19 Meacham Street,
Massachusetts (MA) 01267,
- +1 413 458 3997
150 miles W of Boston
Unaccompanied guests may play daily by prior arrangement
Wayne E. Stiles, John van Kleek, Gil Hanse
Laid out on the Williams College campus in the Berkshire Mountains, Taconic Golf Club is one of the best collegiate courses in the country. A rudimentary 9-hole course was laid out in 1896 which was extended to 18 holes in 1928 with a par of 73, but the layout was revised in the mid-1950s and it now plays to a par of 71.
Designed by the Boston company of Stiles and van Kleek – who built around 60 courses between 1924 and 1932, mainly in New England – the 18 holes here at Taconic are set in one of the most beautiful locations in the state of Massachusetts.
The front nine – short and very pretty – is where a score can be made, despite the relatively tight fairways and greens elevated above fairway level, the outward half ends spectacularly with a downhill par three that plays to a green set in a hollow below the clubhouse.
The back nine comprises many of the holes completed by Stiles and van Kleek with fairways laid out over higher ground and magnificent mountain backdrops for many of the tee shots A rock engraved behind the 14th tee pays tribute to a Jack Nicklaus hole in one during the 1956 US Junior Amateur Championship played here.
Gil Hanse recommended a restoration project to the club in 2006 which involved the relocation of cart paths, upgrading of drainage, expansion of green sites, widening of fairways, installation of fairway bunkers and removal of a substantial number of trees throughout the property – all designed to return the course to the way it was intended by its creators.The USGA was happy to award the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship to Taconic in 1996, the club's centenary year. Perhaps when remedial work is complete, the club might yet be honoured with another national event worthy of such a grand old course.
Any student lucky enough to go to Williams College in Massachusetts may well have the best college golf course in America at Taconic Golf Club. Wayne Stiles routed a fabulous looking course with epic green-sites, which was only further improved by a recent Gil Hanse restoration.
Two of the greatest architects brought this piece of land to world-class levels. Constant change in direction across huge slopes and challenging bunker complexes make this course visually appealing with outstanding design features.
You need to be really accurate to play well on this tough layout as judging distance becomes exceptionally tricky as the target landing areas rise and fall before you.
Taconic is a great educational case study on the genius of routing on a rolling topology. Its isolated location makes it far from everywhere, but the 18 holes are worth every mile of the journey.