The 8 best value golf courses in the Northeast
If there’s one thing better than playing a great golf course, it’s a playing a great golf course for a very good price. In the spirit of bargain hunting, we’ve singled out eight of the best-value rounds in New York, New Jersey and each of the six New England states.
Keney Park Golf Course, Hartford
For many years, this 1927 Devereaux Emmet design was a familiar story of municipal-course decline, with inferior drainage, shabby bunkers and spotty turf. Its fortunes turned three years ago with the completion of a $6 million renovation that has brought the body back to life around its beautiful bones.
Waubeeka Golf Links, Williamtown
Built on rolling farmland in 1966, this Berkshires sleeper has enjoyed multiple upgrades throughout the years, most notably phased-in improvements by the architect Mark Mungeam, who rebuilt several holes, redid bunkering on others, and added tilt and intrigue to a number of the greens. The back nine is especially scenic, with striking elevation changes that give way to views of the Purple Valley, where the foliage all but explodes come fall.
Hooper Golf Club, Walpole
In the pantheon of famous architectural pairing, Williams Stiles and John Van Kleek were not the Simon and Garfunkel of their time. But they teamed up on some classics, including Taconic, in western Massachusetts. Each also had a hand in some stunning solo projects. Among Stiles’ finest was this crafty 9-holer, a course so engaging we suggest you loop it twice.
The Blue Course at Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale
Let your masochist buddies get beat up on the Black Course as you give yourself a greater chance at glory on the Blue. Though hardly a cakewalk — some locals insist that the front side on the Blue is as tough as any stretch in the five-course Bethpage constellation — it’s notably more mellow in its demands, and no less fun. And while some of Tillinghast’s imprint was lost when the Blue was renovated in 1958 to make room for the Yellow Course, there’s plenty of artistry to enjoy. And there’s no beating the price for this more balanced ratio of pleasure to pain.
Cape Arundel Golf Club, Kennebunkport
A nine-hole course at its birth, Cape Arundel was expanded in the 1920s by three-time U.S. Open champion Walter Travis, who worked magic with the routing to fit 18 into a snug site. What the course lacks in length — it tips out at a shade under 5,900 yards and has just one par-5 — it makes up for in nuance and elegant angles as it works it way alongside the Kennebunkport River.
Triggs Memorial Golf Course, Providence
Donald Ross left a big imprint on our smallest state, but the vast majority of his Rhode Island designs were private. Triggs is an exception, a salt-of-the-earth muni with all the natural movement you’d except from Ross on a routing with a hefty share of brutish par-4s, balanced by terrific, risk-reward par-5s.
Twisted Dune Golf Club, Egg Harbor Township
Scotland meets the Jersey Shore at this rollicking layout designed by Archie Struthers, which zigs and zags through a wildly contoured landscape of shaggy swales and steep ravines. Few terms in golf are more overused than “linksy,” but with minefields of bunkers and fast-running fairways Twisted Dune is faithful to key features of the game as originally played across the pond.
The Golf Club at Equinox, Manchester Village
The widely divergent greens fees are seasonally dependent, peaking in the fall, when the foliage does, too. What stays fixed throughout the year is the charm and challenge of this Golden Age Walter Travis design, which wends through a classically New England setting, with church steeples poking out amid the trees.