Review: Chemawa Golf Course

Course Name: Chemawa Golf Course

Designer: Steve Espisito (1956)

Location: North Attleboro, Massachusetts

History: N/A

Conditions: 7/10, The best thing about Chemawa is the conditions, which are very good for a relatively weak area for public golf. The course as a whole is manicured nicely, with flower beds lining the teeboxes, lush fairways, and greens that run a little slow but still true.

Value: 3/10, Yes, Chemawa is in nice shape, but you’re still paying too much for what you get at $25 for 9 holes walking and $58 for a cart and 18. Twilight, senior, and military personnel get discounts.

Scorecard:

Tee                                 Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Back                              68            5285              65.1              113

Middle                           68            4914             63.5               110

Front                              69           4368              64.6               109

Hole Descriptions: Chemawa is a prime example of a course that would be better suited as a 9 hole course. I believe it began as only 9 holes, but for whatever reason, the owners expanded it when there clearly wasn’t enough space to do so. It’s a real shame too, because the course is always in good condition and could’ve been a great track with 9 well-thought out holes. Instead, you get 18 short holes, topping out at a measly 5285 yards from the Tips. The only way to make a course this short difficult is to make the holes extremely narrow, which zaps the strategy and character.

The par 4 opening hole plays 349 yards straightaway over a tiny creek to a progressively narrowing fairway lined by trees and a bunker on the left at 170 yards. This circular green is guarded by a bunker short right.

IMG_5367
The par 4 opener

Unfortunately, we missed the 2nd hole and instead played the 8th which runs parallel at the same distance. Both are straightaway drivable par fours with bunkers near the green, with the 2nd playing 299 yards.

IMG_5379
The par 4 2nd was busy by the time we reached 8

After crossing a busy road, you reach the par 4 3rd, which plays 345 yards. This is one of the better holes on the course with a downhill teeshot to a tight fairway that bends ever so slightly to the left. Tall trees line the left, but this is a better miss than OB right. In addition to OB, a bunker looms around 230 yards on the right so you might as well aim just short of it. This circular green slopes back-to-front with a bunker long left.

IMG_5369
The par 4 3rd is a pretty hole

At 336 yards, the par 4 4th runs parallel and opposite the 3rd and features another tight teeshot to a blind fairway that dips around 200 yards. At this point, a large bunker also comes into play on the left. This approach plays to a severely back-to-front sloped green guarded by a bunker right.

IMG_5370
Beware of the large bunker on the left at 4
IMG_5373
The approach at 4

The 5th hole plays uphill the entire way with two prominent bunkers on the right between 200 and 260 yards and a steep drop-off left that leaves a very awkward lie. This large circular green is lined by a bunker left.

IMG_5374
The par 4 5th

The lack of variety is evident by the time you reach the 6th, the sixth straight par 4 ranging between 299 and 349 yards. This is absolutely one of my least favorite holes on the course and a perfect example of deleterious target golf that takes options out of the golfer’s hand. At just 312 yards, this terrifying short hole features only a sliver of fairway lined by marshland to the right and a steep upslope on the left. The green here is tucked behind the trees and two bunkers on the right, making it nearly impossible to give it a go with driver.

IMG_5375
Railroad tracks are nice touch, but they don’t make up for this confusing design
IMG_5376
The very tight approach on 6

After crossing back over the street, the 7th is the only par 5 at Chemawa, but calling this 445 yard hole a par 5 is a bit of a stretch. Playing straightaway and again extremely tight, this hole is more or less blind off the tee as the fairway plateaus and then dips down towards the green. This hole calls for three (or two) extremely straight shots, especially on the lay-up, where the fairway can’t be more than 10 yards wide. This large green is bunkerless and runs back-to-front.

IMG_5377
The only defense on this short par 5 is its narrowness, an architectural cop-out I despise

As mentioned above, we accidentally played the 8th twice, but even then it’s still forgettable. At a mere 283 yards straightaway, this hole is as bland as it gets with sparse trees lining the fairway and a large, undulating green guarded by bunkers on either side. I hit long-iron the first time, but actually drove the green here the second time around.

IMG_5368
Grip it and rip it on the reachable par 4 8th

For such a short course, it’s somewhat surprising you have to wait 8 holes to reach the first par 3. The 9th plays 160 yards and plays similarly to the signature 15th at nearby Stone-E-Lea with a slightly downhill teeshot to a circular green guarded by water short. This is a nice little hole and one of the most memorable at Chemawa.

IMG_5380
The par 3 9th
IMG_5381
From just short of the water hazard

I wasn’t able to play all 18, but part of me doesn’t feel too bad about it considering the back 9 plays as a 2418 yard par 32…Maybe I will get to it someday soon.

General Comments: On a course with such little space, it’s not surprising that the only practice area is a small practice green near the 1st hole. Chemawa was packed the day I played and apparently usually is, but kudos to the starter for getting us out before the league and to the group that let us play through – two rarities on a public course.

Verdict: Although well-conditioned, Chemawa is too short and monotonous to recommend to anyone but novices.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s