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Nestled in the northeastern region of New England and neighboring the likes of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Quebec is the 9,615-square mile state of Vermont. It is home to 623,657 residents, making it one of the least populous in all of the United States. Much of the population lives in small villages scattered all throughout the state. Its largest cities include: Burlington, South Burlington, Rutland, the Essex Junction, Barre, and Montpelier (the state capital).
Aptly nicknamed the “Green Mountain State”, majority of the Vermont landscape is composed of densely wooded forests and thousands of acres of mountainous terrain. It is divided into six distinct geographical land regions: the Northeast Highlands, which mainly comprise of towering granite mountains and running streams; Western New England Upland, which covers most of eastern Vermont and is composed of fertile lowlands and an abundance of lakes; the Green Mountains of central Vermont, with mountain ranges that boast some of the highest peaks in the state; the humble Valley of Vermont with its small rivers and river valleys lying in the west; the Taconic Mountains, characterized by hilly, rocky terrain; and the farmlands of Champlain Valley, named after a local lake of the same name.
Famous for its hiking trails and skiing slopes, golf is also another, albeit less popular, recreational outdoor activity enjoyed here. While it’s not quite a bustling golf hub just yet, Vermont still has much to offer in terms of golfing destinations, as there are many premium quality tracks to be discovered from its assortment of 74 courses. In fact, the Vermont Golf Association, established in 1902, now represents almost 11,000 golfers from all over the state. Golf at Vermont is best enjoyed under the summer sun, as its humid continental climate makes the state prone to long bouts of chilly winter weather and a brief but pleasantly sunny summertime spell you surely won't want to miss.
Enumerated below are our top picks for the 10 best Vermont public golf courses. Each of our featured entries have been selected on the merits of their scenery, playability, layout design, and overall layout quality along with weighted data from surveys gathered from other players and some golfing publications.
Best Golf Courses in Vermont
Location: Jay, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 72 Length: 6,908 yards
Kicking off our top ten list is a course nestled in the far northern corner of Vermont, a few miles south of the Green Mountains straddling the Canadian border: the Jay Peak Golf Course. A relative newcomer to the golfing scene, Jay Peak Golf Course is situated in one of Vermont’s most luxurious vacation destinations: the four-season Jay Peak Resort, famous for its assortment of fun recreational activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, and golfing.
First launched in 2006, this Graham Cooke showpiece is adorned with lush, undulating greens and gently rolling fairways dedicatedly kept in pristine condition. Natural beauty abounds in its breathtaking setting in the northern Vermont woods, with natural waterways and lush, vivid green grass. Scenic views of the nearby mountain ranges make for a spectacular backdrop against the many holes on this course. It features several bodies of water and a thick, dense woods around which many of the 18 holes are sculpted around.
Each hole along the par 72 layout of this hillside course is fantastic in their own right. The moderate elevation changes and sloping fairways fortified by several sand bunkers make the course at Jay Peak Resort a formidable but eventually forgiving test of skill for golfers of every level to enjoy. There’s also the choice of five sets of tee boxes for added personalization. With that said, it’s not hard to see why Golfweek Magazine crowned Jay Peak it’s #1 public golf course in Vermont for five consecutive years (2011-2016).
A driving range, a well-stocked pro shop, a club house, club rentals, and electro-carts for hire are all available for all guests upon request, while the actual resort complex houses a spa, a movie theatre, a climbing gym, an arcade, a ski hill, an ice skating area, and an indoor waterpark. You will not regret a single cent of the premium green fees here, as it’s hard to put a cap on the great views and the first-class outdoor activities it offers.
Location: Killington, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,589 yards
Lying amidst central Vermont is the state’s one and only Gene Bates showpiece (he of Black Horse Golf Course and Riverwood Golf Club fame). Green Mountain National is located, as you might have guessed, in the eponymous Green Mountain National Forest and was first launched in 1996. This semi-private course is lovingly sculpted from some gently rolling hills and wooded acres, and sports fairways and greens of bent grass.
With a hardworking staff dedicated to keeping the facility in good shape, it certainly shows in the velvety soft but fast-rolling greens and flourishing flora and fauna. Its assortment of picture-perfect holes wind along narrow, tree-lined fairways with scenic views of the mountain splendor nearby, allowing for a peacefully quiet atmosphere usually reserved for private courses. Its 6,589-yardage makes for a hearty walk not meant for the faint of heart (mainly because of the lengthy, rolling terrain of the back nine) but good for vigorous players.
The championship layout at Green Mountain National, features many doglegs of varying severity, sloping fairways, spacious landing sites, dramatic elevation changes, and sand bunkers fortifying hard-to-spot greens. Several ponds also come into play on a few holes. The highlights of the track have often been named to be: the 2nd, a 412-yard par-4 with a soft dogleg right and downhill slope and a large pond; the par-5 6th, which features a forked fairway that tests players' drive and accuracy of approach; the 9th, a challenging par-4 that's heavily fortified by sand bunkers; and the 466-yard par-5 15th, with a water hazard over the bank that requires a long drive to be avoided.
Aside from the terrific track, top condition facilities, and idyllic ambience, plenty of golfers also visit Green Mountain National for its premium off-course amenities. With a friendly staff and great customer service, guests can enjoy the well-stocked pro shop, a full-size driving range, practice greens, instructional programs, and private or semi-private golfing lessons. There’s also an onsite grille (called Grace’s Grille) that serves burgers, salads, and sandwiches along with other refreshments. A reasonably priced picturesque golfing experience, Green Mountain National is an easy addition to this list of the best golf courses in Vermont.
Location: Ludlow, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 70 Length: 6,400 yards
Lying in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains and near the Black River Valley is the Okemo Valley Golf Club. First established in 1999 and designed by the talented but little-known Steve Durkee, this resort course is a frequent contender in many state’s best list.
It was named one of New England's "Top Ten Courses" by LINKS Magazine in 2013 and was crowned the best in Vermont by Golfweek's "Best State-by-State Courses You Can Play" in 2016. Residents of Boston will be pleased to know that Okemo Valley is well under an hour-and-a-half away, while those hailing from Claremont certainly won’t be complaining either, as it is well worth the 2-hour drive south.
Architect Steve Durkee has beautifully sculpted the course from gently rolling hills, filled with swathes of golden fescue and rich meadow lands with plenty of mature trees. The only Heathland-style course in New England, all 6,400 yards of Okemo Valley is a dreamy paradise for golf enthusiasts everywhere, with its undulating bent grass greens, generous tree-lined fairways, and breathtaking mountainside views.
The championship calibre par-70 layout is equally excellent on all fronts. Sleek and stylish, it’s challenging enough to keep you on your toes, but manages to stay playable and fun as well. Overall course conditions are top-notch; the fairways are well-groomed and the sand bunkers regularly raked and cared for. The former is a particular point of interest, as it is often riddled with rocky, uneven lies and thick mounds of rough with numerous water features that come into play.
Though many of the holes at Okemo Valley Golf Club are certainly impressive, the standouts are usually the finishing holes, characterized by distinct elevation changes, strategically placed bunkers, and a fair number of hazards. This is definitely one experience you won’t want to miss, should you ever find yourself in Vermont. Which is why the Okemo valley Golf Club deserves a spot on our list of the best golf courses in Vermont.
Location: Stratton Mountain, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 72 Length: 6,526 yards
Escape not only to one of New England’s best golf courses, but to Vermont’s premier vacation destination as well: the Stratton Mountain Country Club. Home to not one but three courses, each with their own distinct terrain and design features - the Mountain, Lake, and Forest courses - this award-winning 27-hole golfing complex is the handiwork of none other than the talented Geoffrey Cornish.
First opened for play in 1984, Stratton Mountain Country Club has been recognized as one of the “Top Resort Courses in New England” by Golf Digest and has hosted a total of six Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tournaments. Surrounded by the natural splendor of southern Vermont's famous Green Mountains, the course is an absolute treat to play and definitely well worth the trip and the premium green fees.
Featuring tall, undulating bent grass greens that putt true, Stratton Mountain Country Club remains beautiful and well-groomed despite the heavy rainfall known to befall the region. The distinct layouts of the three different courses make for an excellent variety of holes that feature plenty of both long and short holes that can accommodate golfers of any skill level. Connecting the Lake, Forest, and Mountain courses is a long, winding mountain stream that traverse through the entire area.
The longest of the three, the 3,325-yard Lake Course has, as you would expect, plenty of water features. There's also a signature lake that comes into play for several holes. As for the Forest Course, its narrow, sloping fairways and heavily guarded, shallow greens demand shot accuracy and a well-angled approach. Lastly, the 3,277-yard Mountain Course is a favorite of many frequent players, as it's not only the most difficult but also the most scenic. With well-bunkered, elevated greens that roll downhill and several hidden hazards, it’s a thrilling track but ultimately rewarding round of golf.
The off-course amenities at Stratton Mountain Country Club are equally first-rate, with cart and club rentals, practice greens, a driving range, a pro shop, a full-fledged golfing academy, and a restaurant and bar named the Green Apron. All in all, the 27-hole resort course at Stratton Mountain Country Club is a one-of-a-kind, picture-perfect golfing experience that encourages you to play even better with their fun and friendly layouts. It is one of the best golf courses in Vermont and a definite must-try for any serious golf aficionado.
Location: South Burlington, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 72 Length: 7,075 yards
Situated near the shores of Lake Champlain and perched atop one of the highest sites in South Burlington, Vermont National Country Club is a semi-private 18-hole golfing facility first established in 1998. Considered to be the best golf course in all of the Vermont Valley, the course was designed by the father-and-son duo of the legendary Jack Nicklaus and his son Jack Nicklaus Jr.
Vermont National Country Club is home to many prized, fast-rolling bent grass greens and fairways that are lined by an assortment of gorgeous trees, from ash to butternut to maple. Scenic views abound from every direction as the course’s altitude makes for a great vantage point looking down on the spectacular sightlines of landmarks such as Mount Mansfield (Vermont’s tallest mountain), Camel’s Hump (the state’s highest undeveloped peak) and the ancient Adirondacks (an outdoor park with a mountain range and a river).
Much of the charm and beauty of the course’s par-72 layout lies in the intricacies of its design. The starting nine of VNGC’s championship track is characterized by gently rolling terrain and wide-open fairways that leads into a lush, green meadow and valley where the holes are sculpted around, a design no doubt meant to emulate the feel of a Scottish links course. Meanwhile, the finishing nine sports numerous rocky outcrops and high ledges serving as interesting visual elements. Many of the most scenic holes of the entire track are found here, namely the 13th, 14th (from both of which the Camel’s Hump can be seen), and 18th (perched 50 feet up where the Adirondacks come into full view).
Playable yet fairly challenging, the track at Vermont National can cater to golfers of different skill levels as there are six different sets of tees to choose from. There’s also a fine assortment of holes that range from easy, straightforward shots (meant for learning novices, or even seasoned players looking for a confidence booster) to complex holes that put a premium on well-placed approaches and angles.
Location: Manchester, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,423 yards
Another classic resort course located in the Green Mountains, this one only an hour away from the cities of Glens Falls, NY, Charleston, NH, and North Adams, MA, is The Equinox Golf Resort and Spa. Taking its name from the highest peak in the mountain range, the course at The Equinox dates all the way back to 1926 and is the legacy of famed amateur golfer and golf course architect Walter Travis. It boasts a string of awards to its name, such as being named one of the "Top 3 Best Courses You Can Play in Vermont" by Golfweek in 2015 and ranking 6th in Golf Digest's "Best Courses in Vermont" in 2016.
The crowning jewel of this luxurious Vermont vacation destination, the Golf Club at Equinox is prized for being one of the best in all the state for its gorgeous natural setting and must-play layout. Though it was later restored and redesigned by Rees Jones and Greg Muirhead in 1992, the upgrades have been done with great respect to Travis’ original vision for the course. His love for wide-open Scottish links-style courses definitely shows here, as The Equinox sports many generous fairways and sparing use of trees. There’s also an abundance of beautifully but strategically laid out sand traps and bunkers, with elevated tees that offer magnificent views of the mountainside. Several streams come into the mix as well and pose a challenge for several holes.
Attractive but deceptively difficult, each of the parkland layout’s 18 holes are unique in their own special challenges, giving each their own distinctive character to keep golfers interested. Some favorites include: the 2nd, which features an elevated green located near a stream of water with the Church Steeple as a scenic backdrop; the gently rolling par-4 17th, which stretches up to 435 yards; and the par-4 18th, which features a few birch trees and a particularly stunning unencumbered view of the setting sun. The course also sports well-manicured, undulating greens all throughout the track.
Some first-rate amenities available for visitors off course include a well-stocked pro shop, cart rentals, club rentals, practice greens, a teaching pro, and a golf academy. There’s also a grill and a tavern located on the grounds of the larger resort complex. If an immersive experience in both nature and golf is what you're after, you can't go wrong with the course at The Equinox. There's no better place in the state to practice your swing in style.
Location: Warren, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 72 Length: 6,464 yards
Earning a well-deserved spot on our list of best public golf courses in Vermont is the Sugarbush Golf Course. The pride of the town of Warren, this signature Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design is an 18-hole beauty carved from mountainous terrain near the Mad River Valley region. Judging from its fresh, well-manicured bent grass greens and bluegrass fairways, you’d never guess that this resort course was first established all the way back in 1965, but thanks to a dedicated staff and caring management, it’s been kept in top condition ever since.
Roughly an hour south of Burlington, the Sugarbush Ski Resort (home of the golf course of the same name) has been a popular tourist attraction and vacation destination ever since the fifties and is one of the largest in all of New England. The Sugarbush Golf Course features a mountain style 72-par layout and flaunts stunning vistas and views of the Mad River Valley throughout its 18-hole track.
With a gently rolling landscape and rows of trees lining the fairways, the layout at Sugarbush is a fine test of skill that keeps things exciting while also staying player-friendly. It features a number of uphill and downhill lies and doglegs to make up for the sparse but strategically laid out sand traps that fortify the greens. Overall, you’d be hard pressed to find any holes that are breezy, straight-forward shots from this assortment. Four sets of tees of varying difficulty are also made available to players to better cater to their personal preferences.
Aside from a good round of golf, Sugarbush also provides guests with cart and club rentals, a driving range, a pro shop, a teaching pro, junior golf camps, golf workshops, and golf clinics. The resort itself also houses numerous ski trails, two mountain areas (Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen), room accommodations, and a health and recreation center equipped with indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, cardio equipment, tennis courts, squash, racquetball, and ping-pong. Family friendly and great overall value for your money, Sugarbush Golf Course is one of the best in all of Vermont and definitely a good addition on anyone’s must-play list.
Location: Brattleboro, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,533 yards
Landing the seventh spot on our list, Brattleboro Country Club is a grand but little-known golfing destination in southern Vermont. What began as a simple 9-hole golf facility in 1916 was then remodelled by the brilliant Wayne Stiles in 1930, and again expanded by local architect Steve Durkee to become the top quality 18-hole course it is today.
Despite being only a few minutes away from the bustling Downtown Brattleboro, this country club feels like it’s in a world of its own, flaunting beautiful vivid greens laid atop a rolling topography with expansive mountainside views. One of the oldest courses among this list, perhaps even in all of Vermont, Brattleboro Country Club was named one of the "Best Golf Courses for Windham/Windsor Counties" by the Best of Business awards in 2017.
The par-71 layout at Brattleboro incorporates plenty of uneven lies, towering trees that come into play, boulders used as both visual accents and hazards, and a singular but vast pond. Because it was redesigned and restored by two different architects, Brattleboro Country Club flaunts a delightful blend of both modern and classical holes. All 18 holes of the track are memorable in their own right, as they each have their own distinct challenges and visual elements.
Among the highlights of the track are: the 2nd, a long and treacherous uphill par 5 that swerves left to a tight fairway and up again to another hill; the 7th, a short but thought-provoking par 5 that winds downhill past a large pond to a large green guarded by a pot bunker; and the 17th, a 346-yard par 5 that offers the most scenic views from the tee and features an ascending fairway that veers from right to left.
After your rounds on the course, treat yourself to a delicious meal and some refreshments at the on-site tavern, Jack’s Restaurant & Pub. Other first-rate off-course amenities available include rental services, a pro shop, a driving range, putting greens, a practice area, and a teaching pro. All in all, the terrific views, enjoyable game, and well-maintained facilities make Brattleboro Country Club the perfect summertime golfing escapade for both locals and tourists alike.
Location: Plainfield, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 71 Length: 6,315 yards
Joining the ranks of Vermont’s best public golf courses is another resort course lying in Green Mountain National Forest - the Country Club at Barre. First established in 1924, this upscale semi-private facility lies amidst the rolling hills of central Vermont in Plainfield and is only a little over an hour west of Lancaster, NH.
The course often flies under the radar, however, and remains a lucky find even for many locals; a travesty, considering its impeccable conditioning and rewarding golfing experience. All 6,315 yards of this exquisite property was built from the ground up of what was previously an operating farmland. In present day, the Country Club at Barre is adorned with contoured, bent grass greens and gently rolling fairways bordered by towering trees. Originally a 9-hole track later expanded to 18, the course bears the artistry of both Wayne Stiles for the starting holes, and Michael Hurdzan for the finishing nine.
Home to a fine, championship caliber layout, traditionally designed, the Country Club at Barre is able to cater to golfers of a wide variety. A challenge awaits around every turn as the track is bedecked with freshly-raked sand traps, a few blind shots, several narrow driving holes, and well-fortified greens. There's also some dramatic elevation changes added to the mix to make things more interesting, and some truly beautiful vistas as well to round out the experience.
Each of the 18 holes along the track are imbued with plenty of character and uniqueness to them. Some course highlights include: the forked fairways of the 6th hole; a couple of hard-swerving doglegs on the 11th and 13th; and the 16th, which features the only pond in the entire layout. Overall, the track makes for an enjoyable game of golf and is especially good for fine-tuning a player's precision and short game. There are four sets of tees to choose from here, black being the most difficult and gold the most undemanding.
Aside from this, other amenities available in the area include an excellent practice facility, a driving range, standard rental services, a well-stocked pro shop, a teaching pro, a golfing academy, and a contemporary design clubhouse with a restaurant that offers delectable meals and beverages. A friendly but fun layout and reasonable fees, beloved by the lucky few who find it, the Country Club at Barre is a winner on all fronts and deserves much more praise than we could ever sing for it.
Location: Woodstock, Vermont
Hole: 18 Par: 70 Length: 6,052 yards
Capping off our list of Vermont’s best public golf courses is Woodstock Country Club, which lies deep in the heart of New England in the humble town of the same name. First established in 1895, this resort course is the handiwork of none other than the esteemed Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and was recognized by Golf Magazine as one of the "Top 100 Golf Resorts" in the nation.
Woodstock Country Club is popular for its magnificent natural setting, scenic vistas, pristine conditioning, and a terrific layout all rolled into one supreme golfing experience. Sculpted from a diverse, all-natural terrain of valleys and gently rolling hills expertly utilized by Jones, the course boasts well-groomed bent grass greens and fairways lined by dense rows of towering trees. All around, there are spectacular views overlooking the picturesque New England landscape, along with the historic Kedron Valley Inn, its stables, and Green Mountains.
The classical style championship layout at Woodstock is riddled with many exciting terrain features, promising a rousing game of golf for players of any skill level. The track is decked out with a plethora of sand bunkers guarding the greens, several bridge crossings and some signature water hazards (specifically, brooks, ponds, a lake, and a creek that winds through the track) to make for a more memorable game. There’s also a choice of three different sets of tees to better accommodate all players of different age, skills, and sizes.
Though there’s nothing overly daunting about the track, playing a few rounds at Woodstock Country Club still guarantees for a good time with its assortment of fun, breezy shots, scenic holes, and a few more treacherous plays here and there (tip: watch out for the 4th, which is the most difficult hole of the track).
Other available amenities include: a full-service golf club that comes fully equipped with a pro shop, a driving range, a practice range, putting greens, private lessons, and an on-site restaurant and bar called "The Fairway Grill". All in all, it’s an excellent game of golf that will please both recreational and serious golfers alike, a definite must-play course when visiting Windsor County.
If you're an avid golfer in search of a refreshing change of pace from the usual big league, high-profile golf courses, then Vermont is the perfect state for you. Its rich natural setting and idyllic countryside ambiance make it ideal for a summer getaway, when the courses are in full bloom. Variety is also on your side, as the state houses numerous links style courses, highland courses, country club courses, and coastal courses.
All in all, Vermont is a gold mine of first class golf courses for a bargain price that flaunts beautiful scenery and interesting layout designs. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the wealth of picks on this list yet still have plenty of hidden gems to be discovered once you're done. We would love to hear from you if you have any personal favorites that we may have inadvertently left out on this list of the best public golf courses in Vermont that you feel deserves an honorable mention.