CANTON, Mass – According to the Scottish Golf Society, there are over 40,000 golf courses on planet earth. So, how do you find the best of the best with so many options?
Here’s a start. Golf Magazine has compiled a list of the 50-top 9-hole golf courses in the world, and one recipient of the award is the Milton-Hoosic Club in Canton Mass.
Milton-Hoosic was designed by Willie Park Junior a Scottish golfer that won both the 1887 and 1889 British Open. Mr. Park used his skills as a golfer to help in the design of over 170 golf courses in Europe and the U.S.A. One of his better-known designs is Olympia Fields, which is located on the outskirts of Chicago and the host of the 1928 and 2003 U.S. Open.
Willie wanted to create a course that is enjoyable for both high and low handicap golfers. He thought that when plotting the course, you should conform to the existing topography. Willie did not need a dozen bulldozers moving a million cubic yards of dirt to create an exciting course.
Park also had very specific ideas when it came to the greens on his courses. Willie said “putting greens should not be laid down on a plain, uninteresting piece of ground.” Some described his greens as a “tipped platter with two fried eggs.” That should give you something to think about; especially if you have a traditional egg breakfast before you tee off.
Milton-Hossic Club was founded in 1891. The course is a traditional links style course that reminds one of the classic golf clubs of Scotland. Native grass borders the fairways, and strategically placed bunkers demand accurate tee shots. We find ourselves in the middle of a drought, but the club has kept the conditions pristine from tee-to-green.
The first hole is a great way to get into the swing of things. It is only 329 yards from the back tees, but deep bunkers guard the green, so a high wedge or maybe a bump-and run shot up the middle will set you up for par. The second hole is the No. 1 handicap and plays 434 from the back tees. Aim for the cop bunker on the right side of the fairway. FYI – a cop bunker has two sides and comes into play on both the second and third fairway.
I loved the 4 th hole. The tee is elevated and you hit your shot into a valley. Your second shot is to an elevated green with a false front. The par-3’s are not long, only 136 yards and 178 from the back tees, but plan your shots carefully. The greens can be difficult to navigate, but once you adapt you will be putting on some of the finest greens in New England.
Milton-Hoosic is a club that has a focus on the family. The club is very active with junior golfers. This year the club ran classes for 138 juniors, one who was only three years old. If only we had all started playing when we were so young. Tennis courts and a large pool, complete with “kiddie” area are also available to members.
The locker room was recently renovated and would rival any private club in the country. The 19 th hole is comprised of a beautiful lounge, and there is generous outdoor seating on the second-floor deck which overlooks the course.
Milton-Hoosic Golf Club is deserving of its ranking as one of the world’s best 9-hole courses.