriate for lesser bangers. Widow’s Walk was designed as an environmentally friendly course that lays bare undisturbed wetlands and each hole built to coexist with the land’s natural resources. The golf course is on the former site of Boston Sand & Gravel. Earth was hauled in, grass seed was planted and, with the impetus of a 20-year, $380,000 municipal bond that expired this year, Widow’s Walk was born.
In Scituate, where you expect ocean views even from your golf course, they are delivered at Widow’s Walk. Not only is the Atlantic Ocean visible from certain vantage points, you also get a close-up look at the North River. A Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, Widow’s Walk attracts bluebirds, hawks, osprey, great horned and screech owls, geese, and wild turkeys. Four-legged interlopers include deer, red foxes, rabbits, and even coyotes and fisher cats.
More public courses to check out:
Brookmeadow Country Club
100 Everendon Road
Cedar Hills Golf Course
1137 Park Street
Crosswinds Golf Club
424 Long Pond Road
D.W. Field Golf Course
331 Oak Street
Furnace Brook Golf Club
*Semi-private, open to public
20 Reservoir Road
Green Harbor Golf Club
624 Webster Street
Harmon Golf and Fitness Club
168 Concord Street
North Hill Country Club
29 Merry Avenue
Olde Scotland Links
695 Pine Street
Pine Oaks Golf Course
68 Prospect Street
Ponkapoag Golf Courses 1 and 2
2167 Washington Street
Presidents Golf Course
357 West Squantum Street
Ridder Farm Golf Course
390 Oak Street
River Bend Country Club
250 East Center Street
Rockland Golf Course
276 Plain Street
Southers Marsh Golf Club
30 Southers Marsh Lane
Squirrel Run Golf Club
32 Elderberry Drive
Strawberry Valley Golf Course
164 Washington Street
Village Links Golf Club
265 South Meadow Road
Weathervane Golf Club
*Semi-private, open to public
14 Sandtrap Circle
White Pines Golf Course
549 Copeland Street