Country Club of New Hampshire
|Red (W)||72||5114 yards||69.4||120|
|Gold M: 72.0/130||380||190||490||378||380||190||396||508||435||3347||440||144||361||450||365||217||445||420||525||3367||6714|
|Blue M: 69.8/123 W: 75.0/132||357||160||473||350||363||163||371||448||362||3047||367||132||354||428||350||169||405||390||475||3070||6117|
|White M: 67.5/119 W: 71.4/124||340||143||463||330||348||135||355||430||350||2894||350||125||340||418||340||159||390||319||440||2881||5775|
|Red W: 69.4/120||341||127||393||275||277||125||278||380||326||2522||305||120||290||401||300||118||312||316||430||2592||5114|
Golf Advisor: Top Courses in New Hampshire
Spectacular mountain course with some really great holes. #8, 9 , 16 and 17 are memorable holes. Greens are flawless, couple bare spots in the fairways but can be expected with hot sun and drought conditions. Jim the ranger is a super cool guy. Stopped to talk and greet me. He’s an asset to this club. Can’t wait to get back
Although the reviews were great, when I arrived at the course it seemed at first glance to be a back forth layout. But it was nothing like that. It took me though a challenging well manicured layout. With individual holes that flowed and embraced the not too dramatic but mountainous terrain. It was walkable despite the terrain.
One of New Hampshire's Top Courses
The Country Club of New Hampshire is aptly named: Set in the peaceful countryside in the outskirts of the small town of North Sutton, the club at once seems emblematic of all that is good about classic New Hampshire golf courses. The clubhouse is good looking but unpretentious with all you expect (and may need) inside; moreover, a sizeable driving range is situated behind for a quick, pre-round warm-up. The course’s excellent routing shows off the hills and mountains, forests and fields. It has everything you could want from a classic-styled, parkland course (though my fifteen-year-old son did not, somewhat mysteriously, find it dramatic enough). Despite its enviable reputation, this is not a course that sets out to crush you, even though both slope and course ratings are hefty enough from all sets of tees, because the holes are invariably fair.
The course’s opening hole, a 380 yard par four, presents a landing zone framed by three bunkers, but the bigger problem may be the overhanging tree limbs encroaching on the fairway. My tee ball hit one of the limbs, deflected straight ahead, and ended up in the right next to the 150 marker in the center of the fairway; my gentle suggestion to the greenskeeper would be to prune these! The approach here is to a large green (36 yards deep and 25 wide) green with rolling contours. The green on the second, a challenging 160 yard par three, is narrower than the first, and the tee-shot objective should be to hit, at all costs, the putting surface, because three sizeable and rather deep bunkers utterly defend the front and front-sides of this target.
The Country Club of New Hampshire possesses the best set of par-fives I’ve played in New Hampshire, although these are essentially matched by those at Passaconnaway. Hole three, a 495 yard gem with a long pond interfering with left side on the second shot, begins a stretch of excellent front nine holes that runs through eight, and is the best strategic par five in North Sutton. The hole has three sections or legs, offset from a direct line to the green: the first and longest, where the drive lands, angles out a bit right; the second (sided on the left by the pond) moves back left by about 30 degrees more; the third angles back right somewhat, into the green. After a good drive, your strategy may be to go for the green, a hard target; the other option is, of course, laying up. The latter choice still requires high precision on the second shot, because you must play those angles carefully, but this can be a birdie hole, still, provided you hit three shots accurately to reach the green. The fourth, like a pair of other front-nine par-fours (5 and 7) that follow it, is a good test of driving. The fairway is wide enough, yet a large, steep-faced bunker set into a burly mound guards the left side, and then there’s always the matter of this hole’s totally tree-lined perimeter to punish more widely errant shots, but if your drive does find this fairway, a short-iron is all you’ll need into the moderately contoured green. Similarly to the previous hole, number five has one lone, strategically positioned bunker in the landing zone, which is sided by rough and, further back, trees. But Mitchell added a variation to the theme by embedding the bunker in a large and fairly lengthy ridge, almost a series of mounds, that defend this landing zone, and because you approach the fairway from a 30 degree (or so) angle, the bunker/mounds must be flown to hit the prime zone. A narrow and more sharply sloping green (than seen previously) will complicate the approach and make par more elusive on this hole, arguably the foremost short four-par on the course.
The string of excellent holes continues over six, seven, and eight, which are, respectively, a par three, four, and five. The sixth hole is a 169-yard thug that travels uphill to a green lying some twenty feet above the tee, meaning careful judgement of distance is required. The green is strongly fortified by two massive bunkers, the left one literally 40 yards long. Moreover, woods sit behind it, and this green fall-offs steeply on both sides. I found myself hitting a hard, straight five-iron to reach pin-high, and assuredly the shot was not ‘easy,’ (even with the right club) and, if I had not ‘pured’ it, as the pros say, there would have been a difficult second afterwards. And, oh yes, the green is quite contoured and breaks sharply from various positions. The seventh is a very fine 376 yard par-four, a dogleg-left with a pond, crossing the fairway from just inside 100 yards, which will rein in big hitters (but also assist them, as they can blow their drives past the two fairway bunkers on the right, while average hitters must contend with them). This hole also possesses a cleverly constructed green complex (53 yards long!) whose rearward section wraps behind the left-side bunker. And its two green-side bunkers are noteworthy for both their depth and their back-side lips that reach upwards between four and six feet. The eighth, a superior par five, will ideally require a fade off the tee, a shot that should be aimed a bit inside the lone tree on the left side, an old oak with its trunk largely uncovered by branches. Hit this difficult drive long and place it accurately, and the hole will reward you, the green now sitting within range, though the route to it is guarded stoutly by five bunkers—three greenside, and two more located 100 yards out, poised to gobble up any erring second shots.
The 380-yard ninth introduces the first big elevation change (one of many), as your drive will tumble downhill to a fairly wide landing zone, even allowing room to the right for marginal misses. Although the well-contoured green is defended by a pair of large bunkers, the hole is only a moderately challenging two-shotter.
The back-nine opens with the daunting tenth, a 410 yard, heavily sloping, dog-legged, uphill brute of a par four. It is one of the toughest holes I’ve encountered in the state, demanding precision ball-striking—nothing less—and careful placement on every shot, including those on its putting surface, to ensure a par. Embrace the challenge here, and decide for yourself if a hole this tough should be called ‘fair.’ And call me crazy, but I can’t possibly see how this little monster checks in as handicap index 5. Fortunately, the following eleventh is something of a routine, short par three, which doubtless yields many birdies, while the twelfth is most easily managed by a straight drive, and this short-par four includes a memorable landing area by virtue of its distinctive looking, squared-off hill to the right. The thirteenth is a shorter par-five, though it plays uphill to the landing zone, and its green is reachable in two. The catch, however, is that the putting surface is well defended all around by severe slopes and intrusive bunkers. A mid-length par-four, fourteen is mainly an exercise in positioning off the tee, sloping downward, as it does, dramatically from left to right.
Although they are good holes, then, four of the first five on the back nine are of middling difficulty. The last four, however, generate a strong finish for The Country Club of New Hampshire. Fifteen is another longish par three that will require mid-iron to land you squarely (let’s hope) onto its putting surface. Sixteen is simply a great hole, a long, dog-leg right par four of 412 yards, for which the ideal tee shot is a fade to a reasonable proportioned landing area, from which a mid/short iron may be hit into a tilted, elevated green. Your tough par made on sixteen can only be matched next if you work equally hard on the seventeenth, a 400-yard, uphill affair, and a hole placing equally high demands on both first and second shots. Given its downhill drive from an elevated tee, the 465-yard par five eighteenth is again, possibly, a two-shooter for the long-hitting and ambitious, but first that drive must be straight to avoid the sought-after landing zone resting between three large fairway bunkers. The green affords wide-open surroundings with no real penalty (only one bunker on its right flank), encouraging you to have at it on your second shot, though reaching it may still require an aerial assault, most frequently, because of its large, plateau setting.
From the foregoing analysis, it should be clear that everything about this layout is above reproach. Its holes are refined and set well apart, sensible and intelligently designed. Its bunkering is more than adequate and often demands skillful recoveries. Other than bunkers, it is slopes and encroaching woods—not water hazards—that are used to defend greens (the closest any pond comes to a green is more than thirty yards). Some golfers may prefer penal water hazards; I think this is the fairer way to go. Fairway shapes are strongly varied; greens are gently to moderately contoured, with less than a third having strong slopes. And perhaps most importantly, shot values are well balanced because they tend to always even out: Architect William Mitchell never follows a routine first shot’s difficulty with the same level of difficulty on the approach, and vice-versa. On hole three, as one example, a wide-open driving area is followed by a much tighter, angular landing zone on the second shot, on hole five, as another, the challenging drive over a bunker is succeeded by a pitch to an open-fronted green. And so on over the entire course. The design allows the course to be played by golfers of all levels, although beginners should probably look elsewhere. The Country Club of New Hampshire is also a very well-conditioned (most notably for the smoothly rolling and high-quality greens) and congenial place to play golf, its staff welcoming and friendly (those I met also had a refreshing sense of humor), its “value for the money” more than fair. In 2019, it is ranked third in New Hampshire by Golfweek among public golf courses.
The course is in excellent shape.. I have played there several times this year and the course was never better.