Quechee Lakes Landowners’ Association was formed in 1970 and the QLLA community comprises those who own a lot, completed home or condominium on the property. Ownership grants membership usage of the Quechee Club and people renting from owners are allowed amenity access for a nominal fee while in residence.
It’s very much a four-season recreational community which offers fishing, skiing, tennis and golf among a host of activities – and there’s even a polo field for those who want an equine element in their sporting pursuits. The two 18-hole golf courses were completed in 1970, making this Vermont’s only 36-hole golf facility.
In the book The American Private Golf Club Guide, Daniel Wexler describes the two layouts as “the pinnacle of Geoffrey Cornish’s prolific design career,” adding that the architect’s modern stylings “may not be for everyone, but still Quechee remains one of Vermont’s favoured stops.”
Hurricane Irene devastated the Upper Valley in 2011 with catastrophic flooding and twenty-seven of the thirty-six holes were destroyed. Brian Silva was called in to help rebuild both courses and four years later, the club organized a grand re-opening, with both courses now in better shape than ever before.
The Highlands is a fine layout and it's bolstered by having just enough good holes to balance the ones that are a bit lack luster. When you reach the par-3 1st hole you'll be scratching your head and wondering if the round ahead is worth the effort. Trust me -- things do improve quickly.
The 2nd and 3rd holes require a healthy combination of brawn and precision. But matters drag a bit for the next several holes.
Things jump up rather quickly when you get to the par-4 7th -- 430 yards and features the nearby presence of Ottauquechee River. The hole turns left in the drive zone and concludes with an elevated green sandwiched in-between tree lines from both sides. The key is keeping the tee shot more towards the left thereby providing views of any pin placements. From the tee you don't get this perspective but once played it will forever be in one's mind.
The lengthy par-3 8th is a good counterpoint but sadly the design details are fairly rudimentary with the aforementioned river only playing a cameo role. The short uphill dog-leg par-4 9th concludes the side and it's sufficient but it's too bad a bit more design heft could have really added a good bit more.
The inward half takes you into the higher terrain but the first two holes on the back nine are merely pedestrian. Things ramp up considerably with the fantastic par-3 12th -- an elusive uphill approach calling upon adding more club for the effort. The 13th and 14th are simply vanilla holes but the concluding quartet ends the day well with the downhill turning left par-5 bringing you back to the clubhouse area.
Credit Silva for updating the course and in providing just enough moments / shots to savor. If the vanilla holes were to be updated similarly the layout would be even more of a treat to play.
M. James Ward
There are two courses at Quechee, the Highland and the Lakeland, and we played both. They are both excellent good-value holiday courses and were in superb condition in beautiful surroundpds with sufficient challenge to keep competent golfers on their toes throughout. Our only minor criticism was that the course signage was often poor or non-existent making the layout not that easy to follow for first-time players. The Lakeland is probably fairer, less blind shots and more from an even lie, but the Highland is more exacting and exciting to play.
After a slow but interesting start, the Highland comes to life with the 220 yard par three 8th where your shot from a raised tee has to cross the fast flowing Ottauquechee River, and then throughout the back nine which is played over undulating terrain. Two fearsome par threes at 12 and 17 are the highlights of a testing finish with many good holes and stunning views over the surrounding densely wooded countryside and scenic distant hills.