Course Review: Sacconnesset Golf Club – September 1, 2023
I played Sacconnesset Golf Club in Falmouth, MA before the Labor Day weekend. The course was designed by Rees Jones.
The course – formerly known as The Golf Club of Cape Cod– is generally ranked as one of the best courses in Massachusetts.
The club was privately owned at inception. The Golf Club of Cape Cod opened in 2007 and was already in financial trouble by 2009. Membership at the time was 95. Membership invested millions to acquire the club and have done a terrific job in restoring it financially and as a top course in the northeast.
Most club members live in-state, primarily in secondary homes on the Cape near the facility. Surprisingly, according to one member, the annual dues are only $9,500 with an annual food/drink minimum of $1,100.
I took the 85 mile drive to Falmouth from RI. 90% of it was basically traffic free until I got to the Bourne Bridge – which is always a mess. As a side note, Massachusetts has a huge project ahead of them replacing the Bourne and Sagamore bridges – which are well overdue for replacement. The Sagamore is scheduled to be replaced first. The estimated cost both is $5 billion over an eight year period.
After dealing with that bridge traffic, it was a cakewalk to get to the course. The clubhouse and facilities are very pleasingly appearing as you enter the gates. We had identified this golf trip as an all-day event and we tried to get to the course early for a lunch and practice warm up.
The course has huge elevation changes and uses it to its advantage to have the clubhouse deck overlook the 17th and 18th holes. The views are absolutely stunning.
We check in the proshop and were warmly greeted. We were informed that the course was about 10 minutes behind on tee times but that was no concern to us.
We then went to the patio and ordered drinks and lunch. The food was terrific and the view was awesome but the service was slow and we were getting pressed against our tee time. There were two practice facilities. One required us to be shuttled to a nearby course. Because we ran out of time, we used the closer onsite facility which consisted of mats and nets. For some reason, my swing cooperated from the get go and 8-10 minutes was all I needed to loosed up.
We went to the 1st tee and a member was ready to tee off by himself. I thought to myself: win/win. Who really wants to play by themselves and we had never played the course so asked him if he wanted to play with us.
As I write this review, I’m still not sure if this was a mistake or not. “Jim”, a member from northern Massachusetts, was waiting for his wife to drive down to join him for dinner, and wanted to get in a quick nine.
(For clarity, and privacy, Jim was not the members real name).
Jim wanted to be a good host and told us exactly were to hit our shots. Then he told us again. Then he made sure to tell us again. Jim did not care about pace of play. He told us the history of the course. He told us again where to hit our shots. He told us where not to hit our shots. He told us……
We ended up playing so slow that it gave me golf anxiety. When you are guest as a beautiful private course, you tip generously, you fix your divots and rake the traps and you play at an appropriate pace of play. If you want to give the middle finger to the host who got you on a wonderful course like Sacconnesset, you play slow and back up the course.
I found what happened next to be oddly extraordinary. I drove the ball as well as I have all year ~ all long and straight drives. I guess I was afraid of slowing up already ridiculously slow play. Finally, a member of the pro shop came out and told us to speed it up. Jim was non-to-pleased, even as we seemed to have half of the course backed up behind us.
Much to our relief, he kept his promise and left after nine holes. For the first nine, I can’t remember playing so well on such a beautiful course and have such a terrible time trying to drag a member of his own course to respect a reasonable pace of play.
As you can see from the attached pictures, the course is in magnificent shape. The Rees Jones design reminds of the Rees Jones design on Pine Hills in Plymouth. Sacconnesset is simple in much better condition with more topography to work with.
The one memory I will take from the day is the incredible speed of the greens. They were at tournament speed. I am estimating 11-12 on the stipmeter.
On the 13th hole, which ranges from 172 yards in the front to 220 yards in the back, my playing partner hit a majestic 178 yard 7 iron 3 feet from the front pin. It was almost gimme range but he putted it.
He gave it a little tap and it rolled by the hole, and rolled and rolled and rolled – all the way off the green and down the hill – 50 yards away!
The greens here are beautiful and incredibly speedy and true. The only truer greens I have ever experienced are Wannamoisett.
As we finished up, our plan was to grab a drink on the patio. When we sat down, there was over 100 people there, so we decided to eat elsewhere.
The best way to describe the attendees on the patio was as a meeting of the areas beautiful people, as if someone set up a mixer for the most recent GQ cover participants and the recent Victoria Secret models.
All in all it was a very nice day. If you want to experience Augusta National like green speeds and don’t want to leave New England, Sacconnesset Golf Club is your place.