18 Must-Play Resort Golf Holes in New England

Our fantasy course of the toughest—and greatest—holes in the region. Plus, where to stay when you play.

Hole 13 at New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Course takes golfing to new heights. / Photo courtesy of Omni Mount Washington Resort

New England is home to many of the best golf courses in the country, an embarrassment of riches with jaw-dropping playing fields and top-rated holes unmatched practically anywhere. But hitting the green at a place that’s also a vacation destination? Well, now you’ve unlocked the next level of summer fun. That’s why this golf season, we decided to “build” our own fantasy resort course from 18 of the toughest and greatest holes within the borders of New England. The result is a must-play gem stretching from Vermont’s Green Mountains to the rocky coast of Maine, from the tranquil woods of Connecticut to the scenic shores of Cape Cod. With so many stunning and challenging holes to choose from, it wasn’t easy to land on the perfect lineup, and many tough choices had to be made. But now it’s time for the big reveal: the 18 must-play resort golf holes—and what to do when you’re not on the course.


The Mount Washington Course
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
No. 13 • Par 4 • 375 yards

Depending on how you feel about your game, the top of Omni Mount Washington Resort’s course, which rises 1,600 feet above sea level, might be a good place to yell at the top of your lungs, so no one can hear, “My game stinks!” Our favorite hole is No. 13, a par-4 slight dogleg right that routes oddly up the side of the mountain. The green is perched on the highest elevation of the mountaintop, and it’s worth mentioning that the spectacular view of the Presidential Mountain Range will last a lifetime. omnihotels.com.

STAY: The White Mountains make a mighty fine backdrop for warm-weather stays at the legendary Omni Mount Washington Resort, which still feels as elegant as it did when the hotel opened in 1902 but is now packed with plenty of modern creature comforts, from the plush spa, where you can enjoy a post-golf massage, to the rooftop bar with breathtaking views. The non-golfers in your group, meanwhile, can partake in horseback riding at Bretton Woods Stables, tennis on red-clay courts, and cross-country mountain biking on an extensive trail system. And that’s just what’s at the resort—from gorgeous Echo Lake Beach to the heart-pumping Mount Washington Cog Railway, there’s no shortage of things to do off-site.

Sugarloaf, hole 10 / Photo by Jamie Walter


Sugarloaf Golf Club
Carrabassett Valley, Maine
No. 10 • Par 4 • 330 yards

The undisputed best hole at this mountain resort’s course is No. 10—a short yet quirky par 4. “The hole is tree-lined on both sides of the fairway, with five bunkers to navigate,” explains head pro Chaz Babin. “It’s only 330 yards and drops dramatically, about 100 feet in total.” It also stands out thanks to the stunning mountain panoramas, which will complement your entire four-hour journey through a rural, thinly populated region of Maine. Just be sure to bring a few extra balls: The par-72 layout has some slope that’s sure to test your game. sugarloaf.com.

Photo courtesy of Sugarloaf

STAY: Stay-and-play packages here come with a discounted room rate at Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel or the nearby mountainside condos, both of which offer a comfortable base camp for fun summertime excursions—think mountain biking, ziplining (opening July 1), and kayaking on nearby Flagstaff Lake. Sugarloaf’s on-site 45 North restaurant, meanwhile, provides adventurers with plenty of fuel, including house-made spinach pasta and a positively decadent coffee-rubbed burger with candied bacon. Looking for sustenance just off the course? Grab a glass of vino and a hummus plate on the patio of Strokes Bar & Grille.

Photo courtesy of Lake of Isles


Lake of Isles North Course
North Stonington, Connecticut
No. 2 • Par 3 • 178 yards

If you’re one of those golfers whose mantra is, “I can shoot 88 anywhere,” you might need a few more lashes to get through Foxwoods Resort Casino’s challenging Lake of Isles North Course. Featuring rolling terrain, island greens, and extraordinary views, the award-winning Rees Jones–designed layout can stretch to a whopping 7,300 yards with multiple tee boxes. Hole No. 2, a par 3 dubbed “Yellow Perch,” offers the opportunity to hit downhill on the green to the sound of splashing lake water. Suggestion: Stand on the tee, well before the casino empties your wallet, and shout as loud as you can: “The Wonder of It All.” lakeofisles.com.

STAY: Here, “stay and play” has more than one meaning. Booking a golf package at Foxwoods just around the corner gives you access not only to 18 holes but also as many rounds of roulette as you can handle on the casino floor. Not a gambler? Spend your cash at the outlet mall or gorgeous spa (complete with indoor pool!) instead, then party at Boston nightlife king Ed Kane’s Scorpion Bar or kick back at splashy restaurants, including Italian favorite Alta Strada, from Boston chef Michael Schlow. And that’s just what’s inside the resort: Foxwoods is only a 20-minute drive from charming Mystic, with its historical museum, aquarium, and boutiques. foxwoods.com.

Killington / Photo by Chandler Burgess


Killington Resort
Killington, Vermont
No. 15 • Par 4 • 370 yards

Mention Killington to New England skiers, and their pulse tends to quicken. But the resort’s championship golf course, carved high in the Green Mountain Forest, is decidedly less punishing. With elevations rising to 2,000 feet, the 18-hole design is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. The signature hole is No. 15, a nifty par 4 (birdies are rare) featuring a postcard-perfect view of the mountain range. Hit your driver hard and long to a wide-open fairway, and you might get home in two. Hit your next shot in front and expect a short pitch-and-run to the oversize green. With your feet planted firmly and wrists locked at impact, make that par putt to create a lasting memory of surviving one of the biggest mountains in the East. killington.com.

STAY: The first tee of the course is located just 200 yards from the front door of the Killington Grand Resort Hotel—so if you’re looking for convenience (not to mention a pool and fire pit), book here. When you’re not hitting balls, take advantage of Killington’s bike park, embrace your inner daredevil on the mountain coaster and ropes course, or ogle nearby waterfalls such as Thundering Brook Falls.

Photo by Jim Mandeville


Owl’s Nest Resort
Thornton, New Hampshire
No. 14 • Par 3 • 220 yards

“Play it once and remember it forever.” That’s how Owl’s Nest operations manager Cole Ryan describes this hole, which offers sublime happiness if you knock your first shot on the green, then two-putt for par. The most difficult part “is for golfers to focus on their game, since there are spectacular views in every direction,” Ryan says. Of course, all of the holes at this four-season resort, encompassing 600-plus acres in the heart of the White Mountains, offer scenic distractions, with distinctive elevation changes that show off its charm and challenges. owlsnestresort.com.

STAY: On a sunny summer weekend, there’s really no reason to leave the Owl’s Nest resort—not with 13 pickleball courts, eight European clay tennis courts, four platform tennis courts, and even yoga classes at the resort’s beautiful LakeHouse, all with a leafy alpine backdrop. Spend evenings at the aptly named restaurant Panorama Six82, which will be expanding this summer with an adjacent brick-oven pizzeria. And forget boring hotel rooms—here, the ever-growing lodging options include newly built one-bedroom “nano” cottages, two-bedroom suites with lake views, and larger homes that’ll fit you and all of your golfing pals.

Photo courtesy of Ocean Edge Resort


Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
Brewster, Massachusetts
No. 17 • Par 5 • 600 yards

At six football fields long, this dogleg-left, uphill par 5 is one of the most challenging holes on the course—and not one you’re likely to ever forget. Still, you don’t need to be Mickelson or Sorenstam to make par. Steer clear of the lefthand fairway bunkers to set up your approach, and a good second shot should leave you inside 200 yards. Bonus: The handsome property, which features tree-lined fairways and dramatic elevation changes, boasts gorgeous views of Cape Cod Bay. oceanedge.com.

STAY: If sipping a cranberry mojito while watching a sherbet sunset over the bay sounds like the perfect après-golf activity, you’re in the right place. A mansion-side stay at the sprawling Ocean Edge complex includes access to your very own private beach (plus gratis shuttle service to the pro shop two and a half miles away). You’re also a shell’s throw from all of the other amenities the resort offers, from splashy outdoor pools and tennis courts to an ocean-view restaurant with one of the tastiest lobster rolls around. Want to get up close and personal with the seafood on your plate? Book a walking oyster-bed tour along the Brewster Flats.


Lake Morey Resort
Fairlee, Vermont
No. 12 • Par 5 • 504 yards

Come for the unspoiled Green Mountain beauty, stay for the par-70, 6,024-yard course, which has bunkers and water hazards sure to generate a few swearwords. Hole No. 12 at the Geoffrey Cornish–designed gem is an uphill par 5 that plays over 500 yards: After your drive through a narrow chute, you can plan on two more shots to the guarded green. Your reward for finishing the hole? Looking back toward the tee for second-to-none views. lakemoreyresort.com.

STAY: When you arrived at summer camp as a kid, the possibilities seemed endless. That’s kind of what it’s like to stay for a few nights lakeside at the family-friendly Lake Morey Resort right on the Vermont/New Hampshire line. When you’re not golfing, take a canoe for a spin, try your hand at lawn games like bocce and cornhole, join a game of volleyball, or even play a round of bingo. Just don’t run anyone’s underwear up a flagpole or start a food fight in the elegant waterfront dining room—that would obviously be frowned upon.


BoothBay Harbor Country Club
Boothbay, Maine
No. 8 • Par 4 • 326 yards

No time to visit some of the great golf resorts of the world, such as Pebble Beach, Streamsong, or Innisbrook? Rejoice, New England golf aficionados—Boothbay Harbor is less than a three-hour drive from Boston and is as good as golfing gets. Known for its diverse topography and tour-like conditions, the course was reconstructed in 2016 and features six signature-worthy holes. The finest is No. 8. From the elevated tee box, the entire hole is laid out in front of you, including a water hazard on the left and a large landing area down the middle, should you manage to hit a drive straight. boothbayharborcc.com

STAY: There’s nothing more quintessentially Maine than sitting on a deck in the summertime, watching the boats bob away in calm bay waters. Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort offers just that at its on-site restaurant Coastal Prime—and also happens to be a prime jumping-off point for all that midcoast Maine has to offer, whether you’re keen on botanical gardens, lighthouses, musical theater, or just a good old-fashioned lobster dinner. There are 79 plush rooms, many with water views, but if you’re looking to stay and play with your group a little longer, check out the weekly “Golfside Villa” rentals. boothbayharboroceansideresort.com.

Photo via Opal Collection


Samoset Golf Course
Rockport, Maine
No. 4 • Par 5 • 480 yards

Laid across 230 acres of prime Maine real estate, Samoset Golf Course is one of the most remarkable 18-hole layouts in New England—some, in fact, have fondly referred to it as “Pebble Beach of the East.” The 121-year-old tract boasts dazzling views of the Atlantic Ocean and Penobscot Bay, particularly surrounding its signature hole: No. 4, a par-5 dogleg left that hugs the coastline with a postcard-perfect green surrounded by a rugged stone seawall. You might even spot some seals hanging out on the rocks at low tide. opalcollection.com/samoset.

Photo via Opal Collection

STAY: Summertime in midcoast Maine is the way life should be, especially if you’re staying at Samoset Resort, where many of the newly renovated guest rooms feature glimpses of the glimmering sea from the private balconies. You can venture out for a hike in Camden Hills State Park (the views from the top of Mount Battie are nothing short of exhilarating), enjoy a locally sourced meal at the acclaimed Primo restaurant, or browse the area’s many art galleries. But hanging by the zero-entry pool or playing lawn games in the resort’s expansive oceanfront “backyard” sounds pretty good, too.

Photo courtesy of the Golf Club at Equinox


The Golf Club at Equinox
Manchester Village, Vermont
No. 16 • Par 3 • 181 yards

The uphill No. 16 here is the real deal. The longest short hole on the course, which has been ranked as one of Vermont’s best since it was designed by Walter Travis in 1927 and renovated by Rees Jones in 1991, it requires a solid tee shot over a passing creek and a trio of bunkers. Par is good; bogey is common. equinoxresort.com.

STAY: Back in Revolutionary times, the building in the center of Manchester Village hosted local Council of Safety meetings. Almost 300 years later, it still stands, but now as part of the Equinox resort, which offers plush rooms, a destination spa, and more outdoor adventures than you could possibly squeeze into one weekend—so better make it a long one. Fly-fishing, off-roading, falconry—it’s all here, and it’s all designed to get your adrenaline pumping. When you’re ready to chill out, drop by Hildene, the former summer home of Abraham Lincoln’s descendants, to peep the formal gardens in bloom, and the Silver Fork restaurant for a fusion meal in an intimate (just six tables!) setting.

Photo by Seven Roads Media


Cape Cod National Golf Club
Brewster, Massachusetts
No. 6 • Par 3 • 178 yards

Hole No. 6 at the highly acclaimed Cape Cod National Golf Club, where access is restricted only to members and guests of the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, is one of the best reasons to play here. It has character: water, sand, and a flawless putting surface. Just be sure to keep your tee shot right when playing—first, to avoid rinsing your ball (and not by the conventional means of a ball washer), and second, to avoid two deep bunkers that dominate the left side. ccngolf.org.

STAY: Sea breeze in your hair, live music in your ear, and a daiquiri in your hand: this defines an evening on the patio at Wequassett’s Outer Bar & Grille. In fact, a stay at this ultra-luxe resort is all about the good life, whether you’re chilling poolside on a cushioned chaise lounge, relaxing in your water-view suite, or taking the complimentary boat shuttle to Outer Beach. New this year is an exclusive partnership with the British brand Barbour—don’t miss the signature Macallan cocktail at Thoreau’s bar and the check-in-adjacent “borrowing closet,” where you can grab a waxed jacket or a pair of wellies for clamming, boating excursions, or just chilly nights under the stars. wequassett.com.

Photo courtesy of Woodstock Country Club


Woodstock Country Club
Woodstock, Vermont
No. 14 • Par 4 • 272 yards

Not all golf holes are beasts designed to aggravate, tease, and make us consider taking up tennis. The most par-able of the 18 holes on this course, Woodstock’s No. 14 makes the case for fun thanks to a gentle twist and zero heavy demands. The hole slides into a dogleg left, with a fairway bunker acting more as a marker than a hazard. While the picturesque course is overall short by modern standards (measuring just over 6,000 yards), it requires creativity and shot-making skills to navigate the creek that runs the length of it. woodstockinn.com.

STAY: Strolling back into the 1892-built Woodstock Inn & Resort after a summer day on the links is like a breath of fresh air, with a comfortable ambiance that invites you to sit back and unwind with a cold drink. Also inviting is the Red Barn Dinners series, which launches again this month. Featuring produce sourced from Woodstock Inn’s own Kelly Way Gardens, it offers the chance to savor an interactive four-course meal—and make a few new friends around the long tables!—select Wednesdays through September. Looking to pick up your own local catch? Book one of the resort’s Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing excursions, which will take you out to cast in Vermont’s sparkling streams and rivers.


Atkinson Resort & Country Club
Atkinson, New Hampshire
No. 12 • Par 5 • 477 yards

Grip it and rip it on the tee box of this splendid par 5, guarded on the left side by a long fairway bunker that prevents balls from rolling into the woods. Then get ready for a challenge. It’s a “real risk-reward hole with a pond in front, which cannot be seen as you prepare for your second shot,” notes director of golf Peter Doherty. “Needless to say, course knowledge is important.” Good thing Atkinson also offers a state-of-the-art practice facility and its own golf academy for players of all levels. atkinsonresort.com.

STAY: You played a great game, but it’s steaming hot outside, and you could really use a shower (and maybe a nap) before throwing one back with your crew. No worries—your room overlooking the green awaits upstairs. Overnight golf packages at Atkinson Resort come with a round or more of golf per person, plus use of the practice facility with unlimited range balls. The menu at the Stagecoach Grille, meanwhile, is all about classic country-club fare (did someone say prime rib and clam chowder?)—just the fuel you’ll need to play another round before making the quick trip back to Boston the next day.

Photo courtesy of Mohegan Sun


Mohegan Sun Golf Club
Baltic, Connecticut
No. 6 • Par 5 • 485 yards

It’s okay to walk onto the tee at No. 6 with some swagger, even though the hole might eat your lunch. The par 5 slopes downward, then doglegs left 90 degrees, with plenty of bunkers along the way that could lead to the dreaded snowman, a.k.a. 8 on the scorecard. The safe play is a little baby fade that hugs the right side. Shot number two should be short of the creek that guards the front of a kidney-shaped green. (Only the bold and not-so-brilliant go for it in two.) There are plenty of other impressive holes on this course as well, originally designed in 1960 by the legendary golf-course architect Geoffrey Cornish and just renovated by world-class designer Ron Garl. mohegansun.com.

Photo courtesy of Mohegan Sun

STAY: It’s a public course, so you don’t have to stay at Mohegan Sun casino to hit the links here. But with great restaurants, a bumping nightlife scene, and comfy rooms (oh yeah, and poker) just 20 minutes away from the course, why wouldn’t you? If you’re there the weekend of June 17 and 18, grab tickets to the annual Sun BBQ Fest, featuring 50 different dishes, cold beer and cocktails, live music, and plenty of outdoor fun. Bonus for those looking for a little peace and quiet in between bets: The area surrounding the casino is along the Connecticut Wine Trail, with quaint stops such as Preston Ridge Vineyard providing a relaxing antidote to the hustle and bustle of the casino.

Photo by James Baigrie


Wyndhurst Golf & Club
Lenox, Massachusetts
No. 3 • Par 4 • 263 yards

This short par 4 defines the thrill of a risk-reward hole: Conservative players can lay up with a short iron in hand, while long hitters can challenge the green, which has four menacing bunkers guarding it. It’s just one of the many exciting holes you’ll find at this championship golf course nestled in the heart of the Berkshires, designed nearly 100 years ago by the famed duo of Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek with tree-lined fairways and contoured greens spread across rolling western Massachusetts terrain.


STAY: The whole point of a stay at the associated Miraval Berkshires is to take care of your body and soul—and that’s reflected in the all-inclusive wellness resort’s golf program, which includes mindfulness lectures and a “Swinging Under the Stars” session that encourages players to “be the ball” and channel their inner Ty Webb by using senses other than sight while putting. When you’re not focusing on your swing, drop in to a floating meditation class, pop into a vibrational sound chamber, learn how to raise chickens—or just do nothing at all. It’s all about what makes you feel like the best version of yourself, after all. miravalresorts.com.

Photo courtesy of the Preserve Sporting Club & Residences


The Preserve Sporting Club & Residences
Richmond, Rhode Island
No. 3 • Par 3 • 155 yards

What’s short, intimidating, yet still enjoyable to play? No, it’s not a blow whistle or a kazoo—it’s the third hole at the Preserve, according to director of grounds Dan Golding. “It requires a tee shot over water to a small, kidney-shaped green surrounded by bunkers. Hit a slightly lofted club with plenty of carry, or you’ll find the pond, where members and guests are known to fish for bass, not Titleists,” he suggests. preservesportingclub.com.

STAY: This paradise for sportsmen and -women takes the outdoors seriously. When you’re not on the course, try your hand at everything from archery to clay shooting to fishing on the Preserve’s sprawling 3,500-acre grounds. Accommodations at this luxury resort and master-planned community range from modern suites in the Hilltop Lodge to spacious homes and cabins for groups, but with unforgettable experiences like the Maker’s Mark “Hobbit Houses”—which offer upscale lunch and dinner menus with bourbon pairings in a fairy tale–like setting—and scotch-and-cigar tastings in a safari tent, you likely won’t be spending much time in your room.

Photo by ACJ Photography


The Mountain Course at Spruce Peak
Stowe, Vermont
No. 15 • Par 4 • 340 yards

Spruce Peak’s course is a low-key Vermont treasure, featuring a rugged, likable design with an 1,800-foot elevation that offers bird’s-eye views of Stowe Valley and Peregrine Lake—not to mention rocky outcroppings and wildlife. The most exceptional hole is No. 15, which requires a 175-yard carry over a spectacular rock face that’ll leave you with a short-iron approach (the pro advises not to go over the green). sprucepeak.com.

STAY: The best part about visiting Stowe in the summer? It might be drinking Heady Topper from the town’s iconic Alchemist brewery en plein air. No matter, a visit here is positively dreamy, with hiking, biking, and good eats galore (we love the date-night ambiance of Cork Restaurant and Natural Wine Shop and the casual vibes of Idletyme Brewing Company). There’s also plenty to love on-site at Spruce Peak resort—including well-appointed mountain-view rooms, top-notch dining at Alpine Hall and the Tipsy Trout, plus live music, artisan markets, and movies on the green starting at the end of this month.


Sunday River Golf Club
Newry, Maine
No. 16 • Par 3 • 142 yards

This may be ski country, but insiders know it’s also a golfer’s delight. Step onto this Robert Trent Jones Jr.–designed course that features 18 holes twisting through the thick and hilly Maine woods, and you’ll immediately understand why it’s one of our favorites. No. 16, in particular, is one dandy of a hole, according to head pro Jerry Roman: At first glance, the approach looks simple, playing downhill to a sloping green and expansive greenside bunker. But the difficulty (and memorability) factor is a 10—you just might walk off thinking you recorded your most pleasurable double bogey ever. sundayriver.com.

STAY: When you think Sunday River, snow-capped mountains might spring to mind—but summer here brings fresh-air fun without the heavy gear and goggles. Western Maine is home to several hidden-gem swimming holes for an après-golf dip, including crystal-clear Frenchman’s Hole. If you’d rather be on the water than in it, Bethel Outdoor Adventure offers kayaks, canoes, and more for trips down the Androscoggin River. Back at Sunday River, ride the “Chondola” up North Peak for breathtaking views before getting your steps in with a downhill hike. And with deep discounts offered for golfers at both the Jordan and Grand Summit hotels on-site, all you have to decide is which heated outdoor pool you’d prefer to swim in.

Additional reporting by Paul Daly, publisher/founder of Pro Golf Weekly, and Michael Suvalle, editor of  New England Golf Guide.

First published in the print edition of the June 2023 issue