Atkinson Resort & Country Club boasts an 18-hole Phil Wogan-designed course that first opened for daily fee play in 1996. Holes are laid out in two distinct clockwise circuits, each of which returns to the clubhouse.
“A short but engaging golf course built over typically rolling New England terrain,” is how Daniel Wexler describes the course in The Resort Course Guide. The author then continues: “the outward half gets off to a strong start at the 515-yard 2nd, a downhill, creek-crossed par five played to a water-backed green.
This, plus the 183-yard 11th (all carry across wetlands) and the 352-yard creek-fronted 18th are the club’s standouts, but the remainder are pleasant enough holes which, if short, do generate a bit of thought. Among them, the 420-yard creek-fronted 5th and 523-yard pond-fronted 12th would fit in on longer, more prominent courses.”
The strength of Atkinson lies in its par fives. All require strategic choices off the tee, deciding how close to a hazard to come to provide the best angle on the next shot. And three of them also ask the player to think on her/his second shot. There are challenges on the approaches as well, the best being the Redan green on the 6th. All four greens have enough contour for challenging putting.
The downside here is the numerous forced carries, particularly on the back nine where I counted five of them. Even where there’s no wetland to negotiate, the second nine fairways can be particularly constricting. My drive on 15 landed in the fairway but turned into a lost ball. My playing companions lost considerably more.
Interesting layout that leverages mother nature's topography. Be careful on the doglegs as it is easy to get blocked out. The staff, while professional, are not real flexible. I would categorize this as production golf. Good economic value and worth playing
Located just across the border from Massachusetts means a steady stream of people coming to this comprehensive resort. All of the needed amenities are present and the golf side is a fine complement to what's provided. The golf design is generally good -- there isn't much on the compelling side necessitating a special visit to see it firsthand. The course is blessed with quality terrain and the design works well in using it to its best advantage. Stand alone resort courses must have the elasticity to deal with the fullest range of players. Atkinson does that quite well. The turf quality is also clearly well prepared but the core of the design is simply about having golf as another amenity rather than one that truly stands above and beyond everything else. Atkinson does not reach or exceed that threshold.
by M. James Ward