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Nantucket Ride

© Jim Mandeville

Photo: Jim Mandeville

Sankaty Head Golf Club (Private)

On the Tuesday after Columbus Day, this landmark club summons its noblesse oblige and quietly opens to nonmembers. From then until December 15, golf pilgrims are turned loose on the classic layout beneath the lighthouse on Nantucket’s Siasconset (pronounced “SCON-set”) shore. Sankaty Head has the winds and tangy air of a links but not the soils and turf, and the lies are relatively level for seaside golf.

The highlight of the front nine is the fifth, a splendid two-shotter. After your drive clears a transverse ridge, you find your ball, hit it again, then ring an old ship’s bell to give players on the tee (it’s October now, so there won’t be any) the all-clear. The semi-punchbowl green accepts punch-and-run approaches or lofted iron shots.

The second nine tracks inland in rhythmic fashion, playing downslope then up, upwind then down. The whole place is reminiscent of Shinnecock Hills—lightly treed, with waving grasses that define the hole corridors—but its challenges are far less severe.

100 Sankaty Road, Siasconset.

Architect

Emerson Armstrong, 1923.

Yardage

6,711.

Par

72.

Slope

130.

Guest Green Fee

$151.

Contact

508-257-6655, sankatygolfclub.org.

The Captains Golf Course, Port and Starboard

The two eighteens at Captains are called Port and Starboard, and the nautical theme continues with dock cleats that double as tee markers and holes named for sea captains from Brewster’s briny past. Both courses consist of newer holes plus some from the original eighteen, which opened in 1985.

“Kettle” is the geological term for a glacier-formed depression, and “kame” is its opposite, a glacial mound or ridge. One memorable sequence on the Port Course involves these post-Pleistocene features, as a scary-deep dry kettle fronts the green of the par-five thirteenth and a kettle pond guards the short par-four fourteenth. Both holes also have kames to be negotiated, as does number sixteen, a delightful driving hole that orders up a shot between two copses of trees before swinging its fairway hard right toward a green site tucked behind yet another kettle.

1000 Freeman’s Way, Brewster.

Architect

Brian Silva, 1985, 1999.

Yardages

6,724 (Port), 6,776 (Starboard).

Par

72.

Slope

130. Green Fees: $40–$64.

Contact

508-896-1716, captainsgolfcourse.com.

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