The 27 holes at Granite Links are laid out on top of two former landfill sites and old granite quarries. Incredibly, 900,000 truckloads of spoil from Boston’s “Big Dig” road tunneling project were used in course construction to cap the site with thirteen million tons of material.
"In this profession it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," architect John Sanford said. "The stars had to align, and the timing had to be perfect. The project was immensely expensive, so if the dirt had not been available, the project would never have happened.
The project required seventy-four permits from local, state, and federal agencies. It started from the macro approach, with steep landfill domes. We had to create a golf course on these steep slopes.
When you get into closing landfills and transforming them into a golf course you must deal with the engineering minutiae of settling issues, layering issues, and venting of the methane gases. I happen to enjoy that level of detail so we dove right in."
The original Milton nine was completed in 2003, followed a year later by the Granite nine. In 2006, the Quincy nine was added to complete the 27-hole development. The club was chosen to host four editions of the BJ’s Charity Championship on the Legends Tour, starting in 2005.
Kathy Whitworth, with 88 wins on the LPGA Tour, retired from competitive golf after playing in the first of those two-day, two-player ladies team tournaments. Nancy Scranton and Christa Johnson won in 2006 and 2007, before Cindy Figg-Currier and Sheri Turner claimed the final event a year later.
The Granite Links Golf Club at Quarry Hills in Quincy, Massachusetts, is seven miles south of Boston. It is located in an old granite quarry and garbage dump. At one point in time Quincy was world renowned for its granite. The first commercial railroad was founded in Quincy with the specific purpose of hauling granite to Charlestown for the Bunker Hill Monument. As kids we used to go cliff jumping Granite Links boasts views of both downtown Boston and Boston Harbor. I prefer the Granite and the Milton 9s to the Quincy 9.
The first hole is a downhill straight away par 5. There is OB left and a steep hill right. The safe play is to keep your drive to the right of the left bunker. If you are going to go for it hit your tee shot over the left bunker to a narrow fairway. This will leave you about 220 yards over a marsh to a green protected by 3 bunkers. The 2nd hole is a straight forward par 4, fairway bunkers both sides and 3 greenside bunkers right. The 3rd is the number one handicap hole. It is long but does provide a generous landing area. While there are no greenside hazards the multi-tiered green has teeth. The first par 3 is mid-length. With a water hazard left, a back left pin is not for the faint of heart. The fifth is a slight dogleg right. Off the tee aim right of the rock outcroppings. You may not want to hit driver, as you can drive through the fairway. The 6th is an excellent birdie oppty. Hole tilts towards the left. Aim between the bunker and the rocks. The 7th is an all carry par three. A narrow green with 3 bunkers behind the putting surface. Club selection here is critical success factor. The 8th is a good par 5. Off the tee aim just to the right of the left bunker. It is reachable, however, there is a water hazard greenside right, a bunker front left with a fairway that gets tighter and tighter as you get closer to the green. The 9th is a fun hole and my favorite. A weird shape, there are three large cross bunkers left and a lot of acreage right. Conservative play is right with a bunt drive and then a flip wedge. The hero play is over the middle bunker with the possibility of driving the green. Yes, I birdied.
The back starts with an outstanding long downhill par 4. The tee shot is a 200 yard forced carry. Aim at the fairway bunker. Right is death. There is a large greenside bunker left, you can run your approach onto the green. I did not plan to but, it worked out magnificently.
A long Par 4 to start the back nine. Aim your tee shot at the bunker on the far side of the fairway. Avoid the right side of this hole at all costs! The 2nd shot is still long but you can run the ball up and onto this green. The 2nd is a straight forward uphill par 3 with two large bunkers right. The 3rd is a tough hole. Your blind tee shot on this hole should be right of the bunker. Too far right and there is a dropoff. Big hitters may want to lay up as there is a pond about 230 yards out on the right side. The approach is then over this hazard. I was fortunate in that I was playing with someone familiar with the course. Sadly, my execution left much to be desired. The 13th is a reachable par 5 with lovely views. Favor the left off the tee as there is OB right. The 14th has a fantastic view of Boston and is the signature hole, for good reason. Aim your tee shot between the John Hancock and Prudential Towers. Slight dogleg right with fairway bunkers on the inside and outside elbow to an infinity green, but a good birdie oppty. The 15th is a 218 yard par 3 from the tips. This par 3 requires a long and accurate shot. The 3 tiered green adds additional spice. The 16th is a quirky little hole. Slight dogleg left with three cross bunkers. If you go left, probably should not hit driver, there is not a lot of room right. Best line is over the middle bunker which should set up an attack wedge. The 17th is another short par 4. The tee shot should be driven over the left bunker. This is a BAB on the right that is about 100 yards long and may be bigger than the left side of the fairway. The green funnels front right so aim about 5 yards left of the pin. The 18th is a short but uphill par 5. Only the bravest of the brave will get home in two. The tee shot is over water to a narrow fairway with OB right. There are two fairway bunkers on the left about 110 yards out. However, there are also two large bunkers on the right starting about 75 yards in front of the green. I strongly advise taking an extra club.
I did play the Quincy 9 as well. Overall, good. Pretty views, a couple of good holes, but overall I would describe it as confined and overpriced/. I suspect this site could have been a great 18 hole venue, instead it is a mediocre 27 holer.
This 27 hole facility laid out over a reclaimed landfill and with materials dug up from the big dig mixes some good holes with a few odd ones. Great location and Boston views drive the price higher than the course warrants, but it is extremely well maintained, I enjoyed my round and would definitely play it occasionally, even at the inflated price.