Just about the time the pumpkins ripe in the fields are harvested, it seems the golf gods are determined to nudge all golfers in the North into a forced hibernation where our golfing passions are reduced to toggling to the Golf Channel. What are we to do if we want to keep our golf juices flowing? Listen up. Why not live in an area where there are indoor golf facilities a short drive away or at least a moderating climate. Here are some places we scoped out.
CONNECTICUT | Where? Ridgefield
Living | Rivington by Toll Brothers just off I-84 in Danbury on the border of toney Ridgefield, feature new townhomes for those who want upscale digs without a whole lot of outdoor maintenance. Think interiors with cathedral ceilings, fireplaces, large windows and designer kitchens plus garages, porches and gracious entry halls. A 15,000 sq. ft. clubhouse will have a fitness center, swimming pools, sports courts, clubby lounge and more. Homes are priced from the upper $200,000s. RivingtonbyTollbrothers.com Golf | Golf Quest Family Sports Center in Brookfield offers lessons, short game school, miniature golf, and a multi story driving range with covered, heated, wind-protected tees. It also has a large pro shop selling equipment and apparel. Golfquestranges.com The Golf Performance Center on Rt. 7 in Ridgefield, is more of a club than a public facility with a fee-based membership. Tiered bays and state-of-the art tech equipment supplement the teaching and evaluations geared to taking a golfer’s performance to the next level. Instruction focuses on the five Elements of Success: Desire, Movement, Strategy, Equipment, and Fitness. Thegolfperformancecenter.com Rivington is just down the road from Ridgefield Golf Club, a pretty hilly layout designed in part by George Fazio and Richter Park Golf Club playing around a reservoir and deemed one of the best munies in the country.
MAINE | Where? Fryeburg/Bridgton
Living | In the “Lake Region” of the Saco Valley in the foothills of the White Mountains where ponds, lakes and forests provide residents with plenty of outdoor stimulation, there is an enclave of pristine white condo homes with pitched red metal roofs situated along the rolling landscape of the Bridgton Highlands Country Club. These spacious home have expansive windows looking out to the golf fairways, Pleasant Mountain-Shawnee Peak, the “Whites” and Mount Washington. Homes come with plenty of luxury features including granite counter tops, interior columns and high ceilings. There are also tennis courts and just out the entrance, Highland Lake Beach and the lovely town of Bridgton, the hub of the lake region. A current listing for a three bedroom/three bath condo plus a loft was recently on the market for $200,000. Chalmers-realty.com
Golf | In addition to living on Bridgton Highlands, a classic course with a history dating back to when A.W. Tillinghast first laid out the front nine, residents can continue swinging at the indoor golf facility at the Saco Valley Sports Center in Fryeburg. Play 22 of the world’s most famous courses on their golf simulator. Sacovalleysportscenter.com
MAINE/NEW HAMPSHIRE | Where? Province Lake
Living | Straddling the New Hampshire and Maine borders in the southeastern foothill of the White Mountains, Province Lake homes are situated around the 980-acre lake. Whereas the lion’s portion of Province Lake lies in New Hampshire, a southeastern slice and most the golf club is in Maine. It’s a place where residents take their quality of living seriously, where a cry-out goes for boaters to watch out for young loon chicks and the arrival of newly hatched eaglets is celebrated. July 4th brings the lake’s annual parade of decorated boats and frequent golf outings are held. A number of lots and homes are available for sale. Wrightrealty.com
Golf | Province Lake Golf, a scenic, wellmanicured course with a reputation for being family-friendly, keeps the loving going all year long with its ProSwing Simulators. When the snow is piling up outside, it’s the next best thing to hitting the grass. With ProSwing you can practice on a “driving range,” receive analysis on all aspect of your swing, then choose to play a round on any of 43 worldwide courses. A Quota League each week invites competitors to play nine holes on the same “course” anytime Wednesday through Sunday. There are “closest to the pin” contests and other fun stuff. Often the featured course will be the one being played that week by the PGA Tour. 207- 793-4040; provincelakegolf.com
Massachusetts | Where? Mattapoisett
Living I The Bay Club & The Preserve is on 625 acres (with 300 acres of adjacent conservation land). The country club and golf course occupy 200 acres, while the six residential villages of 175 home-sites and conservation land comprise the balance, including 200-acres permanently committed to open space. Exquisite homes line the property that all are unique individual designs. At the Bay Club The Preserve offers Nantucket Style 1850- 2250 sq. ft. development homes. The Bay Club is one of Southern New England’s most pristine golf course communities just off the Cape on Buzzards Bay with golf, tennis, fitness and so much more. Home sites from $200K and homes from $500K.
Golf | Designers Brad Faxon and Brad Booth created 18 holes of championship golf that welcomes all levels of players with six sets of tees. Bay Club is home to the regions largest and most complete indoor fitness and training facilities. Open all year in Norton, lessons are available at the Golf Learning Center of New England. Facilities include 600 feet of grass tees, 15 heated stations, chipping green, bunkers and a 12,000 sq. ft putting green. A new 9-hole Pitch and Putt course is open weather permitting. Golflearningcenter.com Ironwoods Golf & Practice Facility over the border in North Smithfield, RI, has both grass and mat tee areas along with a practice bunker, 100 sq. ft synthetic putting green, grip repair shop, professional instruction and heated bays for fall and winter practice. Lwgolf.com Another option is Fore Seasons Golf Practice & Learning Center in Hingham with covered bays, video swing analysis, club fitting, club making and golf simulators from Dead Solid Golf available for rental that comes with a variety of modes and 27 courses to play. Foreseasonsgolfpracticecenter.com
Where? Boston’s North Shore/Ipswich
Living | The gated community of the Ipswich Country Club on Boston’s North Shore is designed for those desiring the good life. Single family and attached homes reflect New England styles, many with clapboard or stone exteriors and features such as round tower extensions and wrap-around porches. Community amenities like the Ipswich Country Club’s 18 hole course by Robert Trent Jones Jr., two restaurants, pool complex and tennis facility enhance the lifestyle of residents. Prices are typically above $500,000 rising to more than $1 million. Clubcorp.com
Golf | In addition to a practice area that encompasses a 2.5 acre short games area, bunkers and putting greens, the Pappas In door Golf & Baseball Center in North Chelmsford has three Par T Golf Simulators, a 1600 sq. ft. putting green, 12 practice bays, chipping areas, bunker, digital video coaching systems, private lesson area and for those who want to hit another kind of ball, baseball batting cages. bpappasgolf.com
Where? Cape Cod
Living | New Seabury, a golf community in Mashpee on the Cape’s south shore affords its affluent residents a comfortably low key but luxurious lifestyle with golf on two seaside golf courses 16 tennis courts, a beach and pool club, fitness center, marina and miles of white sand beach and hiking trails. Situated on about 2,000 acres with more than 1,300 homes clustered in 13 neighborhoods with a wide selection of styles and prices, New Seabury’s latest enclave emulates old Cape Cod with picket-fenced cottages. Newseabury. com
Golf | You may not need to go indoors. Thanks to the moderating Gulf Stream many of the Cape courses stay open throughout the winter New Seabury has two courses, Ocean and Dunes while nearby are tracks like the Captain’s Port and Starboard courses, Bayberry Hills and Dennis Pines are just down the road.
VERMONT | Where? Okemo Valley
Living | Typically people purchase real estate as second homes for skiing in the Okemo and Ludlow areas. Summer golf on the Okemo Mountain course is a bonus with the course terraced into the hills. There are a variety of homes and condos for sale in the area, many with views of the mountains. Okemorealestate.com
Golf | You have a lot of indoor golf options at Okemo Valley Golf Club’s Indoor Golf Training Center. There is a 6,000 sq. ft. practice area, putting green, three swing stations, full-swing golf simulator, and private lockers. “Play” Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, Troon, Harbour Town and other great courses and challenge your buddies with stroke, skins or match play with up to four teams of four players (16 total). Okemo.com
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA | Where? Prince Edward Island
In an area that gets socked in by snow (last winter locals noted they had 19 feet), it makes perfect sense to come up with some top quality indoor golf experiences. Take All About Golf, an interesting concept we discovered while staying in the new Holman Grand hotel in the center of historic Charlottetown. PEI. The modern, European-style hotel flows seamlessly into Confederation Court Mall where All About Golf has three facilities: a club-like facility with golf simulators and a sports bar; a championship putting and chipping setup; and a retail golf shop. We all know about the simulators, but the 900 square foot 5-hole putting green, 18 holes of championship putting and a chipping green where the grass simulates the closest thing to Bent and the sand is real, is something else. Just ask Pelz: he has a similar facility in his back yard. Designed by Synlawn Golf in Ottawa, this par 44 championship putting and chipping facility is challenging even for the most avid golfer yet still fun for all skill levels. The greens are undulating and can be topdressed to adjust speed and a pitch shot can be sucked back off the green. Allaboutgolf.ca
• Check out your local schools for golf lessons offered by adult education programs.
• Repurpose your garage or spare room by converting it to a golf room. There is a huge range of products available for outfitting a home practice area including:
• SkyTrak (about $2000) launch monitor and simulator in one that is completely wireless allowing you to practice with visual data and play on course on the World Golf Tour.
– Full-length mirrors are great for checking things like your club takeaway, face angle and back swing.
-Use artificial grass turf to create your own practice putting green. There are many putting aids available including matts, “grass” strips and devices that return your putts.
– Driving nets come in all shapes and sizes to fit whatever space you have. ProAdvanced pop-up nets are adaptable for use inside and out. The nets “pop up” into various sizes and shapes and can be collapsed in a flash into a very small package, a very clever idea for those who want to practice their shots in small spaces like their apartment or garage. Pro-advanced.com
– Try a swing analyzer app like Swing Smart or SwingTip. With SwingTip, you attach a small gizmo to your club, then the app you’ve launched on your smart phone or tablet, analyzes your swing and even tracks and charts your swing history. You know instantly what your swing path and face angle look like, your club speed, swing tempo and whether you’ve hit the sweet spot. Armed with all this knowledge, you can then understand what you need to do to improve your game. Sweet. Swingtip.com