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Boston's best public golf courses: Top places to play around Beantown

Jason Scott DeeganBy Jason Scott Deegan,
Senior Staff Writer
Red Tail Golf Club - hole 18
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Two major golf magazines rank Red Tail as Boston's no. 1 course. (Jason Scott Deegan/TravelGolf)

BOSTON -- Beantown has the BoSox and Bruins. It's also a great place for birdies and bogeys.

Premier public golf courses ring the outer rim of Boston, providing plenty of places to play. As good as the summers are in New England, fall can be the perfect time to tee it up. Here are a handful of courses worth checking out:

Red Tail Golf Club, Devens

Both Golfweek and Boston Magazine rank Red Tail Golf Club as Boston's no. 1 golf course. GolfNow.com users rate Red Tail no. 24 nationally among the top courses of the more than 4,000 in the network. The Brian Silva design, located roughly 45 miles northwest of downtown Boston, opened in 2001. The 7,006-yard course, named after the hawks that fly overhead, delivers moments of sublime scenery. Red Tail hosted the 2009 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links.

The Oaks at The International Golf Club & Resort, Bolton

The International's Oaks Course, which opened in 2001 roughly 45 miles west of Boston, began allowing public play after 9 a.m. each morning last year, opening the doors of Tom Fazio's thoughtful, playable design. The elevation changes -- along with a unique collection of five par 5s and five par 3s -- make for an interesting round. There are no water hazards, just fescue-lined bunkers to avoid. Stay-and-play packages are available at the club's lodge on site. The International Golf Club & Resort also has a Rick Smith Golf Academy, a TaylorMade Performance Lab and the highly regarded Fireplace Room Restaurant to impress guests.

Robert T. Lynch Municipal Golf Course at Putterham, Brookline

The key to appreciate the Robert T. Lynch Municipal Golf Course -- which is across the street from The Country Club, the famed private host of the 1913 U.S. Open and 1999 Ryder Cup -- is to understand the land and the history. The clubhouse is about as old as the 1931 golf course, which has undergone a few modifications from its original John Van Kleek and Wayne Stiles design. From the tips, the par-71 course stretches to only 6,400 yards but tends to play much longer with several uphill holes.

Squirrel Run Golf & Country Club, Plymouth

Plymouth is best known for the 36-hole Pinehills Golf Club, home to high-end courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Rees Jones. But if you're not interested in expensive green fees and four-hour rounds, the best game in town comes at Squirrel Run Golf & Country Club. The 2,859-yard course, designed by Ray Richards in 1991, has 15 par 3s, playing to a par of 57. The signature holes are the 13th and 16th, which play over water hazards. Plymouth, home to the famous rock, serves as the gateway to Cape Cod.

Shaker Hills Country Club, Harvard

New owner Fred Curtis Jr. has spearheaded a dramatic renovation that has improved Shaker Hills Country Club, which is situated 45 miles northwest of downtown Boston. Curtis Jr. has repositioned the driving range and cart charging area and replaced the 444-yard 18th hole with a sweeping 560-yard dogleg par 5. Other enhancements include seven fairway extensions and several new tees to stretch the course to 7,000 yards and revamped bunker complexes. The clubhouse, which has undergone extensive upgrades as well, overlooks a new 10,000-square-foot practice green.

Granite Links Golf Club at Quarry Hills, Quincy

This 27-hole Granite Links Golf Club at Quarry Hills offers some public tee times. It is ideally located just 11 miles south of downtown Boston with sweeping views of the city skyline as well as the harbor islands. Course architect John Sanford transformed a former landfill and quarry into a fascinating playground for golf. The first nine holes, called the Milton nine, opened in 2003. The Granite nine came a year later. The Quincy nine came on board in 2006, the same year as the clubhouse. The shingled Nantucket-style clubhouse and its outdoor balconies overlook a water-filled quarry. Sports Illustrated Golf named the Tavern Restaurant among the best 19 "19th Holes in the World" in 2013.

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International Golf Club & Resort - Oaks golf course - 4thSquirrel Run Golf & CC - hole 16Robert T. Lynch Municipal Golf Course - 18th
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Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 600 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

 
Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Squirrel Run

    Ray Richard wrote on: Sep 26, 2013

    Thanks for adding my design Squirrel Run to your list. Over the past decade many have enjoyed the rolls and contours of this course several miles from Plymouth Rock.

    Reply