I’m heading out next week for an extended 4th of July holiday in New England. I plan to play in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island over the course of a few days.
With a very short connection in Charlotte on the flight out, I had to play it safe and ship my clubs. They’re already in transit, so that leaves me with no golf this weekend. Instead, I thought I’d post a story about my one previous brief visit to New England, where I played in Maine and New Hampshire.
I have an aunt and uncle who live in the Portland area, so my dad and I visited them back in 2007. I had one day to myself, so I squeezed two quick rounds in. It was a rainy/drizzly day, so conditions weren’t ideal, but I got to play two quality courses in the two states without much on-course traffic to deal with.
Sable Oaks Golf Club • Portland, ME • 10/11/07
This seemed like a pretty nice and convenient option with a good “New England” kind of feel. Unfortunately, this particular year, fall came a little later than usual. The colors were changing a little bit, but it wasn’t the full-blown autumn Maine look I was hoping to get.
I don’t remember exactly what I paid, but I believe it was in the $50 range for a weekday morning with cart. With the rainy weather, the course was wide open and I played quickly by myself.
Overall, Sable Oaks is a very nice course with a good New England vibe. There are a couple of marshy areas mixed with a ton of trees. This course features some tight dogleg holes and some mild changes in elevation.
Despite being kind of late in the year, the course was in very nice condition. Mostly lush and green throughout. It was obviously very soggy that day, which softened everything up too much, but you can’t control nature.
I’d be curious to go play some other Maine courses to see how Sable Oaks measures up in comparison. I remember myself enjoying the course plenty, but not being completely blown away by it. I’m sure there are other better courses in the Portland area, but this is a very good option to consider while there.
Some pictures from Sable Oaks Golf Club (10/11/07):
After finishing quickly at Sable Oaks, I hit the road and went south toward New Hampshire. There’s really just a tiny portion of NH along the coast between Maine and Massachusetts, but the area is home to a course that really piqued my interest…
Portsmouth Country Club • Greenland, NH • 10/11/07
I’m happy this is my representative course for New Hampshire on my 50 states adventure. I really enjoyed it. I can’t say I remember a ton of specifics about the course itself, but the overall “Old New England” vibe there really grabbed me emotionally.
From the stately colonial-style clubhouse facade as you drive up to the course to the holes along the edge of Great Bay, it just feels like a classic old course that’s been around forever.
The truth is the club started in 1901 with a small nine-hole course, but the military took over the original property back in the 1950s and they relocated to this setting. In 1956, this “new and improved” Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed regulation course opened for play and it’s been a fixture ever since. It is still considered semi-private, with public play generally only allowed after 10:00 on most days.
Some holes play amongst the wooded areas, but many of the holes run right along the bay. It’s a great waterfront setting. I wish the weather was better the day I was there for nicer photographic scenery, but it is still a cool place for a course. There were a few more people out at Portsmouth than in my morning round. The weather went from a steady rain to a light drizzle by this point in the day. However, I still got around quite quickly playing through a couple groups along the way.
I would definitely recommend checking out Portsmouth Country Club if ever in the area. It’s a great taste of old New England style golf.
Some pictures from Portsmouth Country Club (10/11/07):
Though it was a quick day of golf on my first trip to New England, I felt like I got a nice combination of new school and old school golf in that region. I’m very much looking forward to visiting other parts of the area and crossing five more states off my list if everything goes as planned.
I don’t know how much blogging I’ll be able to do from the road. If I’m not posting full articles here, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@golfnomadbaa) to see some pictures and tweets while I’m out there.
It may depend on if I do anything in the city while I’m in New York. I am planning to go to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park (big time bucket list experience for me) the first night I’m there, but otherwise don’t have any other specific non-golf activities planned for the trip. I wish I had more time, but it’s all about maximizing the brief visit for me as I continue my quest to play all 50 states.