Cool breezes, a kaleidoscope of autumnal color and discounted green fees are three of the primary reasons that golf might be at its peak during the fall in New England. Like the season itself, there is a more prevalent calm that lingers on the greens during the fall, morphing a course that might have provided a sense of frustration during the spring and summer months into a serene escape.
Whether it’s about getting your last licks in before first snow arrives, or if this is the season you have earmarked for the course, here are some of the best spots to hit the links in New England as the leaves fall and we prepare for the chill of winter.
Woodstock Country Club | Woodstock, Vt.
The 18 holes at Woodstock, designed by course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., are surrounded by panoramic views of the Kedron Valley, a sight that only gets more breathtaking during foliage season. Golf Magazine named it one of the top 100 golf courses in the world, a status that speaks for its certain level of challenge, not to mention its varied terrain. Green fees range from \$55 (non-peak days, 3-5 p.m.) to \$135 (Friday-Sunday, 7-11 a.m., cart included). The inn also offers an unlimited golf package, providing guests with luxury accommodations paired with unlimited golf on the course. See website for details and pricing. woodstockinn.com
Granite Links Golf Club | Quincy, Mass.
Located only seven miles south of Boston, Granite Links has become one of Massachusetts’ top destinations for city dwellers to get their swings in out on the golf course. Non-members are welcome to use the public driving range and may book tee times with some restrictions, which makes the offseason the perfect time to check out the course. Eighteen holes during the offseason runs \$90 every day. Nine holes runs \$50, but with some day and time restrictions. Green fees include the use of a cart. granitelinksgolfclub.com
Sugarloaf Golf Club | Carrabassett Valley, Maine
Recognized as the top golf course in Maine by the likes of Golfweek and Golf Digest, Sugarloaf’s 18-hole experience is situated directly in the midst of one of your favorite wintertime playgrounds, setting the scene for a colorful farewell to the northern Maine autumn, with an eye already focused on the slopes and what might come within the coming weeks. Significant savings for tee times begin in October, when early morning reservations (from 1 to 4 players) run around \$90 (\$123-\$131 during high season). Extend your stay with a reservation at the on-mountain lodging, starting as low as \$89 per night. sugarloaf.com
Omni Mount Washington Resort Marti Mayne | Bretton Woods, N.H.
What better spot to tee off during the wonder of fall than in the shadow of the historic, regal Mount Washington Hotel? Golfers will find a pair of courses here with the dramatic fall hues of the majestic Presidential Range beckoning them. The 18-hole Mount Washington Course dates back to 1915, while the Mount Pleasant Course is a nine-hole affair that first opened in 1895 and offers a challenging rout past the scenic Ammonoosuc River. Fall rates begin Oct. 8 and run through Oct. 30. Rates run \$61-\$111 for public guests, \$53-\$103 for resort guests, based on time of day and day of the week. Fall golf and lunch specials are available Sunday through Friday after 1 p.m. for \$79 per person and include cart, green fee and select menu choices. brettonwoods.com
Wahconah Country Club | Dalton, Mass.
Nestled in the hills of the Berkshires, Wahconah Country Club is considered one of the best-laid courses in all of New England, enhanced by the certain serenity and introspectiveness that can come from a trip to the western half of Massachusetts. Ranked the fourth-best golf course in New England by GolfAdvisor, Wahconah’s 18 holes feature tree-lined fairways and panoramic views of the surroundings. Green fees as of Oct. 1 run \$40-\$65 depending on weekday/weekend. Golf cart rentals run \$20 and \$34 for nine and 18 holes, respectively. wahconahcc.com
Breakfast Hill Golf Club | Greenland, N.H.
Just north of the Mass.-N.H. border, only a stone’s throw from entering Vacationland, Breakfast Hill provides golfers with a scrumptious way to start their morning, an 18-year-old course that is canopied by pine trees, mapped out with a layout that makes it one of the more challenging and scenic spots to play in all of New England. Recognized as a top public course by numerous publications, Breakfast Hill’s 18 holes welcome guests with rates that vary depending upon time of day, but can range from \$42-\$78. breakfasthill.com
Pinehills Golf Club | Plymouth, Mass.
Combining the prestige of a members-only club with the convenience of a daily golf fee, Pinehills Golf Club has become one of the most popular golfing destinations in the commonwealth. Here you’ll find two 18-hole courses designed by Rees Jones and Nicklaus Design, featuring rolling hills and a setting primed for the colors of the season. Rates beginning Oct. 9 run \$65-\$75 (weekends), and \$55 seven days a week for super twilight (after noon). All rates include cart and range balls. pinehillsgolf.com
Stowe Mountain Club | Stowe, Vt.
Both the Mountain Club, with the trails of Mount Mansfield hovering in the distance, and the nearby Country Club are courses based in beauty, high on challenges. The Mountain Course, though, is the more dramatic of the two. Named one of the top 10 new courses in the United States by Golf Magazine, the course, designed by Bob Cupp, is unique in its embracement of the mountain itself. Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak not only provide the backdrop here, but part of the challenge in itself, melding the natural surroundings into the play. All day unlimited golf and cart is \$270 per day, \$150 after 2 p.m. Guests who stay at Stowe Mountain Lodge can save up to 40 percent on rounds of golf. destinationhotels.com/stowe-mountain-lodge
Green Valley Country Club | Portsmouth, R.I.
Green Valley is considered one of the finest semiprivate golf clubs within the vicinity of Newport, R.I., staking its reputation with a beautiful, yet challenging setting. Most unique at Green Valley is that the greens don’t go to sleep when the sun does, which can be particularly helpful with nighttime coming earlier and earlier during the fall months. The club’s night golf league enjoyed its first season in 2018, with select dates remaining through September and October. Tee times begin approximately 15 minutes after sunset and feature a glow-in-the-dark golf ball and glow stick. Rates start at \$35 for advance reservations, \$45 for walk-on participants. gvccri.com
North Conway Country Club | North Conway, N.H.
Nestled among all that beckons the thousands to visit this village no matter what season lands on the calendar, the North Conway Country Club is a course set in an idyllic setting of local businesses, comforting restaurants and the family-friendly reminder that Cranmore Mountain Resort will be there for you come ski season. With the mountain looming over the village and its golf course, the country club provides views of Mount Washington that add a little extra benefit to a visit. So does the cost. Eighteen holes, including cart, on weekends and holidays is only \$75, \$60 Monday through Friday. Mondays through Thursdays, try the early bird special, only \$40 before 8 a.m. northconwaycountryclub.com
Sunday River | Newry, Maine
The rolling hills of Sunday River Resort provide the backdrop for this 18-hole course that delivers all the perks of what it means to be a guest of the Maine resort. The pristine playing conditions and fairways that seem designed right from the blueprint that delivered some of the wide intermediate trails on the mountain above, provide guests with a golfing experience that will have them etching another fall return on their calendars. Eighteen holes run \$90 during the week, \$110 Friday through Sunday. Stay and play packages are available with four different lodging partners that include Sunday River Resort, The Mountain House on Sunday River, The Glen House and The Riverview Resort. sundayrivergolfclub.com
Lake of Isles | Stonington, Conn.
Thirteen years after its opening, this Connecticut favorite, located adjacent to Foxwoods Resort Casino, gives locals and visitors a way to relax their senses after putting the cards down for the night. The 36-hole course winds its way through the woods of the Nutmeg State countryside and around a 90-acre lake. Packages with the neighboring resort start at only \$223 per person, including lodging at the Fox Tower Hotel, 18 holes of golf, and other amenities such as use of the driving range and a complimentary golf towel. Tee times available up to 30 days in advance. lakeofisles.com