You’ll need to get airborne or test your sea legs if you’re lucky enough to be invited to play Nantucket Golf Club. It’s likely that your friendly member has a few bucks in the bank too as Nantucket Golf Club had one of the highest joining fees in the world when the Rees Jones designed course opened in 1998. Not everyone has a cool $200,000 lurking in his or her back pocket so suffice to say that Nantucket is a rather exclusive golf club!
Located 30 miles to the south of Cape Cod, the Atlantic island of Nantucket is a veritable haven for the endangered Hen or Northern Harrier. The course at Nantucket Golf Club is located on the southeast corner of this popular little island adjacent to the humble and ancient Siasconset Golf Club, which is today thought to be the oldest privately owned golf course open to the public in the US. So if you can’t find a Nantuket member to befriend, you can catch a glimpse of the exclusive layout from Siasconset’s fairways.
Nantucket is an eminently fair course where everything is laid out before you, so you instinctively know where to hit the ball. As most of us know aiming and hitting in the right direction can be rather tricky and factor in the fickle island winds and you have a stern challenge especially from the tips on this 7,100-yard layout.
Only the lucky few know the heathland-like Nantucket intimately and those that do will vouch for the severity of the 18th hole, a daunting 590-yard par five whose fairway weaves its way past threatening bunkers and a wildlife reserve before reaching a well-bunkered green.
Just getting to the course is no easy task here. Located on Nantucket Island makes for a bit of an effort to play this Rees Jones design. The main issue with Nantucket is that the course is more man-made rather than flowing with what Mother Nature provided. More of a "wild" and "adventurous" look would have made the layout even more appealing. It's not that the course is simplistic -- quite the contrary. Jones did a good effort in providing for hole differentiation but the sum total is that something more should have come out of such land in such a beckoning destination. Sadly, the setting gets more billing than the course itself and therein lies the issue with Nantucket.
by M. James Ward