The course at Charles River Country Club is a Donald Ross design that dates back to 1921. Playing to a par of 72 for regular member play over its modest length of 6,683 yards, the layout reverts to a par of 70 for competitive events, with par fives at the 7th and 10th holes becoming par fours.
Hosting stroke play qualifying rounds for the 2013 US Amateur Championship at nearby Brookline, Charles River was Francis Ouimet’s home club for a number of years and the former US Open champion eventually became the first honorary member of the club, a position he held until he died at the age of 74 in 1967.
The 399-yard 5th is a potential card wrecker on the front nine. Routed uphill to the highest point on the property, the hole plays to a green that tilts right to left, with over a four-foot drop in elevation from back to front. Another fine hole is encountered at the 409-yard 8th, where the fairway crosses some seriously mounded terrain on its way to a steeply raised green.
On the inward half, the short par four 12th is the first of only three two-shot holes to be found on the back nine. Here, a blind drive is followed by a short iron from a tricky side hill position towards a green that’s severely canted from back to front. The final par four at the 18th is a beauty – all of 445-yards from the back tee – and it sweeps majestically left to a home green that’s protected by sand on either side of the putting surface.Ron Pritchard is the person largely responsible for the current condition of the course. Called in by the club in the mid-1990s to restore its original playing characteristics, he removed a significant number of trees, enlarged the greens to their intended sizes and reworked all the bunkers to adhere to the specifications found in old photographs.