Sweet New England: Here’s why it should be on your fall-golf bucket list

wintonbury hills golf

Wintonbury Hills, a Pete Dye design in Connecticut, was named one of the top munis in the country by

Chip Henderson

Fall golf is arguably the best golf. Good prices. Comfortable weather. Those colorful leaves. What’s not to love? Here, in our Fall Trips package, our experts ready you for everything fall golf (for this year or next). We’ve unveiled favorite fall courses, resorts, value spots, must-have apparel and more. The goal? To educate and motivate you for your next golf trip. So read up, then grab your clubs and bags, and maybe a sweater or two.

ICYMI: 8 amazing resorts for golfers (and their families!) to visit this fall
ICYMI: Find elegance, efficiency (or both!) with these fancy and functional flasks


As a part of our Fall Trips package, we asked some of our writers and course raters to chime in with their go-to picks for budget-friendly fall golf destinations. Ironically enough, one writer (Dylan Dethier) and one rater (Steve Lapper) picked the same location. We were sold, so we gave them the floor. Here’s their pitch for New England golf.

Dylan Dethier, GOLF senior writer: I’ll happily lean into my New England bias here. I’ve written before about a summertime golfing road trip up the Maine coast, and that would still hold true in the fall. But fall in New England also means a chance to lean into incredible foliage, epic mountain adventures, warm days, cool nights. Let’s head inland slightly to the Maine/New Hampshire border for a two-resort stop at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort Hotel and Sunday River Golf Club.

Mt. Washington’s course is named for the highest peak in the northeastern U.S., which lurks in the foreground (or background) of every hole on the course. The layout is relatively simple and classic, an old-school Donald Ross. The setting — both the proud peak and the iconic red-roofed hotel — takes it next level.

Sunday River is arguably the best golf course, public or private, in the entire state of Maine. It’s tucked in the scenic western side of the state and still in view of those White Mountains, just from another angle. While Mt. Washington’s course is set down in the valley, Sunday River is a mountain course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

The two courses are just over an hour apart, and those of you who live in more populous golfing destinations who have seen rates at mediocre public courses skyrocket will breathe a sigh of relief at reasonable green fees ($86-$129 at Sunday River, $74-$139 at Mt. Washington) considering these are two of the best courses you can play in their respective states.

Feel free to extend your road trip to include Belgrade Lakes (90 minutes east from Sunday River) or southeast to Portland (and nearby Cape Arundel or Boothbay). Or head from Mt. Washington due south to add in Owl’s Nest. I can promise splendid scenery at all of the above. I just can’t promise what the weather will be like — so layer up!

Sunday River Golf Club in Maine. Courtesy Photo

Steve Lapper, GOLF Top 100 Courses Panelist: Ground zero for fall golf is New England, stretching from upstate New York through Connecticut and Massachusetts to Vermont and New Hampshire. Grab a rental car and go inland and play the likes of Saratoga National (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) and Crumpin-Fox (Bernardston, Mass.). There’s also Wintonbury Hills (Pete Dye) or Keney Park (Devereux Emmet), both near Hartford, Conn. And don’t sleep on Hooper, a brilliant 9-holer by Stiles & Van Kleek in Walpole, N.H., or Rutland CC (another Stiles & Van Kleek in Rutland, Vermont.

All are public and allow for advanced tee times.

If you are adventurous and have any connections from Albany to Williamstown, try (or even beg) to find a way on the private-yet-friendly Glens Falls CC (perhaps the best sleeper Donald Ross in the country) or arrange a game at Taconic GC (Williamstown, Mass.). Taconic is undeniably the ultimate Stiles & Van Kleek design and wicked fun.

Couple a few of those with all the affordable rentals and charming local New England cuisine and you have your own customized fall foliage golf trail.

A view of Omni Mount Washington Resort, which boasts a Donald Ross golf course. Chip Henderson

Another alternative, one with shoreline views (and probably greater monetary value) would be a trip to/from Boston to Philadelphia. Starting in Beantown, stop at the George Wright GC. This affordable Donald Ross design is a must and pure fun. Heading south, a divine detour to New Bedford and a quick ferry over to Nantucket (low season with plenty of places to stay) for a lobster roll and play Miacomet GC, a sublime public gem that will leave you fully sated.

Back on the road, a drive through Rhode Island has to include a stop in historic Newport and round at Newport National. The National is a blissful linksy walk and plays amongst tidal marshes and the Atlantic Ocean.

A short drive down the road to Groton, Conn., finds another easily accessible and affordable ($50 on weekends) public gem, Shennecossett GC, a historic Donald Ross design. Sights seen from the course would likely include dolphins, whales, triple-masted sailboats or sleek U.S. Navy nuclear submarines.

Farther south, right in the Big Apple is Ferry Point, a not-inexpensive-yet-excellent links-style public course in the Bronx along the Long Island Sound. There you aim for iconic skyscrapers and bridges. Conditioning is impeccable and the golf truly fun.

Last up and just an hour east of the City of Brotherly Love is Atlantic City CC, the century-old birthplace of the “birdie”. Its ancient locker room, Tom Doak-restored course and views across the bay to the Atlantic City skyline make for a wonderful day at this iconic, albeit semi-public club.

Exit mobile version