Visiting Boston for the U.S. Open? Play these public courses
08 Jun 2022
by Sean Melia of

With the U.S. Open coming to Boston, we wanted to share some public courses that we think are worth seeing if you’re visiting for the U.S. Open and plan to squeeze in a little golf of your own.

We have organized this list based on proximity to The Country Club, at the bottom we included courses that are a long way from The Country Club, but offer an excellent detour if you’re driving to or from Boston.

All rates are for walking.

George Wright Golf Course; Dorchester, Mass.
Rates (non-resident): Monday-Thursday: $50, Weekends: $57
Distance from The Country Club: 4.6 miles

George Wright is one of two courses within Boston’s city limits. It’s one of the best public courses in the nation; known for its challenging holes, dramatic rock formations, and blind shots. Add in their fabulous hot dog and it is one of the most challenging tee times to lockdown in the state.

The course was designed in the 1930s by Donald Ross. The club's conception was during the roaring 1920s and the clubhouse befits the wealth of the decade. Originally, George Wright was supposed to be a private club, but when the Great Depression hit it turned into a publically-funded project and now it belongs to the city.

Franklin Park Golf Course; Jamaica Plain, Mass.
Rates (non-resident): Monday-Thursday: $50, Weekends: $57
Distance from The Country Club: 4.9 miles

The second course within Boston city limits is Franklin Park. It was also designed by Donald Ross. It’s an open lay-out and feels as public as a course can in America. Pedestrian walkways ring sections of the course for walkers, runners, and commuters. Some people even commute on foot directly through the course.

Franklin Park is a playable layout with rolling hills and a routing that dips in and out of a central piece of land with wispy fescue and very few trees.

Franklin Park Golf Course (credit: City of Boston)

Fresh Pond Golf Course (9 holes); Cambridge, Mass.
Rates (non-resident):: Monday-Friday: $27 (9 holes) and $38 (18 holes)
Distance from The Country Club:: 5.9 miles

Head due north from The Country Club and you’ll hit Fresh Pond Golf course. A funky, quirky nine-holer that's tucked between Fresh Pond and Huron Ave. Sirens and horns will be the backdrop for many of your shots, along with cyclists, runners, and dog walkers along the Fresh Pond footpaths.

The course isn’t overwhelming, but there are a few charming shots and stretches of holes that will help scratch the golf itch in short order.

Sandy Burr; Wayland, Mass.
Rates: $35-$69
Distance from The Country Club: 17 miles

How many courses have you played that open with back-to-back par fives? Sandy Burr is a classic Donald Ross design where par might not matter a lot due to its length, but accuracy and good putting certainly does.

Sandy Burr has some reachable par 4s, long par 3s, and a few lovely quintessential holes that remind you you’re in New England.

D.W. Field; Brockton, Mass.
Rates: $45-$55
Distance from The Country Club: 26 miles

A hidden gem in the town known for its boxers. D.W. Field has a great first tee vibe, as golfers mill about enjoying a post-round beverage or pop into the pro shop to check in. The hustle and bustle is invigorating.

The course has a superb set of greens and the routing includes some neat features like a rock wall that runs through a section of holes on the back nine.

Red Tail; Devens, Mass
Rates (cart included): $87-$124
Distance from The Country Club: 38 miles

If you’re willing to drive about an hour to Devens, Mass, Red Tail is an excellent option. Designed by Brian Silva, Red Tail offers some interesting New England golf. Silva is a Raynor master-restorer and many of his original courses have some classic Raynor features. There’s a dramatic uphill punch bowl green at Red Tail that always offers an entertaining shot.

The variation of holes at Red Tail isn’t just about shape. There are sections of the course where a player must navigate tight driving holes and then others with wide-open vistas and waste areas.

Additionally, Devens is former army base and some remnants remain on the course, including a watchtower on the 18th hole. The seventeen is named “Bunkers” in reference to the ammunition bunkers that are on the right side of the hole.

Waverly Oaks; Plymouth, Mass.
Rates: $95-$120
Distance from The Country Club: 55 miles

Plymouth is packed with golf courses. The sandy soil and cape cod air provide great land for golf. There are plenty of very good options in the town where the pilgrims landed, but Waverley Oaks offers the most intrigue for visitors from outside the Bay State.

Waverly is another Brian Silva design with bold features. The bunkering is some of the best around as far as deception and framing holes. Golfers will steer clear of a bunker off the tee only to realize it had no significance at all and was either out of reach or easily carried.

Waverly also has a great 19th hole where golfers can recap their round and watch groups battle the challenging 18th green.

Waverly Oaks (Credit: Waverly Oaks GC)

If you are you driving through Massachusetts from the west or north to the US Open these four courses in central and western Massachusetts are worth a detour on your way to or from Brookline.

Driving through New York, Connecticut, or Rhode Island

Marion Golf Club; Marion, Mass
Rates: $20-$30 (unlimited golf for $45 on weekday and $55 on weekends)
Distance from The Country Club: 62.3

Affectionately known as “Little Marion” this nine-hole favorite is where George Thomas cut his teeth as a course architect. The quirky set-up includes rock walls, hard doglegs, and small greens. It's built a loyal following and new ownership has reinvigorated the course.

Have access to Kittansett Club down the street? Tack on an emergency nine at Marion! Or show up and pay to play the 2,695 yards, par 34 course as many times as you’d like.

The Ranch Golf Club; Southwick, Mass.
Rates: $90-100 ($80 twilight)
Distance from The Country Club: 96 miles

With a name like The Ranch, one would think the course is flat. However, The Ranch is a wild ride through some serious elevation changes. There are plenty of thrilling tee shots that play hundreds of feet downhill and others that force players to choose the proper club to crest a hill and find the putting surface.

The Ranch GC (credit: Golfpass)

Driving from Upstate New York or Vermont.

Crumpin-Fox; Bernardston, Mass.
Rates: $79-$115
Distance from The Country Club: 91 miles

Crumpin-Fox is often found near or at the top of “Best of” lists for public courses in the state. It’s a quintessential New England course in central Massachusetts. The course really pops in the fall, but even in the summer, the course is beautiful and challenging. The back and front nines are distinct from each other as they send players off into different pieces of land.

Taconic Golf Club; Williamstown, Mass.
Rates: $200 (Some cheaper rates for guests of members)
Distance from The Country Club: 153 miles

One of the best college courses in America, it recently experienced Gil Hanse’s magic touch. The course is tucked in the northwest corner of Massachusetts. The views of the Berkshires will draw you in, but the golf is exceptional. Holes run up and down and around rolling hills and small valleys. It might provide the most challenging back nine in the entire state if you choose to play from the back tees.

Taconic is semi-private, so call the pro-shop five days in advance for a tee time.

Taconic Golf Course (Credit: Links Gems)

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