5 Toughest Courses in Massachusetts

GreatHorse, located in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts, is rated the toughest course in the Bay State showing a men's course rating of 77.2 edging TPC Boston which is rated 77.0.

BOSTON, Mass – Bay State golfers are in an unanticipated interruption to our regularly scheduled spring hobby, so with an assist to Boston Business Journal, we share news of the five toughest-rated golf courses in Massachusetts.

There is no magic formula or popular vote to determine the top-five toughest. The data is supplied from U.S. Golf Association and Mass Golf based on the men’s course rating for a player with scratch handicap skill level. The slope rating is included meaning an evaluation of the relative difficulty of a course based on players other than scratch.

GreatHorse located in Hampden (about 10 miles southeast of Springfield) tops the list. This Brian Silva-designed 18-hole par 72 property opened in 2015 with high expectations and it stretches out to 7,577 yards from the tips. The men’s course rating is the highest in the Bay State at 77.2 with slope reading 140.

According to Boston Business Journal, USGA and Mass Golf the top-five toughest golf courses are listed here.

GreatHorse is a private family-friendly club offering 215 strategically-placed bunkers, green speeds of 13 on the stimpmeter and it hosted the 2018 Mass Open. Drake Hull holds the course record of 66.

“If you live in western Massachusetts and have played the course then you understand why GreatHorse is rated No. 1,” said Jay Nomakeo, golf connoisseur and marketing guru for over 20 years. “The course opened in 2015 with high expectations and is equal in quality and playing experience to TPC and some of the best courses in New England.” https://www.greathorse.com/

TPC Boston (located in Norton) places second in the list compiled by BBJ. The private 18-hole par 71 championship course opened in 2003, has hosted 16 PGA Tour events and is owned by the PGA Tour.

The par 5 second hole measures 542-yards, takes three well placed shots for any opportunity to make a birdie., and to make things challenging, the right side of this well-protected green flows towards the water, making the approach very difficult.

The course, with multiple environmentally sensitive areas, surrounds and an elegant, spacious clubhouse. The men’s course rating is 77.0 playing to 7,229 yards with a slope of 152. The 2020 Northern Trust, part of the FedEx Cup, is scheduled August 20-23. https://tpc.com/boston/

The Country Club (Championship Course), rated third toughest, is an exclusive private club established in 1894, and one of the five charter clubs of the USGA. The 18-hole par 72 layout measures 7,350 yards with a men’s rating of 76.3 and slope of 150.

TCC has hosted three US Open’s and the 2022 US Open is scheduled there. It hosted the 1999 Ryder Cup and total 14 USGA national championships. https://www.tcclub.org/

Willowbend (Championship Course) in Mashpee, an upscale private club opened in 1990, currently owned by Southworth Development, weighs in at No. 4. The 18-hole par 72 design shows a men’s course rating of 76, slope of 149 measuring 7,101 yards. https://willowbendcapecod.com/

This is a very private club located on Nantucket – a very private island 30 miles south of Cape Cod – which is almost impossible to play unless you have extraordinary connections is rated fifth toughest course in Massachusetts.

Nantucket Golf Club, an ultra-exclusive private club, checked in at No. 5 toughest course of about 400 in the Bay State. Nantucket, opened in 1998, is an award-winning course designed by Rees Jones required one of the highest initiation fees in the world to join at $200,000. Members include Bill Gates and Bill Belichick and caddies are mandatory.

The 18-hole par 72 Nantucket numbers show a 75.6 rating, slope of 141 while unfolding to 7,074 yards of prime oceanside real estate. nantucketgolfclub.org

Golf is a game of numbers and the most recent numbers show these five private golf courses rated the toughest in Massachusetts. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to play by a member or other golf connection enjoy the privilege!

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