New England in the fall is one of the prettiest places on earth to play golf.
Flights from Heathrow to Boston are available from British Airways www.britishairways.com and Virgin Atlantic www.virgin-atlantic.com
Where to play
Most travelling golfers crossing the ?Pond? make for Florida or South Carolina, but in the state of Massachusetts and its exclusive Cape Cod region, you will find more golf courses within 30-minutes drive of each other than anywhere else in the United States, bar Myrtle Beach.
Boston?s Quarry Hills district is home to a former landfill site that has been reshaped into Granite Links Golf Club, a name rapidly emerging as one of Massachusetts best public set-ups. The final nine play over flatlands and look down over Boston. The par-5 18th, plays uphill and is treacherously dangerous but offers the ultimate risk/reward birdie/bogey finish.
The Berkshires, rolling mountainous hills in Berkshire County near neighbouring Connecticut, are considered the ideal summer retreat. Visit the serene courses at Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lenox. Set back amid mature trees and with a splendid mansion, Cranwell Resort and Spa has a reputation as a luxury ?wellness retreat?. In the foothills of the Berkshires, at Southwick, on the site of a working farm dating back to 1896, I found The Ranch Golf Club, a daily-fee golf course which is the closest thing most of us will get to playing one of America?s elite private set-ups.
The course is littered with tough short holes, most playing over 200 yards. There are also delightful holes like the 16th, which is known as ?Ski-Hill? ? 618 yards downhill, with a vast lake that flanks the left-hand side of the fairway.
Crumpin-Fox in Bernardston, about 90 minutes drive from The Ranch, draws its name from the Crump & Fox soda company. Its clubhouse is secluded, rustic and unassuming. The course is a fiendishly difficult challenge and perfectly laid out between vast acres of pines. Architect Roger Rulewich has built a public course worthy of comparisons with Pine Valley, a regular in the world?s top three courses. The fairways are tight and tree-lined with water at every turn and narrow, quick sloping greens.
The nearby Rees Jones-designed Blackstone National in Sutton is an exciting track and has hosted the PGA. The Brookside Club and the Ballymeade are two of the best public courses on the Cape.
At the Ballymeade Country Club an impressive entrance and stately clubhouse are matched by the magnificent course. Designed by Chi Chi Rodriguez, Ballymeade requires accuracy from the tee and a great touch around the greens. At the 11th tee you stand at the highest point on Cape Cod and play a tough par 3 of 174 yards. Views of the shimmering Buzzard?s Bay will distract even fully concentrated players.
In the 19th century Brewster was home to a large collection of notorious sailors who captained ships sailing the world?s ocean trade routes. The municipal-owned golf complex at The Captains Club is named after them. Each of the 36 holes on the Port and Starboard courses bears the name of a famous sea captain.
Where to Stay
The Ocean Edge Resort & Club in Brewster is a great choice for groups of golfers who can stay in spacious modern townhouses and enjoy the wide range of ales and tasty bar cuisine on offer in Bayzo?s Pub. There?s also a hotel on site. The town has welcoming boutiques, bakeries and candy shops.
Join the ?leef peepers? strolling along the paths of the Arnold Arboretum, six miles from downtown Boston and home to 265 acres and over 14,000 varieties of trees and shrubs. Many Americans head for Vermont to see what they believe are the best of the fall trees, but these take some beating.
Cape Cod has 15 towns and spans 64 miles, protruding from Massachusetts? eastern edge into the Atlantic ocean. The ?Cod? is extremely pleasing on the eye, and the old-world feel of the place is enhanced by stringent planning laws that ensure the buildings have a traditional look.
In Boston visit the ?Freedom Trail? catching the site of the Boston Tea Party ? where Britain?s unpopular taxes whipped native Bostonians into a rebellious fever.
Fall is the ideal time to visit Boston ? leave it much later and the cold snap of winter will have kicked in and not even a cup of New England Clam Chowder could persuade you to consider getting the sticks out.
OCEAN EDGE RESORT & CLUB ON CAPE COD
GRANITE LINKS GOLF CLUB
CRANWELL RESORT, SPA & GOLF CLUB
THE RANCH GOLF CLUB
BLACKSTONE NATIONAL GOLF CLUB
THE BROOKSIDE CLUB
BALLYMEADE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
THE CAPTAINS GOLF COURSE