RGV Tour Blog

Massachusetts

The state of Massachusetts is not physically big, but it packs a serious punch when it comes to it's golf.  The RGV Tour visited 9 golf courses in the state and there is not a single slouch in the group.  Brace yourself, these courses are coming at you hard.  We started off with a day of 36 at Essex County Club and a round at Kittanset Club.  Both of these clubs would normaly make your week and I was lucky enough to double down in one day. 

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Just look at it... sitting there... in a total state of harmony as it presides over it's natural element, the golf course.  This is where the Recreational Golf Vehicle was meant to be and where it performs the best.  Just about every golf thing you can imagine is packed into that thing, including a full lineup of manual score counters and a host of unnecessary training aids.  In the back you can see the 11th green at Essex Country Club, but let's be honest, you didn't notice that at all, the stars and stripes sucked you right in.  

Once you make your way away from the RGV and head out onto Essex County Club, you will find it to be one of the best.  It is a Donald Ross design and definitely some of his finest work in the beginning portion of his career. The routing around a particularly cool rock out cropping is very well done and leads to a great finishing tee shot on 18.

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 Early contender for strongest RGV Tour caddie

Early contender for strongest RGV Tour caddie

After rocking around Essex, it was time to make the hour or so drive down to Kittanset.  The course is a William Flynn design and one of his best.  It starts out with some pretty strong links vibes, works it's way into the woods, and finishes back up by the sea.  The 3rd hole get's all of the attention but the entire course is fun to play and very interesting architectually.

 The 3rd hole at Kittansett is right on the beach!

The 3rd hole at Kittansett is right on the beach!

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When I first heard about Boston Golf Club, it was described to me as a mini Pine Valley.  At the time, that sounded good, but I had never seen Pine Valley and wasn't able to come to grips with the comparison.  After visiting Boston Golf Club, I want to play Pine Valley even more and I want to play Boston Golf Club again.

When finishing at some courses, you walk off the 18th green and say, "Man, that was fun."  On other courses, you walk off the 18th green and say, "Man, let's play that again!"  Boston Golf Club falls into the latter category.  Fortune would be on our side and we would actually go for an emergency 9 and end up with a day of 27 holes at Boston Golf Club.  What a treat!

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At this point, a brief hiatus back to Connecticut resulted in the unfortunate loss of The RGV Tour Guest Book.  The details of the incident are hazy and a criminal investigation has been launched.  We do know that the book was last seen at Wethersfield Country Club in the restaurant.  The initial reward was set at $100 and after several days it was increased to $200.  With no leads in weeks, the reward money has now been raised to $1 Million.  Actual reward payouts are subject to change.

One of my few regrets on the RGV Tour was that I did not make a PB&J sandwich at the beginning of the tour, store it for 6 months, and then eat that old sandwich when visiting Old Sandwich Golf Club.

It's not a huge deal because golfing Old Sandwich is far better than eating some old stale PB&J.  It was a another top notch tour visit.

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 Old Sandwich in it's entirety.

Old Sandwich in it's entirety.

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At this point I headed on over to Cape Cod and another highly anticipated round of golf at Eastward Ho!  It's the only golf course with an exclamation point in it's name and the Ho deserves it so.  We had a rowdy good group of guys for our round and we started it off with some New England clam chowder in the bar before heading out to the course.  The bar is a great hang spot and it leads right out onto a view of the 18th green.

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    It was another day of close calls on the ace hunt as I had two shots within a foot on #3 and #7.  Another buzzed the cup on #10 and our entire group was a little surprised that I only found the middle of the green on #15.

    When I got serious about trying to make a hole in one, I approached every par 3 like this is going to the one.  I envision the ball bouncing and rolling into the hole on every single shot.  I could care less about making a 3 on any of these holes, I am just trying to make it.  The shots at the middle of the green are unacceptable and immediately dismissed as failures.

    As a result, my concentration and focus on the par 3's has been much better and balls have been taking off right at the pin.  I have had more than my fair share of close calls and at least a dozen or so shots could have found the hole.

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    Things I noticed about Cape Cod.

    • Khaki vibes are real strong on the cape
    • People say "on cape" or "off cape" in regards to their location
    • It feels like vacation everywhere
    • There are 27 public golf courses and 15 private.  I only played 4.

    Next on the calendar was a visit to TGC Sacconnessett with Phil Dinah or "Phil the Thrill" as he is known in certain circles.  Phil started the 'thrill show' off slow but really managed to bring some heat down the stretch.  The highlight of his performance was when he recommended the chicken salad at the turn.  I know what you are thinking... "Come on, the chicken salad recommendation was the highlight?"  I can almost hear the eyes roll as I type this.  But that's only because you haven't tried this chicken salad.  

     The 16th hole was also a highlight at TGC Sacconnessett.

    The 16th hole was also a highlight at TGC Sacconnessett.

    We finished up as the sun set and I plugged the RGV into the electric car charging port and spent the night in the parking lot.  As for as places to park go, this was a real primo spot.  The following day, I woke up early and scooted on over to Cape Cod National.

     

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    Cape Cod National is easily one of the top courses "on cape" and I was lucky enough to tee it up with The Director of Golf, Mike Walker. The course is meticulously maintained and a lot of fun to play.  While having lunch with Mike after the round, he made an all world recommendation.  "You know where you should play?  Highland Links!"  He told me a bit about it and I was immediately sold.  Mike even offered to join me and drive on out to North Truro on the tip of Cape Cod.

    Highland Links is one of the few true links courses that exist in America.  With sandy soil and sea views on the majority of holes, the course has a simple feeling and it is one of the best 9 hole walks on the east coast.  Plus, I will golf any course with a lighthouse.  The best part about the course is that it is open to the public and only costs $35.

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    Just like that, only one round remained in Massachusetts.  The good news is that it was at The Country Club.  Not just any country club but The Country Club.  In my travels, I have now found The Golf Club and The Country Club.  I feel like this is a big deal and I am pretty proud of it.  

    The Country Club has more golf history than you can handle.  

    • The Country Club is the oldest country club in The US.
    • The clubhouse is old and awesome.
    • The club is one of 5 charter clubs that founded the USGA
    • I thought Tom Brady's house was gonna be bigger.
    • Gisele was not at the pool.
    • The Country Club Hosted the 1913 US Open won by amateur and caddie, Francis Ouimet.  Ouimet's unlikely victory was made into a Hollywood movie, The Greatest Game Ever Played.
    • Justin Leonard's putt in the 1999 Ryder Cup happened on the 17th hole.  Watch it.
    • I trickled in a tester on 18 to close out our Ryder Cup match.
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    Even though I only took in 9 golf courses, it is clear that Massachusetts is a serious contender for best golf state.  It was a pleasure to golf it and a shame to see it go.