I’m a slow player at Essex. The 8th hole—a medium length par 4—generally takes me at least twenty minutes. That’s because I usually stop at the 150 yard marker and walk into the woods. Not for a bathroom break, but rather to visit my parents. Their grave is just 20 yards off the fairway.
There are plenty of other reasons to follow Walter Hagen’s dictum about not forgetting to stop and smell the roses here. Many holes, notably 1, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, and 18 give the player strategic options on the tee shot. And even more (all but 7, 11, 12 13 and 17) provide the option for an aerial approach shot. The four par 3s provide great variety—anything from a fairway metal (# 4) to a wedge (# 7). The latter, with a hogback dissecting the green from front to back, is one of the finest short holes anywhere.
Essex is one of my half dozen favorite of both Donald Ross courses (out of 110 played) and those in Massachusetts (out of 180 played).
Date: July 20, 2019