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Also known as the Granite State, New Hampshire is not ranked as one of the best golf states in the U.S. However, it is filled with hidden gems on which you can play enjoyable rounds and mostly at a reasonable price.
We have made a list of the top 10 courses you can play in New Hampshire, taking into account factors such as the course condition, amenities, location, views, difficulty, pace of play and price, among others. Check it out and let us know what you think!
Best Golf Courses in New Hampshire
Dating back to year 1915, Donald Ross designed this championship 18-hole course in Bretton Woods, surrounded by the White Mountains (Mount Washington, the Presidential Mountain Range, Crawford Notch…) and the classic Omni Mt. Washington Resort. As a resort course, it had many challenges: a limited space, a fun and challenging playability for any kind of player…
In this case, there’s nothing to complain about. Thanks to a rework done by architect Brian Silva, in order to update the track and fix some conditioning time had damaged through the years, the Mount Washington Golf Course was resurrected. (Top 100 Golf Courses, s.f.)
The track offers some wide and generous fairways, pretty forgiving. However, the freedom from the tee is countered by some tricky approaches to the green, which will need some thinking in order to choose the best shot.
About the holes, the most scenic ones can be the par 3 5th and the par 5 11th, with great views of the hotel and the mountains. However, there many other strong holes: the 13th, for example, is a par 4 with some bunkers in the fairway that will make your tee shot go for the left. But be careful: the more left you go, the more difficult is the approach shot to the green, protected by more bunkers.
On average, this course offers some fantastic views, great playability and also some fun challenges to solve. A must play!
Firstly created as a 9-hole layout designed by architect Alex Finlay, Portsmouth Country Club opened in 1901, and it was not until 32 years later when the course was completed with another nine.
However, in the 1950s the U.S Government took the placement to build a bomber base, so the club has to be completely moved to a new location. This time, the architect responsible of crafting a new 18-hole layout was Robert Trent Jones Sr.
Some strong holes here are the 4th, a par 5 featuring a dogleg to the left to a well-bunkered green; or the 12th, playing to a green with views of the Pierce’s Point peninsula.
Rates at Portsmouth may range from $65 if you are a member guest, to $100 if you go on your own. (Portsmouth Country Club Web, s.f.)
Located in the city of Atkinson, only 40 minutes north of Boston, MA, lies the Atkinson Resort, with its 27-hole layout: an 18-hole championship course and a par 3 nine, perfect for those looking for a quick round or improving their short game. We will focus on the 18-hole course.
This tough but fair course was opened for play in 1996, with a Phil Wogan design. Nestled on quite a scenic landscape, the best holes are the 2nd, a par 5 featuring a creek, some trees lining up the fairway and finishing with a green protected by two bunkers and a pond; and the par 3 11th, with a carry over a marshland to the green protected by two big bunkers.
Rates vary from $58 to $70, to which you need to add another $24 if you want to rent a cart. All the information is perfectly showed in their website, with also some aerial videos of each of its holes. (Atkinson Resort Website, s.f.)
The Balsams Resort lies almost touching the Canadian border, in the city of Dixville. Its golf course, aptly named “Panorama”, was built in 1912, and was designed by Donald Ross. The main attractions of this track are the splendid views of the White Mountains, the Connecticut River Valley and in the north, the Quebecois Hereford Mountain far in the distance.
This location provides a landscape full of elevation changes, blind shots, and water hazards. 16 of the holes are from Ross, having some of his signature features: long fairways, few bunkers and tricky inverted-saucer-plateau greens. The 11th hole is a great example: a par 4 with a long fairway which has a great risk-reward opportunity, and a dramatic approach shot to a rolling elevated green.
The par 3s are not a joke neither. For example, the 5th, features a carry over a lake to a wide but punishing green; or the 7th, playing uphill to a contoured green.
The signature holes here, however, are the 9th and the closing one, the 18th. The former is the ‘Kodak moment’ of the round, featuring an uphill par 4 with a lake and a natural dome; the latter can be even trickier than the others, with an approach where you will barely see the pin.
In a nutshell, this course is a great opportunity for any kind of golfers: the best ones will be tested in their short game, the less experience ones will enjoy the forgiving Ross-style fairways. (White, s.f.)
We reach now which is called the only Nicklaus signature course of New Hampshire: Owl’s Nest. However, this is not exactly true. The original layout, built in 1998, was designed by Mark Mungeam, but in 2016, LCJ Holdings acquired the whole resort, hiring Nicklaus Design to improve and remodel the golf course. (Nicklaus Design Website, s.f.)
Set on the city of Thornton, on the foothills of the White Mountains, the challenge here is to focus on the game as the great views appear on each of the holes. A highlights, we can name the 2nd and the 4th from the front nine, and the 13th and the 16th from the back.
Owl’s Nest counts with a great website, where you can check each hole with all the information, apart from other services of the resort, such as the clubhouse, a restaurant for dining, accommodation, a fitness room, a driving range, a practice putting green, a pro shop and outdoor and indoor swimming pools, among others. (Owl's Nest Resort Web, s.f.)
Apart from these activities, nearby you can find other attractive and sportive activities to do with your friends and family: kayaking, cycling, fishing, hiking, tennis, yoga or skiing are quite popular in the surroundings.
Built in 2004, this course was designed by William Bradley Booth, although it has a sister course called Candia Woods, designed by Phil Wogan and said to be friendlier than The Oaks, more enjoyable for less-skilled players.
The Oaks, while not being a Links course, is quite known for its great conditions, with well-groomed bent grass fairways and greens. From its holes, our favourite was the 10th, a downhill par 4 which doglegs to the left around a lake, ending with a green fully protected.
Check also their interesting program called Preferred Player Program, which is free to join and offer some interesting prices and discounts, apart from the possibility of earning rewards each time you play.
Public rates for the course are dynamic, ranging from $30 to $80 depending on the season. (Candia Woods and The Oaks Website, s.f.)
The Eastman Golf Links was designed by Geoffrey S. Cornish , and opened to the public in 1973 with 9 holes, being completed with another nine three years later. In addition, recently lots of improvements have been made, making the course more playable and attractive: in 2006, the drainage was improved, and the bunkers remodelled; in 2015, the driving range was upgraded; in 2016, the clubhouse was renovated completely, and in 2017 they built holes 3, 7 and 13.
The signature hole here, the 17th, a par 4 with an approach shot over a pond, to a tiny green protected by bunkers. As they say, a beauty and a beast. You can check each of their holes in their well-organised website. (Eastman Golf Links Website, s.f.)
Green fees here are not cheap but reasonable, with a public rate of approximately $70, including the cart.
Apart from golf, Eastman amenities include 14 tennis courts, some hiking trails, a great lake, and skiing for the winter.
Nestled on the foothills of the White Mountains and near the Winnipesaukee Lake, Ridgewood is said to be one of the most beautiful public championship courses in the Lakes Region. This course offers a front nine where accuracy is essential, and a back nine more open and free to hit the ball hard. On average, a great course for every player, no matter the skills.
Apart from the course, the clubhouse counts with a well-stocked pro shop and a great 19th hole, with the Overlook Tavern and its nice outdoor deck, the perfect place to rest after a round while overlooking other players finish their games. (Golf Now, s.f.)
Rates at Ridgewood are unbeatable, with green fees that range from $30 to $45 if walking, which can go up to $65 if you want to rent a cart for the round.
Sagamore Hampton Golf Club was built in 1963, counting with the design of golf course architect Christopher Luff. Located in the coastal region of New Hampton, the course offers some good playability with wide fairways and some water hazards.
Set on rolling hills, this course offers a great challenge and fun design, perfectly melted with its natural surroundings. The front nine is gentler, and warms you up for the more challenging back nine. The best hole can be the tough par 4 18th, the handicap #1 hole of the course.
Prices are reasonable here, with rates oscillating between $40 and $50 per round. An affordable golf experience for those looking to hit some balls in the New Hampton area.
Designed by George F. Sargent, Jr, and opened in 1994, this 18-hole layout is set on the city of Salem, plays mostly in a links style, although there are some parts where woodlands come into play.
The 4th is a great hole, a par 4 featuring a pond, which can be its signature. The 18th is a contender as well, a par 5 with a huge dogleg to its right, and finishing in front of the clubhouse.
Apart from the course, the club counts with a driving range and practice green, a pro shop, a snack bar, a lounge and a patio. All of it for some affordable rates, which can be up to $50 per round on the weekends.
These are our choices for the ten best public golf courses in the Granite State. Choose the one that fits you best and give us your opinion based on the experience! If you know some other great courses which you think can be on the list, do not hesitate to write us. Have a great game!