- Golfer Benefits
When you think of Massachusetts golf courses, distance isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. Rather it’s the history, changing seasons and classic golf course architecture that are the draw. Still, many of these courses have adapted as players hit the ball increasingly farther over time.
For more than 50 years, the Bay State was home to the longest 18-hole layout in the country: The Pines Course at The International in Bolton. When Robert Trent Jones Sr. redesigned the course in 1972 it stood as a par-73, 8,325-yard layout, with its signature hole being the 715-yard, par-5 5th hole, with an enormous two-acre green that measured almost 90 yards from front to back.
Coore and Crenshaw are now undergoing a renovation project to reimagine the Pines, including reining in some of its distance.
That got us thinking, where are the other long drives throughout the Bay State? It may surprise you that most of top 10 longest holes are at daily-fee, public courses. Here are six of the longest (in ascending order). Consider visiting these golf courses the next time you want to test your game from pro distances or simply tee it high and let it fly. There’s also many local attractions to check out near these courses.
Featuring bent grass fairways, greens and tees, Butternut Farm is home to impeccable conditions tucked halfway between Boston and Worcester on the old Pompositticut Plantation, home to the first European settlers in 1660. Pompositticut means “land of many hills” and this course lives up to the name.
Pro Tip: “Now that you had a drink and a hot dog at the turn, you make your way to the tee of a 625-yard, par-5 that could definitely play as a par-6. After two big hits you stand in the fairway and look 45 degrees downhill to a narrow green guarded in front by a pond…as if you have to guard a 625-yard hole. It’s a narrow fairway, impossible to reach in two. It could be one of the toughest holes you will ever play.” — Cole Page, Owner.
Architect: Robert Page III
Local Attraction: Apple Orchards. Stow is known for its orchards. In the fall, enjoy a nice round of golf followed by apple picking at Carver Hill, Small Farm, Derby Ridge Farms, Honey Pot Hill, One Stack Farm or Shelburne Farms.
Swansea Country Club is unique in its location alone. Nestled along the RI-MA border, this par-72 course offers a variety of yardages to the golf crowd, with its longest hole being No. 13. This is very likely a 3-shot hole, even for the longest hitters. On this hole, and many others, you’ll tee off in Rhode Island but grab your putter in Massachusetts. While testing your skills on the course, your family can enjoy the club pool or splash pad. In December 2021, The New England Golf Course Owners Association (NEGCOA) named Swansea its 2022 Chapter Course of the Year.
Pro Tip: “The oaks that frame the left side of the hole are closer than they appear from the tee. The hole rewards a fade from the tee.” — Swansea CC website.
Architect: Geoffrey Cornish
Local Attraction: Seekonk Grand Prix & Seekonk Speedway. Both places are just up the road to enjoy any need for speed or arcade adventure. In the other direction, the Fall River Historical Society and Battleship Cove are rich with history.
The historic town of Plymouth is home to Waverly Oaks Golf Club, an upscale, Golf Magazine Top 100 Course you can play. It is easily accessible from Boston, Cape Cod, and Providence. Offering four sets of tees, No. 16 can be played the longest at 636 yards.
Pro Tip: “No. 16 at Waverly Oaks Golf Club is named ‘Eternity.’ Like an infinity pool, the hole seems to fall off the edge of the world (which it kind of does). The safe play is to aim for the wide part of the fairway, short of the bunker on the right and abandon any thoughts of reaching the green in two. ‘Eternity’ is a very tough but very fun hole when you know how to play it. It’s usually best to play for three shots and a two-putt, but play aggressive when you hit a great tee shot. You’ll be rewarded with some good looks at birdie.” — Rick Veitch, Titleist.
Architect: Brian Silva
Local Attraction: Plymouth Rock. The most historic attraction in Plymouth is Plymouth Rock, traditional site of disembarkation of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Another outdoor attraction is Myles Standish State Forest, known for its hiking trails and easily accessible water activities.
Aptly called The Ski Hill, the 16th at The Ranch is arguably the most intimidating tee shot in Western Massachusetts. It is also one of the many risk-reward holes. The longest players can hit drives well over 350 yards if they get the correct bounce. Conservative players will hit less than driver to avoid the golf ball rolling into the left rough. After the tee shot, you must decide from the following three options:
-Lay it up short of the ponds, leaving 140-160 yards.
-Laying it up between the ponds… a little harder but only about 100 yards will remain
-Going for it in 2, which is mostly determined by lie the unevenness of the fairway leaves you.
Pro Tip: “The green is massive and has a ridge that runs perpendicular to the approach shot in the center of it. Having a putt over 100 feet is possible here, so it’s important to get it on the correct side of the ridge.” — Nick Tamburini, head golf professional.
Architect: Damian Pascuzzo
Local Attraction: MGM Springfield. The Ranch is a quick 20-minute drive to the MGM Springfield, the first hotel and casino complex to open in the Bay State. Groups that visit The Ranch often come out from New Haven, Albany, and Boston to play the course, followed by a night at the casino.
Heritage Country Club provides sweeping view of the rolling hills of Central Massachusetts. From the back tee on 17, your shot must navigate through a tree-lined corridor that opens up gradually as you approach the green. Two greenside bunkers, one on each side, are the only hazards one has to avoid on this hole. Another standout hole is the 12th, the No. 1 Handicap hole, which features a 590-yard downhill drive with a creek dividing the fairway.
Architect: Zeke Millette, Donald Hoenig, Bill Plante
Local Attraction: TreeHouse Brewing Company. It’s like a theme park for beer lovers. Located just a 1.5 miles from the golf course, Treehouse features a 53,000 sq. ft. brewery with comfortable outdoor and indoor seating. In addition to its signature American IPA and stout selections, Treehouse has a main bar, which offers and entire range of available draft beer and frozen cocktails, with over 40 beers on tap at any given time.
Looking out over the Blackstone River Valley, it’s hard to point to just one iconic spot at Shining Rock. The course was designed and constructed by Patrick Sullivan around the native rocky ledges, which are most prominently featured on the 16th green situated next to the course’s namesake, an 80-foot-tall granite formation. A wide open tee shot leads to progressively tighter shots as you approach the elongated green sited adjacent to Shining Rock. At 648 yards, this hole is a heroic test of golf.
Pro Tip: “No. 16 is a great par 5. It’s wide open off the tee so let er’ rip. It’s a pretty good sized landing area for your positioning shot but you want to stay on right side of fairway if you can to give yourself best angle in on approach shot. The green is narrow but deep, with two deep greenside bunkers on left hand side and steep drop off on right. I’ve only birdied it a handful of times and am usually grateful to card a 5.” — Mike Stacy, head golf professional.
Architect: Howard Maurer, Patrick Sullivan
Local Attraction: West End Creamery. Enjoy a cone of delicious ice cream or try a round of mini golf at West End Creamery. The family friendly, 28-acre farm also has 25 games and attractions, including pedal carts, kids play areas, and a 5.5-acre corn maze.