Worcester Country Club Course Review
Worcester Country Club is located in Worcester, Massachusetts about 45 mins outside of Boston to the East. The course was founded in 1900 at another location and in 1913 Donald Ross was hired to design a course on the current site. The course was officially opened in 1914 when President William Taft hit the inaugural tee shot. Worcester pronounced “Woosta” is a classic design that hosted the first ever Ryder Cup between the US and Great Britain in 1927 and has also hosted a US Men’s and Women’s Open. The US Men’s Open held at Worcester in 1925 will be remembered most for Bobby Jones famously calling a penalty on himself for the ball moving in the rough and eventually loosing the tournament by a shot to Willie MacFarlane in a 36 hole playoff. The course plays 6500 yds to a par of 70 but it plays longer than the yardage as there are 5 par 3’s four of them measuring 200yds at least. The course today has wide corridors on virtually every hole allowing for gallery to follow players and could easily host another major maybe they’ll see another Women’s Open or US amateur someday soon.
1st Hole 387 yds Par 4 – Your round starts off with a medium length downhill par 4. You drive off an elevated tee down to a very generous fairway. Other than the rough there is not trouble here, there landing area is relatively flat sloping towards the hole. Your second shot it slightly elevated to a square shaped green with bunkers guarding both the left and right front. The green is relatively flat and making a par from around the green including the bunkers is a possibility.
2nd Hole 563 yds Par 5 – This long par 5 is straight away, the tee shot is visually intimidating because of the tall trees that line the fairway on the right but there is lots of room left to hit your drive, the better drive here is close the right trees as there is a bit of a dip on the left side of the fairway. From the right side of the fairway you have a better view of the green and the fairway. Your second shot hit from the top of a hill down to the fairway 25 ft below, there is a creek that crosses the fairway at the bottom of the hill that must be carried in order to reach the fairway. The play here is short of the bunker left setting up a short wedge shot for your third shot. The green is surrounded by bunkers left and right, the front of the green is open to allow run up shots for players who go for the green in two or those who play a well placed recovery shot. The green here has subtle breaks everywhere but no you wont find any demanding putts.
3rd Hole 388 yds Par 4 – This hole is straight away but both the drive and your second shot are up hill. The tee shot is hit across a corner of a lake and uphill to a plateau about 20 ft above the lake. There is a bunker left on the hill that must be avoided, your line here is up the light side of the fairway, that will give you the best angle on your second shot. Your second shot here is again uphill about 15 ft to the green, the green runs off from right to left, take another club to get the ball to the green. Your caddy will tell you to that the safe shot is to aim at the birdhouse behind the green. The green has three bunkers guarding the front parts of both sides of the greens, the bunker left although deep is probably the best chance for making a par.
4th Hole 235 yds Par 3 – In my week spent in RI and MA this was probably the toughest par 3 that I played, what a beast at 235 yds you have to catch a good one just to get it to the green. The tee shot is elevated to a green that is guarded by two deep bunkers left and right and the front entrance to the green and two small bunkers in the back left and right corner. A well placed tee shot can run up between the two bunkers here. This hole must of been exciting during the Ryder Cup and US Opens, its definitely a US Open type hole even by today’s standards.
5th Hole 483 yds Par 5 – Don’t let the yardage fool you, this hole plays longer than its yardage. Your tee shot is hit down hill to a fairway that is guarded by a small creek that runs down the left side. From the tee the fairway looks deceivingly small but once you get down to the fairway its fairly wide. Your aiming point in the bend on the right side of the fairway. Depending on where your tee shot lands you can lay up short of the lake or you can challenge it. Your third shot will be from in front of the lake around 135 yds in or you’ll have a short wedge shot. The green is located 15 ft above the lake so an extra club is needed in order to hit the green. The green has two bunkers left and right short of the green and the green is bowl shaped so finding a flat put here is hard.
6th Hole 207 yds Par 3 – This hole is made famous by Walter Hagen, Hagen on his first time playing the hole made a hole in one. The green is elevated 10 ft above the teeing surface and has a reverse bowl slope around the outer edge. The play here is to take another club and hit the center of the green, There is one bunker left and short of the green and missing around the green will leave you mostly likely with a uphill chip shot.
7th Hole 412 yds Par 4 – This is probably the toughest par 4 on the front nine the hole is uphill on both your tee shot and your second shot. The tee shot is hit between trees on both sides of the fairway to a generous landing area. The best line for your tee shot is down the right hand side. Going into the left trees will leave you will a difficult angle at the pin as its angled more towards the right hand side of the fairway. Your second shot is uphill again take at least one more club. There are four bunkers total that you have to contend with on your second shot three are short left and one in the front right. The green is fairly flat here and you’ll have a good shot at a birdie or par, even if you happen to miss the green you still have a relatively good chance at par.
8th Hole 195 yds Par 3 – Your tee shot here is slightly up hill to an elevated green guarded by 3 bunkers two on the left and one long bunker on the right front to middle. The bunkers play a nice role in determining how difficult the hole is, the green is large enough to except most well hit shots but if you miss the green you’ll most likely end up in one the bunkers.
9th Hole 410 yds Par 4 – The second long uphill par 4, the best line is down the right side of the fairway to open up your second shot to the green. If your tee shot finds the right trees you might have to chip out, the left trees give you a chance to hit a good recovery and possibly get on the green or close to it. The green is guarded by two bunkers left and right that guard the left and right side. The green itself is a large and round, its fairly flat and making a one putt or two put shouldn’t be a problem.
10th Hole 178 yds Par 3 – This hole plays 30ft downhill and its like hitting to an island green. The hole has 3 bunkers one short of the green and two to the right, the unique aspect of the two bunkers on the right are that they are elevated above the green. If you miss the green left you will be looking at a chip from 6ft below the putting surface making especially tough if the pin is left. The green is round in shape and has two levels that smoothly transition into each other, making your tee shot all the more important.
11th Hole 408 yds Par 4 – In the 1925 US Open Bobby Jones called a penalty shot on himself after his ball moved in the rough. No one else saw it except for Jones saw the ball move and in the end he lost in a 36 hole playoff. The hole is slightly up hill and has a gentle dogleg left, the fairway is large but the player must avoid the 5 bunkers right at various lengths off the tee. Your second shot is slightly uphill to a large square green, there are two deep bunkers left and right to catch any stray shots, getting up and down out of these bunkers requires an excellent recovery shot. The green has a reverse bowl shape to it and hitting the right area of the green is a necessity if you want to make par or better.
12th Hole 438 yds Par 4 – This hole is great example of using the topology that was given to Ross. Your tee shot is hit from an elevated tee box to fairway that slopes from right to left. There is a large sloping hill that slants from right to left, if you happen to miss your tee shot right you may be lucky enough to get a members bounce back into the fairway. Your second shot is 15ft uphill to a large square shaped green. There is a bunker 75 yds short of the green on the right side to catch any second shots that may have found trouble of the drive. The green has two small bunker short of the green left and right here and the green has some undulation to it.
13th Hole 197 yds Par 3 – Another of the great par 3 holes at Worcester, your tee shot here is hit to an elevated green that was carved out of a hill that slopes from left to right. The green is located about 10ft above the tee level and is guarded by three bunkers two of which are below the level of the green and one at the mid level. The green has two levels to it and you’ll need a good tee shot to get on the back level when the pin is on the back tier. When the pins on the front level the hole become more exciting because the three bunkers are in play, the false front can definitely play a factor and you can you the backboard between the two levels to bring your ball back towards the front of the green.
14th Hole 401 yds Par 4 – This hole is straight, a tee shot down the right side of the fairway is optimal here as it opens up the green. The fairway has 5 bunkers on it varying in size and depth. Depending on how far your second shot is hit, you might not be able to see the green, you will be able to see the pin though, the safe shot is to stay right of the pin as there are two bunkers that guard the left side of the green. The green itself in long and narrow and has a lot of undulation on it depending on where you are your putt could have some break to it.
15th Hole 534 yds Par 5 – This par 5 flows up and down and over a couple of hills before you reach the green on the upper plateau. Its a great example of how the lay of the land was used to shape this hole. The best line on your tee shot here is down the left side giving you the best angle and view of the green. There are a few bunkers a 150yds off the tee that share duties with their adjacent holes but those should be out of play for most players. Your second is up to a plateau 15 ft above the fairway, the hole doglegs right around the trees on the right side of the fairway. You’ll want to stay as close to the trees on the right here to have the best angle for your third. The third shot is straightforward the green is guarded by three bunkers two short of the green and one bunker right of the green that covers most of the length of the green. The green here is fairly level except for the front part of the green slopes back to the fairway if you come up short on your wedge shot.
16th Hole 413 yds Par 4 – This downhill par 4 plays much shorter than its yardage. The drive is straight away and the only trouble you’ll find of the tee here is if you hit it into the trees left and right. Your second shot is downhill again to a smaller green that is guarded by a bunker right of the green and a bunker 50 yds short of the green also on the right. The green has a bit of undulation but making par from the around the green is a good possibility.
17th Hole 460 yds Par 4 – The longest par 4 at Worcester Country Club, you hit from an elevated to a fairway 15 ft below. The fairway is generous here and staying away from the two bunkers and trees on the left will give you the best chance to make a par or birdie here. Your best line is down the right in the light green mown part of the fairway. Your second shot is 25 ft downhill again to a green guarded by two bunkers short left of the green and two bunker right of the green. For those who are in trouble with their tee shot and can’t see the green the safe line is aiming left of the red roofed house.The green has two levels that gently blend in with each other and the front level slopes gently towards the right bunkers.
18th Hole 380 yds Par – A classic finishing hole, your tee ball is hit over a large dip and up to a plateau, depending on how far you can hit your drive here you’ll either have a uphill second shot or a flat lie. The second shot is one of the best on the golf course, there are a total of 6 bunkers guarding this green, three deep bunkers short of the green at the front, two small pot bunkers left and one back right. You have to fly your ball onto this green in order to have a chance at birdie. Imagine what is was like to play this hole during the Ryder Cup and US Opens, the second shot here will really test your nerves. The green is two tiered here and you don’t want to be long if the pins on the front tier.