Formed in 1901, Portsmouth Country Club hired architect Alex Findlay to set out a 9-hole course for the members and it took a further thirty-two years before a full 18-hole layout was brought into play.
The club moved all of two and a half miles in the late 1950s to its present location on the shores of Great Bay because the expansion of Pease Air Force Base resulted in Portsmouth losing too many acres of its course to this project.
Today’s course has been expanded to 7,153 yards from the back tees, playing to a standard par of 72. Rather unusually, there’s no out of bounds on the course and adjoining marshlands are played as lateral water hazards.Stroke index 1 on the course is the 516-yard 4th, a par five that doglegs left to a large, tightly bunkered green. Eight of the par fours on the card measure in excess of 400 yards, including the 472-yard 12th, which plays to a small green that juts out into the bay on a peninsula called Pierce’s Point.
This RTJ, Sr. layout provides a predictable course -- nothing more. The layout is conventional but the architecture richness is mainly on the vanilla side.
Turf quality was good and there are a few holes of note but there are other more fascinating courses in the Granite State.
Portsmouth will satisfy those who need a golf fix and find themselves in the immediate area.
by M. James Ward