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Nantucket Ride

© Jim Mandeville

Photo: Jim Mandeville

Everyone sighs To see the maples turn, but when you head to Vermont or New Hampshire in October, entire urban populations drive with you. Slip down to the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, on the other hand, and the world is your Wellfleet oyster. There, near the Mayflower’s sandy landing place, golf pilgrims embarking on buddy trips, family jaunts or couples getaways can put together multicourse excursions that wouldn’t be possible in high summer. The public golf is of a lofty enough standard to make a Cape and Islands sortie work beautifully, but even some of the region’s best private clubs are accessible if you know the right protocol.

Where to Play

Eastward ho! Country Club (Private)

Yes, that exclamation point could wear on a person, but the course more than merits one. The elevation changes along this design by the great English architect Herbert Fowler inject mystery and thrills into most shots, and to walk its heaving contours knowing that Cruden Bay and Walton Heath sprang from the same designer’s sketchpad only deepens the mood.

The first three holes acclimate you to the big shoulders of land that frame the playing corridors and the firm turf that keeps the ball running. The routing then moves onto an inspiring headland above Pleasant Bay. Things get Ballybunionesque on the 421-yard sixth, where a cratering fairway kicks drives to the right, aligning them with a four-story, rough-upholstered knob that makes the approach blind.

The front side gives way to a back nine with some huge rises and falls of land. Indeed, the member with whom I played those holes promised I’d be impressed by a “deep declivity” beyond the landing area on the eighteenth. It was, in fact, chasmlike, and a pleasure to land in for all the extra yards it brought, though it proved daunting as a launch pad for the day’s final iron shot.

325 Fox Hill Road, Chatham.


Herbert Fowler, 1922.







Guest Green Fee



508-945-0620, eastwardho.org.


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