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.
Portsmouth Country Club is located in Greenland, NH. It was relocated from Portsmouth, NH and is a Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design. The first hole is welcoming, dogleg right with a fairway bunker on the inside elbow. The green also has bunkers left and right. The 2nd gets a little tougher, longer par 4 but straight away. Also, with left and right greenside bunkers. The 3rd is a good birdie oppty. Dogleg left and you can cut some of the corner to set up an attack iron. Front left and right greenside bunkers. The 4th is the first par 5 and surprisingly the number one handicap hole. It doglegs left quickly. A high draw is preferable, big hitters can get home in two. There is a front right bunker and one on the left. The first par three is forgettable. Mid to short, depending upon your tees, two bunkers, one front right and the other right. The 6th is a longer par four but straight away. This green has three bunkers, two left and one right. The 7th is the longest par 5. The fairway starts real narrow and then widens to a more common width. There is a greenside water hazard left with a bunker right. The 8th is a long par 3 with bunkers left and right. The 9th is eerily familiar to number one, dogleg right.
The back starts with a straight par 4, fairway bunker right and only one greenside on the left. The 11th is a par five that leans towards the left. Similar to 7, a very narrow beginning of the fairway. The 12th bends to the right and is a long par 4. I think it was the toughest hole on the course and not just because I took a triple. It was into the wind when I played it and I also ended up in the left greenside bunker. The 13th is the shortest and the easiest hole on the course, bunker front left and back right. The 14th and 15th were my favorite holes, both doglegs left. The 14th is a par five and has water hazards on the inside and outside elbow. A dry drive makes the hole very manageable. The narrow green is protected left and right with bunkers. The 15th is a short dogleg left with a water hazard on the inside elbow. How big is your appetite? You can definitely cut some and should have an attack wedge. The 16th is a ho-hum par 3. The 17th is a straight away par 4 with left and right greenside bunkers. The finishing hole is also straight away. Just longer with the same predictable bunker configuration.
Course was in good shape, easily walkable as it very flat and on an ocean inlet. Disappointing, an unimaginative layout.
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