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With the uncertainty around travel this summer, we are encouraging our Mass Golfers to consider a Massachusetts Golf Staycation this year. What is a Golf Staycation? It’s using a vacation day (or several vacation days) on golf, right here in the Bay State. We can assure you that everything you enjoy about a golf trip can be experienced right here in Massachusetts.
Trip #2 – Play Golf All Day For Just $25 (By: Stephen Hanjack)
If you are looking for the best deal/value in all of golf, you have come to the right place. On Trip #2 of our Massachusetts Golf Staycation, I discovered THE greatest value in all of golf – a $25 greens fee that is good for the entire day. You read that right – all you can play in a day for just $25. At Springfield’s two Municipal Golf Courses – Veteran’s Memorial GC and Franconia GC, this deal is good throughout the year. No limitations, no gimmicks, just an entire day of golf for the price of a hat.
While TRIP #1 was more about the travel and knocking out different courses, TRIP #2 was about one thing – playing golf. One of the best parts about this deal is that it is the standard rate, no special codes or secret (air) handshakes are needed. All you need to do is call and book your tee time(s) for the day. Because of the COVID-19 Guidelines, tee times are needed for all rounds of golf, which adds to the fun of it. Planning out the day, guessing on the time each round will take, and estimating how much golf you have in you. Luckily, Veteran’s has one of the nicest staffs around and made this process easy from start to finish. I had the chance to meet most of the staff and they made me (and every other guest for that matter) feel right at home. They were happy to chat about their course, other courses, weather, the history of the area, where you’re from and anything else under the sun.
GUESSING HOW MANY HOLES YOU WILL PLAY & BOOKING TEE TIMES
For me, 36 holes would be plenty on this hot and humid Monday. And with thunderstorms expected in the early afternoon, it was a perfect excuse to put a limit on how much golf I would play. With tee times starting at 8 a.m., I grabbed the 8:20 time and after doing some calculations, booked my second round for 12 noon. What I didn’t expect was some of the fastest golf I’ve ever played. Since the first group out was 3 regulars (the pro shop guys), they were off and running just before 8 a.m., which allowed me to peg it right at 8 a.m. as a single walker. Pace of play was absolutely NOT an issue on this day, as I made the turn in an hour and 13 minutes. Thanks to the rising temperature and humidity, my pace was a little slower on the back, but I was able to complete my round just after 10:30 a.m. After a quick stop for a hot dog and diet coke, I was able to move my noon tee time up to 11:10 a.m. and head back out there for another round. Again, I can’t speak highly enough about how nice the staff was and how helpful they were in making sure I enjoyed the day. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it’s amazing how friendly staff members can influence your day. On a day where I wasn’t playing well, they helped take the sting out the double and triple-bogeys.
COURSE LAYOUT AND CONDITIONS
One of the things locals will tell you is just how green the courses are at Veterans and Franconia. In what has been a hot and dry summer, it’s not unusual to find courses in Massachusetts with a bit more yellow and brown around the course. However, after spending the day at Vets, I can assure you the course is green and lush. To go along with these healthy conditions is a fantastic layout that makes for a proper test of golf. There are holes that favor right-to-left players (6, 14, 17), holes that favor left-to-right players (3, 10, 11), long holes, short holes and everything in between.
Veteran’s Memorial Golf Course
Designed By: Geoffrey Cornish, ASGCA
Opened in 1964
Blue – 6,433 (71.0/125)
White – 5,901 (M 67.8/121, W 73.5/129)
Gold – 4,810 (M 63.9/101, W 67.9/120)
RAIN FOREST, CAROLINA AND TORNADO VIBES
Generally speaking, the front nine is a bit more open, with more holes playing adjacent to each other. The back nine starts with a pair of tough par 4s, playing in what feels like a rain forest setting. The vegetation (along with hot/humid conditions on this day) on 10 tee and 11 tee, combined with the streams and bridges you cross after finishing 11, really gave rain forest vibes. Holes 13, 16 and 17 give more of a Carolina or Cape feel with the tall thin pine trees that line the fairways. And holes 14 and 15 look completely different than they did 10 years ago thanks to the 2011 tornado that ran wild through the Springfield area, leaving its mark through this part of the course.
A CELEBRATION OF GOLF AND PEOPLE
My final thought on this trip is something that I would not have been able to talk about if I had not actually visited in person. As I looked around throughout the day, I had one major takeaway about the beauty of Municipal Golf – it is a celebration of golf and a celebration of people. I saw fathers and daughters, married couples, older players, younger players, ladies’ leagues, First Tee of Massachusetts members, causal players, serious players, backwards hats, bucket hats, every color golf ball you can imagine…and most importantly A SMILE ON EVERYBODY’S FACE. Every person I saw was out there for a different reason, with different goals, and different looks, but they all shared one thing – a love of the game. Golf is a magical thing that can bring us all together.
Favorite Hole – 9, risk-reward par-5, elevated tee shot, pond in front of the green.
Toughest Hole – 6 (from the blues). I can see a lot of people picking 10 or 11 though.
Oddest Thing To Find – A $1 Foxwoods Chip (Classic Lou, leaving that behind!)
Food – Hot Dogs were perfect…had to make a stop for one more before leaving.
Holes Played – 32, part of the beauty of this deal is skipping a few holes if you feel like it.
Random Thing That Made Me Smile – Seeing the guy out there before the first tee time, fishing balls out of the pond.
Score – Rather not talk about it, lol
Fastest Round – 2:37 (walking)
Friendly Staff? – Yup
Hit Every Club In The Bag? – Yup
Balls Lost – 2, 1 during play, 1 tossed into the pond on 18. If you read TRIP #1, you’ll know that’s becoming my thing.
INTERESTED IN PLAYING?
Does this sound like your type of trip? Book A Tee Time at Veteran’s Memorial Golf Course or Franconia Golf Course.
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Massachusetts Golf Staycation – Trip #2 will be released tomorrow. Until then, here's a sneak peek at what we saw. 🌪 Of note: In the 3rd photo, the tree line in the distance is now U-shaped rather than straight across. This is just one of the spots where the Tornado of 2011 left its mark on the course. #MassGolf #PlayMassGolf #GolfStaycation
HAVE AN IDEA? WANT US TO VISIT YOUR COURSE?
Send your ideas for a special day of golf and we might just show up – firstname.lastname@example.org