How to play top private clubs on Cape Cod golf vacations

One thing Golf Odyssey's editors love to do is tip readers off about opportunities to play top private golf courses while on golf vacations...and how to do it without invitations from members.

This Cape Cod, Mass., region, including the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, is one of America's favorite summertime retreats. It's also an excellent destination for golf vacations, especially in autumn. The weather is generally delightful, summertime crowds and traffic are long gone, and prices are much more reasonable.

Perhaps more importantly, many of the region's top private courses open up to non-member play.  Most famously, Sankaty Head Golf Club ( on Nantucket welcomes public play beginning in mid-October.

This true links, an Emerson Armstrong design, dates from 1923 and is ranked among the top-20 courses in Massachusetts.

Similarly, back on Cape Cod, there's an excellent, private Robert Von Hagge design that allows non-members to call for tee times up to seven days in advance. Still another best-in-state course allows outside play by staying at a certain hotel.

Private golf courses like these are the easiest to access, but what many people don't know is that others simply require a call from a head golf professional. There are at least two fine private golf courses, one in Chatham and another in Yarmouth, that fall into this category.

By the way, if you do know members of private golf courses in the Cape Cod area, many of them relax their policies in the shoulder season and allow members to sponsor or "send" unaccompanied guests.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine,, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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How to play top private clubs on Cape Cod golf vacations