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Last year, we began encouraging golfers from across the state to consider taking their golf vacations here, in Massachusetts. And with that, the Golf Staycation was born. You might be wondering ‘What is a Golf Staycation’ – it is simply using a vacation day (or two) to explore different public courses across the state.
If you are anything like me, teeing it up just a few steps away from the back terrace of a historic Mansion is a fascinating concept. Little did I know, you can do just that at Wyndhurst Manor & Club, situated in the Berkshires. Just a 90-minute ride from I-495, the town of Lenox became known as “Inland Newport” in the early 1900s thanks to dozens of millionaires choosing the area for their summer retreats.
While I was only on property for 22 hours, I came away with a notebook full of stories and experiences, a cell phone full of photos and videos, and burning desire to make a return trip soon. As I scour through my notes in an effort to identify the greatest takeaway from this trip, it continues to become more clear – Wyndhurst is the perfect golf destination. I know, you’re probably thinking – Woah! Perfect!? It’s true, and let me explain why…
There are a few reasons why I find Wyndhurst Manor & Club as the perfect golf destination. The main reason is this: Because it has both a golf course and resort & spa, it has something for everyone. In looking through the 44-page activity book that you receive upon arrival, some of the non-golf activities available include: spa treatments, pools, 60+ outdoor & adventure activities, culinary & nutrition activities, farm & garden activities, and pages of different wellbeing activities.
If you want to schedule a couple’s getaway, but your loved one doesn’t play, they have you covered. While on site, I played two rounds of golf, one taking 2 hours 10 minutes and the other taking 2 hours 20 minutes. One person plays golf, the other enjoys a spa day or another activity. Both come away happy. Win-Win.
If you are traveling with a (golf) beginner, they have you covered. With tee sets ranging from 4,700 yards to 6,400 yards every level of golfer can get what they’re looking for. In recent years the club has created new forward tees on many of the more difficult holes to help increase the level of enjoyment. And with a team of golf instructors on-site, they can help get you course-ready.
If you want to schedule a golf getaway with friends, they have you covered. While I’m sure the course could be enjoyed in one trip around, I found myself saying “I want another shot at it” after making my first go ‘round. With all the different risk-reward holes scattered across the course, figuring out which holes are green-light and which ones should be played cautiously can only be learned. And sure, playing 4 different courses over 4 days can be fun, but I find that shooting great scores can be even more fun.
If you want a solo golf getaway, they have you covered. This is the way I experience the course, and as you’ll read later, I was happily waved through many times. The friendly staff can also set you up with other golfers if you’re looking for some company.
For those looking to play three rounds of golf with a two-night stay, it’s worth checking out Wyndhurst’s new Stay & Play Package. Just select 2-night mid-week stay here and you’ll see an option for the offer.
Lucky for me, and golfers across the state, the surrounding property of the boutique-style Mansion was converted into an 18-hole golf course. Designed by Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek in 1926, the course was finished a year before Taconic Golf Club, also a Stiles/Van Kleek design. While it doesn’t have the sheer size that Taconic has, Wyndhurst proudly boasts design features created by the same hands that sculpted Williamstown’s prized track.
Even in the middle of a sizzling heat wave, the course still displayed and played beautifully. For many, the first view of the course will likely be holes 1 & 18 as you make your way into this spectacular Gilded Age setting. But for those who don’t follow directions (me), the first glimpse might be of holes 10-12. In accidentally stumbling upon these holes, my first reaction was – Woah! The course was bright green, lush, healthy and manicured with a stripped mowing pattern that could trick you into thinking you were at Fenway Park. The bunkers (or at least the half dozen that I visited) were also well-maintained, filled with a heavier sand than I’m used to playing and added to the visual experience.
The greens. I could go on forever talking about the putting surfaces at Wyndhurst. They fall into the visually appealing category, the well-maintained category, and most notably the ‘must be learned’ category. It took me a good 9 holes to figure out basics of these greens. The greens are small in size but not in character and are kept at that perfect speed – not too slow, but not too fast either. They have their fair share of undulations, false fronts, shoulders, and closely mown collection areas. I found that any chip from above the hole was next to impossible to cozy up close. And any uphill putt needed to be hit with twice the weight of what your mind tells you. And one helpful tip – hit some practice chips before heading onto the course – with the small targets, you’ll certainly be faced with a few throughout your round.
To steal a few words “Reflecting the glow of its Gilded Age origins, the boutique-style Mansion has overlooked this countryside for more than a century. The brick Mansion features 11 newly renovated guestrooms and suites.” Being a frequenter of the Newport Mansions, it was a treat to have the opportunity to stay in similar summer cottage to those along the Cliff Walk. The only difference I could find was that the ocean view was replaced with those of the beautiful Berkshires.
When on property, there is a sense of elegance around every corner. The art collection displayed along the hallways, the spacious sitting rooms, the throw-back style bar room, the outdoor balconies, they all allow you to escape from the normalcy of everyday life.
Intrigued? Take a visit to Wyndhurst Manor & Club
Talk About On-Brand – The sound used for alerts on the golf cart GPS is a classic doorbell
Best Photo Op – First tee, Mansion in the background.
Hit Driver Here – Hole 1 – Aim anywhere and give it a rip, there’s more space than you think
Don’t Hit Driver Here – Holes 3 & 4, but especially 3 as a missed green turns into a lost ball
Surprised to Hear – Because of the grand setting, people often shy away thinking it’s a private course.
Course Record – Since the course was lengthened in 2015 the new record is 68, held by Luke Salvatore, even though he was shy to admit that holds the record. The old record (before lengthened) was 65.
The Locals – Friendly and aware. With no exaggeration, every group I came upon while on the course waved me through immediately…and with a smile on their face. Never have I found a place where it was so easy to cruise around solo.
Pace of Play – I played two rounds, one took 2h 10m, the other took 2h 20m. (Rounds played Monday & Tuesday)
Favorite Hole – The par-5 11th hole gives you the opportunity to take two stress-free swings in trying to get home in two. The hole plays up towards the Beechers Cottage.
Most Unique Hole Feature – The par-3 12th hole, which is guarded by a giant tree, overhanging the left front of the green. (Photo in gallery below)
Talking Golf – I had the chance to sit and talk golf with Luke Salvatore (Dir. of Golf) for a solid 45 minutes and my only regret is that much of our conversation didn’t find its way into the story. If you make the trip to Wyndhurst, and want to talk golf/strategy/design, hunt down Luke.
What’s That Hat? – It’s the official Massachusetts Golf Staycation hat. The only way to get one is to join me for a round. More details coming soon.
1 p.m. – Departure from Marlborough
3 p.m. – Arrival at Wyndhurst & Check-In
3:40 p.m. – Round 1
6 p.m. – Round 1 complete
6:30 p.m. – Dinner on the Terrace
10 a.m. – Round 2
12:10 p.m. – Round 2 complete
12:30 p.m. – Lunch
1 p.m. – Depart from Wyndhurst
3 p.m. – Arrival in Marlborough
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HAVE AN IDEA FOR OUR NEXT TRIP?
Have an idea? Want me to visit your course? Send your ideas for a special day of golf and I might show up – firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Special Thank You to Chanel, Luke and Chris for helping making this journey possible.