Private courses you can play on Stowe, Vermont golf vacations

If you're starting to think about a golf vacation when things get really hot in July and August, I have an idea:  Stowe, Vermont.

Not only does Stowe, located in the northern third of the state, make for a classic, New England getaway, it features several top-quality, private courses that quietly allow non-member play.

Two of the best are the Stowe Mountain Club and The Country Club of Vermont, both graded "A-" by the hard-to-please editors of Golf Odyssey.

Here's how you can play them. 

The Stowe Mountain Club grants non-member access to guests of the neighboring Stowe Mountain Lodge (which was nice, but didn't quite have its act completely together when Golf Odyssey's editors visited).

The course, a beautiful alpine layout by Bob Cupp, has received numerous "best new course" accolades since opening in 2007.

And while it's only 6,411 yards from the tips, and its par fours and par fives are tantalizingly short, its slope rating is a hefty 141.

Indeed, what Stowe Mountain lacks in distance, it makes up for in shot-making requirements (including many forced carries) as the holes cling to the mountainside and sport jaw-dropping views, especially on the front nine.

The green fee is upwards of $200, but the Stowe Mountain Club delivers a posh, private club experience.

When the editors of Golf Odyssey last visited the uncrowded course, they said: "The fairways were like velvet and the greens immaculate" and "we were impressed by the staff's attentiveness throughout the day."

The other top private course playable on Stowe, Vermont golf vacations is the Country Club of Vermont.

It's an immaculately groomed, Graham Cooke design located 10 miles south in Waterbury Center (and tantalizingly close to the Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory).

Here, non-member play is granted to guests of the Trapp Family Lodge, Topnotch Resort, and Stoweflake Resort, at a rate of $175-$200.

Although this varied, rhythmic layout cannot match the fabulous panoramas of Stowe Mountain Club, every test on this still quite stunning layout is strong and interesting.

Plus, the course is delightfully devoid of course-side housing and its multiple tee boxes (which stretch the layout from 4,811 to 6,791 yards) ensure playability...so long as players can handle sidehill lies, tall grass off the fairway, and dramatic-sometimes excessive-contours on the greens.

If you choose to play here on your Stowe, Vermont golf vacation, consider walking the course just like a high percentage of members do. The editors of Golf Odyssey say you'll have, "a more enjoyable time than those who use hand carts or motorized trolleys."

With courses like this accessible to outside play, it's no wonder that, despite being better known as an eastern ski capital, Stowe receives three times more visitors in summer than winter.

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, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
2 Comments
Default User Avatar
Commented on

Maybe so. I would think that once any business get used to charging a certain amount, it's difficult, if not impossible, to drop prices.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Thanks for the info. The problem is that the green fees are way more than I want to pay. The Golf industry is kidding themselves. That's why private clubs in my area are struggling to retain members.

More from the author
3 Min Read
August 15, 2017
We recently spent a couple days at the historic Omni Bedford Springs in central Pennsylvania. Here's what we thought of this grande-dame resort.
2 Min Read
August 3, 2017
How does Ship Sticks compare to other services claiming to help you ship your golf clubs to your vacation destination? Here's the breakdown.
1 Min Read
July 25, 2017
Bandon Dunes is world-famous as one of golf's great destinations. But it's arguably the "little things" that take the experience to the highest level.
1 Min Read
July 10, 2017
We just came back from Bandon Dunes, but not without a pre-trip horror story of sorts. Share yours with us and we can commiserate.
1 Min Read
April 3, 2017
Want to know the real cost of shipping golf clubs vs. traveling with them? Check out this side-by-side comparison so you can make the right choice.
1 Min Read
February 14, 2017
Happy Valentines Day! Check out these 20 wonderful golf resorts for all you romantics out there.
Popular
4 Min Read
September 10, 2021
Pete Dye's golf course designs set the bar for innovation, creativity and challenge. We've compiled his top courses as rated on Golf Advisor by regular golfers like you.
21 Images
August 31, 2021
Flowers, castles and sunsets highlight the best photos from our users in the last hurrah of summer.
3 Min Read
September 16, 2021
Golf course news and notes: September, 2021.
4 Min Read
September 1, 2021
While the boom has been great for the industry, it's been tougher on golfers looking for tee times.
Load More
Now Reading
Private courses you can play on Stowe, Vermont golf vacations