Golfing in Western Mass

Puttering around in Hampshire and Franklin Counties

Despite what can be long winters, Western Massachusetts is a natural location for good golf. We’ve got rolling hills, beautiful views all around, and lush greenery. Whether you consider yourself an aspiring duffer or just this side of PGA glory, there are a lot of nine- and 18-hole courses in Hampshire and Franklin Counties to keep you busy perfecting your drives.

First, a brief primer: the main kinds of golf courses are municipal, public, semi-private, and private. “Private” is just what you’d expect – country clubs and golf clubs that require membership to play. We’ll look just at the other three. A municipal course is run by the town; a public course is open to anyone, but will usually cost a bit more. And lastly, a semi-private course offers public access and membership access.

As with many of our subjects, the sheer number of choices in the area makes it tough to catalogue every possibility. So we’ll take a look at a few popular choices to help you tee off into the sunset.

In recent years, Franklin County lost its popular Meadows course in Greenfield. But plenty of choices remain. The Greenfield Country Club is semi-private, and very close to town. It’s a full 18-hole course, features 6,337 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The club is among the oldest in New England – it began in 1896, and was established in its current location in 1901.

In rural Bernardston, you’ll find the Crumpin-Fox Club. “Crumpin” might sound like an ’80s dance craze, but in fact the club’s name comes from the town’s Crump Soda, which eventually became the Crump & Fox Soda Company. The course is the product of many years of work, beginning with a plan in 1969 that eventually produced the present 18-hole course. The Club is also known for Zeke’s Bar and Grill, where you can relax after a successful golf outing.

Franklin County also has two 9 hole courses including the Northfield Golf Course, a "links" style course designed by Alex Findlay, which was constructed at the turn of the 20th century and opened in 1901. Thomas Memorial Golf and Country Club in Turners Falls is a 9 hole course with clubhouse and catering hall.

Hampshire County offers plenty of good golf, too. Among Amherst’s offerings, you’ll find Cherry Hill, a popular municipal nine-holer that offers plenty of great views of the Berkshires to the west, along with ponds and wetlands. It also connects to Mill River and and Robert Frost walking trails.

South Hadley boasts the Ledges Golf Club, a municipal course that opened in 2001, and underwent improvements a few years later. These days, it’s got a pro staff and a clubhouse with the Sunset Grille restaurant. Since 2015, the Ledges course has hosted the Connecticut Section PGA’s Spring Stroke Play Championship.

We’ll wrap up our brief tour of the region’s very long list of courses with a visit to the western side of the Connecticut, where you’ll find the Northampton Country Club. It’s a public nine-hole course, and is a good place for a relaxing outing, since it’s also a popular choice for weddings and events. Indoors you can, at least virtually, play many a famous course via the club’s golf simulator.

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