The Club at New Seabury in Mashpee, Mass., on Cape Cod’s southern shore features two tremendous golf courses, but to limit a discussion of the club to just its golf courses would be an injustice to this wonderful property.
Though a private club, New Seabury, sandwiched between the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge and the Nantucket Sound, is open to guests. In fact, it is one of the most desirable wedding venues in all of New England and consistently rated Cape Cod’s “Best Location” for a wedding by Cape Cod Life Magazine. It also has, as advertised, great golf, which we’ll delve into later. But The Club at New Seabury defies easy description precisely because it’s a full-service resort, offering myriad activities and dining options for members, couples, families and groups of all kinds, from business gatherings to a getaway with friends, all delivered in a truly special setting.
Whether you’re visiting for an overnight, a long weekend, or a week or more, The Club at New Seabury will make sure you’re not bored, rain or shine (keep in mind, during the summer, the club requires a three-night minimum stay).
Lodging at New Seabury is similar to many accommodations in ski country, with units that are either owned by the club or members available to rent. The recently refurbished Sea Quarter condominiums are two-story units, each with two bedrooms (with a king-size master bedroom, and two twin beds in the second bedroom) and two full bathrooms, situated near The Dunes golf course.
Like all the club’s lodging units, these condos are well-appointed and beautifully furnished, with fully equipped kitchen with a dining room and dishwasher, a washer and dryer, cable TV, a living room with pull-out sofa, air conditioning, and a sun room to unwind after your travels (or a full day of activities). The ideal occupancy is set at four, with a maximum occupancy of six (an additional $25 fee per night is required for each additional adult, although children 12 and under stay for free).
The seasonal “poppy cottages” are delightful, located near the Popponesset Inn and The Lure Raw Bar, and just a short stroll to the club’s private beach and seasonal waterfront swimming pool at the Cabana Club. Choose between one- and two-bedroom models, all of which reflect a traditional Cape Cod design, with muted color schemes and the comfy furnishings you need to feel right at home. The one-bedroom (queen bed), one-bathroom cottages have a galley-style, fully equipped kitchen, a dine-in living room with a pull-out sofa, plus cable TV and air conditioning. Typical occupancy is two, with a maximum occupancy of four.
Likewise, the two-bedroom poppy cottages feature a queen-size bed in the master bedroom, two cozy twin beds in the second bedroom, a full bathroom, a complete kitchen with dishwasher, sit-down dining room, and a sun room, plus a double pull-out sofa, washer and dryer, and air conditioning. Available year round for nightly rental, there is a one-week minimum during the summer.
Where to start? That all depends what mood you’re in. The Club at New Seabury has five restaurants and two beach clubs and beach bars, providing tremendous variety that should satisfy all but the most finicky eaters. The Popponesset Inn is the only resort dining spot that’s open to the public. Situated next door to The Cabana Club, the Popponesset offers lighter fare in a memorable setting, with panoramic views of Nantucket Sound and Martha’s Vineyard.
The inn is actually a 50-year-old restored Cape Cod-style restaurant with a menu that features typical Cape Cod fare such as New England clam chowder, stuffed quahogs and lobster rolls, to high-end entrees such as baked scallops casino, grilled swordfish peppernota, shrimp scampi and a salmon rice bowl. Complement your meal with one of the inn’s signature cocktails, ranging from a spicy Paloma to Bebida de Limo martini. The inn also is popular for weddings and private functions, with an available 200-seat oceanfront tent.
The upscale 95 Shore at the clubhouse is a bit more refined, as reflected by the “Cape Casual” dress code (shirts or sweaters are required and jeans are permitted, but they can’t have holes or tears, while cargo shorts, hats, T-shirts, tank tops, workout attire and halter tops aren’t allowed). My vegetarian daughter loves the kung pow cauliflower and truffle fries appetizers and Asian crunch salad, while the pan-seared crab cake appetizer has a special place in my wife’s heart. My eldest daughter, who has no objections to red meat, loves the blackened wagyu burger, while I’m typically torn between the shrimp pad Thai and char-grilled New York strip steak. The Not Your Mom’s American Chop Suey, with ground wagyu beef, is a wonderful nod to a New England classic. Cocktails range from specialty to old school, such as a white cosmo, filthy dirty martini, Royal 95 shore Manhattan, and a maple bourbon old fashioned.
Casual golfers like me look forward to the social repartee of the 19th hole almost as much as the game itself. The Sand Wedge Bistro doesn’t disappoint. Located in the country club, the bistro gives guests plenty of choices, with informal fare that includes deli sandwiches, chili and jumbo dogs. For anyone who prefers more of a sit-down meal, the bistro has a full bar and extensive menu, with gourmet hamburgers, salads and an array of hot sandwiches.
For beach bums, the Lure Raw Bar is the epitome of beachfront elegance, encouraging guests to relax and unwind with a cold beverage while sharing a bucket of steamers or oysters on the half shell, all while you take in the breathtaking views of Nantucket Sound. The Athletic Club Cafe offers guests a health-conscious menu of smoothies, juices, salads and flatbreads. After a solid workout, you owe it to yourself to refuel properly.
Now, for the star of the show. While the lodging accommodations and dining options at the Club at New Seabury are excellent, they alone don’t necessarily set the resort apart from other top-flight vacation escapes throughout New England. That mantle falls to the resort’s two exceptional golf courses. Both the par-72, 7,105-yard Ocean Course and the par-70, 6,041-yard Dunes Course, designed by William Mitchell, have undergone recent renovations by Bruce Hepner.
In short, Hepner outdid himself. But there’s no question that he had a fabulous canvas to work from. Hepner and former superintendent Scott Nickerson collaborated with AgriScapes, a Memphis-based course-construction company, beginning their work on the Dunes in 2017 to transform a somewhat pedestrian course into something approaching pristine.
“I thought I could make it feel like an old New England (Donald) Ross course, like Salem or Worcester,” Hepner told Golfweek magazine. “So I just whaled on the place, deconstructed it and put it back together. It’s an elegant, rolling piece of ground. The bunkers are very simple and Ross-like, but I got rid of all the Humpty Dumpty mounding. You won’t be overwhelmed by it, but you’ll say, ‘Hey, that’s a pretty cool member’s course.’ Compared to what it was, though, it turned out better than I could have imagined.”
With a distance of just over 6,000 yards, the Dunes is accessible to golfers of all ability levels, with numerous appealing short par 4s. Suffice to say, the revamped Dunes course presents a welcomed surprise for anyone who hasn’t visited New Seabury in the past four years. Then, after the Dunes reopened for play in 2019, Hepner and Nickerson turned their attention to the Club’s flagship Ocean Course. And the first order of business was to take advantage of the course’s unrivaled location.
“It was 20 steps from the water, and you could never see it,” Hepner told Golfweek. “Even on the entire first hole you never got a glimpse of the water. The primary dune along the golf course was eight to 10 feet high, and once you got into the interior it was cart path, green grass, oval bunkers. It looked like a Florida course.”
By adding native vegetation and “a lot of sand,” Hepner created a challenging course where the views, all the way to Martha’s Vineyard across the sound, match the windswept, links-style layout. The Ocean Course’s finishing three holes, as they wind back to the clubhouse, deserve a special mention.
Nickerson also acknowledged, in an interview with Golf Content Network, that New Seabury “took advantage of some down time (during last year’s pandemic) and renovated our practice facility and driving range.” New Seabury’s 12-acre practice facility boasts two expansive grass hitting areas that can accommodate up to 30 players, as well as a 2-acre short-game area that allows players to practice almost every type of shot that they might encounter inside 100 yards. Private lessons and clinics also are available.
The club’s golf shop, awarded the 2020 Platinum Award by the Association of Golf Merchandisers, is located immediately inside the front entrance on the lobby floor of the Country Club. Fully stocked with top brand names such as Callaway, Travis Mathews, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Peter Millar, Sofibella, Titleist, Stitch and Kjus, as well as shirts, shoes and shorts, the shop ensures that members and guests have everything they need for an outing. The sprawling, 42,000-square foot clubhouse also houses several dining options, including the relaxed vibe of the Sand Wedge Bistro and the refined 95 Shore overlooking Nantucket Sound.
Some diehard golfers will tell you that they can play the game all day. I’m not one of them. I’d rather have variety. And the Club at New Seabury ensures that I, and my family, can indulge in all kinds of active pursuits. For example, how about starting your day with a brisk ocean swim from the club’s private beach. That’s sure to get your blood flowing (or clear any cobwebs, if you overindulged the night before).
Not a fan of saltwater swimming? You can knock out a few laps at the heated outdoor pools housed at the Cabana Club or Athletic Club. All provide complimentary beach towels and beach chairs, while the Athletic Club also offers the sauna and fitness center.
Speaking of the fitness center, the Athletic Club addresses all your physical and nutritional needs. Fitness director Amy Warr oversees a slew of fitness-forward programs, including a variety of group classes, personal or small-group training. The outdoor deck is an ideal spot for group yoga classes and individual stretching. The gym — which the club refers to as your “home gym away from home” — features essential equipment, including weight machines, free weights, Life Fitness 9500 treadmills, Life Fitness 9500 cross trainers, and recumbent and upright bikes.
Services at the fitness center include personal training, massage therapy and group fitness classes. The center’s café delivers a health-conscious menu of smoothies, juices, salads and flatbreads, which you can enjoy while restoring your mind and body poolside, or under a cabana. Guests also can socialize with family and friends by the fire pit, on the deck or at the bar. Children can avail themselves of a host of games and activities poolside.
Next up, the award-winning New Seabury Tennis Center includes 16 well-maintained tennis courts, with 12 Har-Tru Clay Courts and four DecoTurf Hard Courts that allow guests the opportunity to hone their skills on the same surfaces found at Grand Slam events (with the exception of Wimbledon’s grass courts). The center also has two courts for the emerging sport of pickle ball.
The Athletic Club’s full-service pro shop is stocked with the latest tennis, yoga and fitness apparel, highlighted by popular brands such as Head, Nike, Adidas, Babolat and Wilson. It also provides racquet stringing, racquet gripping and racquet matching/customization services. Want to improve your game? Consider a lesson with one of the club’s many certified professionals. Junior clinics and matches are ideal for introducing children to the sport. In addition to monthly tennis events, the club offers a Junior Tennis Program, Adult Stroke and Strategy Clinics, as well as the intriguing Cardio Tennis.
Given all the club’s amenities, it’s little surprise that New Seabury received a 5-star rating from Tennis Magazine. There’s even a bocce ball and basketball court for those who like to switch things up.
Want more? Check out the number of strolling and cycling routes available (don’t forget to bring your sneakers and mountain bikes). Road and trail maps are provided to guide guests through the trails at New Seabury or in the surrounding towns. Next door, the 5,871-acre Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge is one of 566 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s largest and most diverse collection of lands and waters specifically set aside for the conservation and management of wildlife resources. Within the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge Partnership Boundary, visitors can investigate miles of walking trails, fire roads and neighboring partner lands, such as the Childs River for fishing or Moody Pond for paddling. Or you might prefer a hike along the Shining Sea Bike Path, a 3.3-mile paved trail passing along woods, marsh and beach from Falmouth to Woods Hole.
Last, but certainly not least, I have to tip my cap to the club’s comprehensive policy regarding cell phones and electronic devices. At the risk of sounding like a cranky old Yankee, far too many people have forgotten that having a loud conversation on a cell phone, or allowing kids to play on their electronic devices during dinner, is often disruptive to others close by. It should go without saying that the use of these devices should be kept to a minimum, but that’s simply not the case. So the club put it in writing.
According to that policy, cell phones and other electronic devices are allowed only in designated areas, including locker rooms, restrooms, parking areas and any area where permanent phones are placed for member/guest use. Talking on a cell phone or other electronic device is strictly prohibited in all other areas of the club, with the exception of emergency calls. “All electronic devices should be kept off or on a silent vibrate mode in consideration of other members/guests.
Electronic devices can be used with earbuds or other types of earphones. Electronic devices include, but are not limited to, cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops, watches, Gameboys and cameras,” states the policy.
I wholeheartedly applaud that decision. The Club at New Seabury provides both guests and members a wonderful escape from real world pressures. And they’re working to ensure that a little peace and quiet is part of that experience.