Best Public Golf Course in Every New England State

Not all golf games are created equal. With stunning views, helpful service, and (best of all) an “open to everyone” approach, these six courses deserve a spot on every golfers list. Here are our editor-approved picks for the best public golf course in every New England state.

Need more outdoor travel ideas? Find these picks, plus more than 120 of the best things to do, places to eat, and places to stay that celebrate the great outdoors in The Best of New England: Outdoor Edition.

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Best Public Golf Course in Every New England State

Best Public Golf Course in Connecticut:
Richter Park, Danbury

These 180 acres lie beside a reservoir and a pond, and water offers a challenge on nearly all holes. Fairways winding through woods bordered with stone walls lend the feeling of being in a New England landscape painting. While long a magnet for locals, nonresidents can play anytime and also can reserve tee times nine days in advance.

Best Public Golf Course in Maine:
Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, Belgrade Lakes

When Maine philanthropist Harold Alfond hired British golf course architect Clive Clark to transform 240 acres in the Belgrade Lakes Region into an 18-hole course, he said, “Anyone can build a clubhouse, but not everyone has this”—and he opened his arms to take in the stunning view of lakes and forest. Alfond also said he wanted a golf club “to be open to everyone,” so here the emphasis remains on golfers from around the country who have put this Golf Digest five-star course on their bucket list. Bonus: Your pooch is welcome to keep you company on the links.

Best Public Golf Course in Massachusetts:
Crumpin-Fox Club, Bernardston

Located just off I-91 in a small, rural Pioneer Valley town, Crumpin-Fox (named for a local 19th-century soda company) is not only one of Massachusetts’s most challenging courses but also one of its loveliest, thanks to its mix of woodlands and open rolling terrain. And after more than $1 million in renovations in the past few years, the sylvan setting remains timeless even as the golf carts now boast GPS.

Best Public Golf Course in New Hampshire:
Country Club of New Hampshire, North Sutton

When golfers speak of “classic” golf courses, they might simply point to this lovely and unpretentious 90-year-old course set at the base of Mount Kearsarge. The 7,000-yard course spreads along undulating wooded terrain, with the flank of the mountain hovering nearby. The 18 holes (especially 8, 9, 16, and 17) will test the most skillful without being so daunting as to discourage those still growing into the sport. Year after year, the friendliness and helpfulness of staff draws raves. And for those who want to make a weekend of it, the abundance of lakeside lodging in the Sunapee region is a big plus.

Best Public Golf Course in Rhode Island:
Newport National, Middletown

Since the Arthur Hills–designed Orchard Course opened in 2002, it has remained at or near the top of New England’s most popular golfing destinations. Because of the ocean views and the constantly shifting winds off the bay, players compare the experience of playing here to the famous courses of Ireland and Scotland.

Best Public Golf Course in Vermont:
Green Mountain National, Killington

At the state’s only municipal course—which has been cared for by the same superintendent for nearly a quarter century—the fairways are narrow, the woods are close, and glacial boulders abound, but with views as special as the ones you see from the 16th tee, you may be tempted to stop swinging and take photos. Hours spent here are a true respite—one made even sweeter on summer days when a beer cart with local craft brews stops by.

Leave your picks for the best New England public golf courses in the comments below!

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