It’s that time of year again. If you haven’t done so already, break out your golf bag, shine up the old clubs and get ready to whack some white balls around a bright-green course over the next few months.
If you haven’t played a round yet this year, it’s time you did because the season is in full swing. We checked in with courses all over the region to see what we could find out. As it turns out, each one is unique in its own special way.
Unfortunately, some of our calls and emails went unreturned, but we put in what we could find from those courses where we didn’t actually get to talk to a real person.
For an area of the world that spends many months blanketed with snow, there sure are a lot of golf courses in this state. And you should make it a personal mission to try each one.
So get out there and play a few rounds. Tell them the Insider sent you – and don’t forget to yell “fore!”
1 Beaver Meadow Drive, Concord
Concord’s city-owned course is the only public links in the Granite State capital.
It not only allows any person, twosome or group of four to show up at any time and play a round (assuming there’s not a tournament and for some reason a logjam on the first tee) but you can also purchase a membership for the entire year for $1,395 for an adult – and that’s unlimited golf, seven days a week. There are a host of other membership categories for seniors, juniors, twilight (starting in the afternoons) and family, and that is the way almost every course you’re about to read about operates.
The 18-hole, par-72 course boasts a course record of 9 under, set by Mark Stevens. It plays up to 6,400 yards from the championship tees, and has four par 3s and four par 5s.
The club’s signature hole, the 14th, which begins with a tee shot over water, starts a stretch of three holes that are well-known by local players. The 15th is an uphill par 4 to an enormous green, and the 16th registers more than 600 yards from the back tees with a narrow landing zone.
“Only the longest hitters in the state can get there in two shots,” said golf pro Phil Davis.
If you’re looking for something where you have that fighting chance at hitting the green – or maybe making it in the hole in one shot – the par-3 third is Beaver Meadow’s.
“The green is right in front of you,” Davis said.
It will cost you $35 to walk the course during the week, and $40 on the weekends. If you want to ride in a cart, those green fees will increase to $54 and $59. Like with memberships, there are other special deals depending on when you play or how old you are (like most courses).
There’s a driving range with two bucket sizes, a large putting green, pull carts, a fully stocked pro shop and club rentals.
Beaver Meadow offers the ability to play on its indoor simulator all year round (if there isn’t a function), so you don’t have to miss your round even if it’s raining. Cost is $40 per hour for up to four people.
And there’s also the 19th Hole for food after or before a round, and/or a beer.
Concord Country Club
Country Club Lane, Concord
While Concord has just one course open to the public, it’s actually home to two places to hit the links.
The Concord Country Club has been around since 1929 and has done quite well over the years with more than 300 members signed on. You must apply for membership, but you can do so at any time by filling out a short questionnaire.
And even if you’re not a member, you can still play the course – as long as you know a member. You can accompany a member for a fee of $65 for 18, plus $20 for a cart.
From the blue tees, Jeff Marsh owns the course record with a 6-under, 64. From the whites, Bob Mielcarz is the record holder with a 63 (7 under).
Par is 70 for the men, unless playing from the gold tees, which is 72. That’s also par for the women.
In terms of difficulty, the eighth hole is the No. 1 handicap on the course. It’s a 427-yard par 4 that plays to an elevated green with a bunker to the right and a drop-off on the back and front.
“It’s an elusive and hard-to-hit green,” said golf pro Rich Thibeault. “It was originally designed as a par 5.”
The 16th hole should give you some goosebumps at the tee, as it’s the shortest par 3, about 160 yards from the back tees, down hill.
The recently renovated clubhouse has a full-service golf shop, locker rooms with private locker and shower room facilities, three function rooms and access to food for both lunch and dinner.
There’s a driving range and putting green, and club rentals are available, as are lessons for both members and the general public.
42 Whittemore Road, Pembroke
It won’t be easy to set a new course record at Pembroke Pines, as you’d have to shoot a 10-under to top the 63 game that stands as the best score right now.
The par-72 course has four sets of tees and is open to both members and the general public. You just might want to call ahead for a weekend tee time because the course can get rather busy.
As of now (and this will change come Memorial Day and the start of summer), you can walk 18 for $30 during the week and $35 on the weekend. The rates jump up to $42 and $48 if you’d rather drive a cart. They also have pull carts if you want to walk but not carry your clubs.
The fifth hole can be tricky, as it’s a long par 4 that you must keep your drive to the middle-right because it doglegs left. Just don’t go too much to the right, because that’s out of bounds.
The par-3 16th is downhill and just waiting for the perfect shot to roll in the cup. It has a river that surrounds the green with trees to the right and traps to the left, but is a scoreable hole.
They have a driving range and a simulator during the winter months, as well as lessons and a pro shop.
The Pembroke Pub offers a nice selection of food and beers to celebrate (or forget) your round.
Loudon Country Club
653 Route 106 North, Loudon
Loudon Country Club opened as early as it could this year, allowing players out on the course the second day of April.
The par-72 course is the only one in Loudon, and don’t let the name fool you, because it’s open to the public. You also have the ability to purchase a membership.
It plays at a modest length – just shy of 6,300 yards – from the back tees. To play a single round it will cost you either $28 or $39 to play 18 during the week, depending on if you want to walk or ride. Those rates go up to $33 and $44 on the weekends.
After a couple holes to get you loosened up, you’ll encounter your first par 5 on the third hole, and it’s a challenge. It’s one of the longer holes on the course and has quite the dogleg to the left. There’s a pond to the left side of the green, just one of many places you’ll have to avoid getting wet.
But if you’re more of a par 3 kind of player, your best chances for a hole in one come on the back nine at holes 13 and 17. And if you’re looking to set the club record, you’ll have to go 6 under to claim it.
Loudon has a driving range and indoor simulator (which is only open during the winter months) and a pro shop. You can rent clubs, sign up for lessons or get a snack out on the course thanks to the beverage cart.
Once you’re done, sit down at the Out of Bounds Sports Pub and Restaurant.
Lochmere Golf & Country Club
360 Laconia Road, Tilton
Lochmere is a par-72 course with five sets of tees, with the farthest tees making it a 6,711-yard course.
Golf pro Vic Stanfield is the course record holder, but you’re going to need to pull off one heck of a round to top his 9-under 63. When it comes to the course, Stanfield knows a thing or two about it, and when he says the sixth hole is the most difficult, we tend to believe him. It’s not the longest par 4 out there, but it’s narrow and has a difficult second shot. Making par here is apparently a win. The 10th can also give you fits, as the longest par 5.
The eighth hole is one that should get you excited . It’s the longest par 3, but it’s down hill and the best one in terms of green visual.
You can walk the course, but as Stanfield put it, “it’s a very hilly course and tough to play without a cart.” Right now, you can play 18 Monday through Thursday for $42 with a cart and $55 on the weekends. There are club rentals available, a pro shop and a driving range if you want to take a few practice swings before hitting the course. You can even take a lesson.
The Greenside Restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday with breakfast, lunch and dinner served every day except Sunday – when it’s just breakfast.
Den Brae Golf Course
80 Prescott Road, Sanbornton
The third-generation family-owned course is only nine holes, but you can play 18 if you’d like.
The course, a par 36 (which equates to 72 over 18), is offering a coupon rate early in the season. From Monday through Thursday, you can play nine holes for $16 walking or $23 with a cart. That jumps up to $18 and $26 on weekends.
The only par 3 is the third hole, and while it’s uphill, “as long as you hit it straight, you should be all set,” according to Catherine Craig, whose family owns the course.
Conversely, the par-5 fourth is the longest hole and plays best for a left-handed golfer. Watch out for the trees.
There’s a grass driving range, a pro shop and rental clubs available. Don’t forget to grab something from the Den Brae Cafe, where we heard the Craig Burger is pretty popular.
282 Gilford Ave., Laconia
The quaint par-3 course is volunteer run and operated. It offers the inexperienced golfer a chance at hitting a few greens and feeling good about their game, while more seasoned players can work on their short game, as none of the holes are very long. It is a par-3 course, after all.
The course record is par (27), so if you’re one of those golfers who can consistently make par while mixing in a birdie or two, you’ll have a shot at setting a new low score.
The seventh hole presents a big challenge with needing to carry over a pond to the green, while the fourth is a mere 55 yards from the whites and is a hole-in-one enthusiast’s dream.
They offer both riding and pull carts and lessons onsite.
Cost is $8 for nine during the week and $14 for 18 plus cart fees.
Duston Country Club
40 Country Club Road, Hopkinton
It’s going to take the round of your life to break the course record of 26 at this nine-hole, par-32 spot to the west of Concord.
There are no par 5s on the course, but there are four par 3s. While you might think one of the four par 4s would be considered the hardest hole, we were told it’s the par-3 seventh. It’s an elevated shot to what amounts to a dime-sized green on top of a hill.
If you’re looking for the best chance at a hole in one – or at least get close enough for a chance at birdie, the second hole is what you want to save your best shot for. It’s only 118 yards (uphill) and the green is relatively flat.
It’s $16 to play nine during the week and an additional $1 on the weekends (plus a little extra if you want to drive a cart).
There’s no driving range, but there is a putting green and a pro shop – and a full restaurant.
Country Club of New Hampshire
187 Kearsarge Valley Road, North Sutton
This par-72 course off the beaten path looks like one you’ll definitely want to play if you’re in that area of the state.
The 9-under course record has been held for quite some time, and will be tough to top.
It will cost you $20 for nine and $36 for 18 during the week – if you feel like walking – or $30 or $53 to take a cart. The green fees go up to $25 and $35 for nine on the weekends, and $40 or $60 for 18.
Watch out for the par-5 16th, which requires two big shots to even think about making the green with your third, and to add to the fun, it’s rather tight. The 11th is the par 3 that everyone enjoys the most because of its short distance and large, inviting green.
There’a pro shop, lessons, driving range and club rentals to go along with a 28-room hotel and the 19th Hole Grill.
Newport Golf Club
112 Unity Road, Newport
The course record of 63 (8 under) has stood since the early 1990s, so if you want to become part of this club’s history, you better bring your A game.
You can play nine holes during the week for $20 or $25 on the weekend, plus $12 per person for a cart. For 18, you’re looking at $35 during the week and $45 on the weekend – with a $20 per-person cart fee.
If you work in that area or happen to be moving there, memberships start at $995 for unlimited golf.
Known as being a tough but fair course, the third hole will test you. It’s got a narrow fairway, out of bounds to the right and trees on both sides. And then the green slopes away from you, even though it appears to tilt toward you. Watch out for 12 and 13 as well.
Newport has a driving range, putting green and a pro shop, and club rentals are available. It’s a full wedding facility and has an onsite restaurant, The Divot Room.
Lake Sunapee Country Club
289 Country Club Lane, New London
Lake Sunapee is a private course, which means you either need to be a member or know a member to play – or apply to become a member. And it sounds great.
In addition to the par-70 course, there’s a pool, tennis courts and a driving range. There are clubs to borrow, a pro shop and lessons, which are available to anyone, member or not.
The par-3 12th is an unusually long 240 yards, uphill to a green that has two tiers. Good luck with parring that one. But the fourth hole, another par 3, sounds right up our alley, with the farthest tee sitting just 150 yards away.
For an all-inclusive single membership, you’re looking at about $5,200 for the year. Plus there’s the option of eating at Henry’s at the Club.
15 West Road, Canterbury
The par-72, 18-hole course is just up the road from our office and worth a visit.
It will take the round of your life to capture the course record of 8 under (64), but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try.
At the present moment, you’re looking at anywhere from $20 to $55 to play a round, depending on if you want to walk nine or take a cart for a full 18. It’s best to check their website for up-to-date fees.
The fifth hole presents a big challenge, even though it’s just a par 4.
It’s uphill, and if you don’t hit the right tee shot, you could quickly find yourself in a hazard or in the trees.
The par-3 11th has some great views and the sharp downhill shot is very inviting.
Canterbury redid its practice facility, which will open later this month, with a new bunker and short greens for more precise work than a typical driving range.
You can take lessons and grab a bite to eat.
The Mystic Meadows, Laconia
The Jade Trace at Mystic Meadows is a nine-hole, par-3 course.
Cost is $12 for nine holes and $18 for 18.
Pheasant Ridge Country Club, Gilford
The 18-hole, par-71 course will cost you $22 to walk nine and $32 to play 18 during the week. On the weekends, 18 holes goes up to $36 – plus fees for a cart.
Angus Lea Golf Course – Hillsborough
This nine-hole course is a par 33.
You can walk nine for $18.95 or $26.95 with a cart. Those fees jump up to $33 and $37 for 18.
Mojalaki Country Club – Franklin
This is a public 18-hole course and comes at a reasonable cost. It’s just $10 for nine and $13 for 18 plus fees for a cart.
Around the State
While we intended to keep this spread to the courses in the Monitor coverage area, we couldn’t help but include a couple of the other ones we’ve heard about from around the Granite State.
Golf Club of New England in Stratham is always ranked among the top courses in the state.
Shattuck Golf Club in Jaffrey is consistently ranked among the top 50 hardest courses in the country. Trust us – it is difficult, but worth playing a round.
From golfer friends, we’ve heard nothing but great things about the Portsmouth Country Club. It’s semi-private, but offers daily green fees.