Changes help turn around fortunes of Ledges Golf Club in South Hadley, Massachusetts

By Kevin Dunleavy, Contributor

Finding negative comments about Ledges Golf Club on isn't easy. Naysayers will have to settle for the following:

Ledges Golf Club - 13th
Players consistently give Ledges Golf Club high marks.
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Ledges Golf Club

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The Ledges Golf Club in South Hadley is tucked away in the Pioneer Valley, an area of western Massachusetts known for its lush, rolling hills. It is a favorite amongst locals since it is one of the best values in the region. The course enjoys scenic views that stretch to Mt. Tom and the Holyoke Range. The Ledges is a shotmaker's course that offers several interesting risk-reward opportunities.

18 Holes | Public golf course | Par: 72 | 6507 yards | Book online | ... details »

"We know from previous play that this is a beautiful course. Fairways already looking great, as are greens," wrote DennisandLinda, of Chicopee, Mass. "Golf carts could use a more frequent washing, though."

So there you have it for the bad news about Ledges, an 11-year-old municipal course in South Hadley, Mass. In the western part of the state near the Connecticut River and with views of the Berkshires, Ledges is ideally situated in the Pioneer Valley on a varied piece of property that incorporates wetlands, mature woodlands and historic farmland.

With a par of 72, a rating of 72.2 and a slope of 133, Ledges' 6,507 yards over bentgrass greens and fairways are player friendly and relatively stress free. Players consistently give the Howard Maurer-designed course high marks for its variety of holes.

"This place is first class all the way. It feels great just driving in to the parking lot. You are surrounded by beautiful golf holes," wrote jacktheripperman of Windsor, Conn. "Everything is well designed and well cared for. Greens are fast and true. Lots of beautiful bunkers. You have to think your way around this course."

Praise wasn't always universal for Ledges, which was mired in financial trouble. But over the last year, General Manager Doug Juhasz has helped turn the fortunes of the club around. Renovation of the Valley View Grille along with the addition of some creative menu choices, have aided the rebound.

As for the golf course, Ledges has some quirky touches. Ten of the holes are doglegs and there are more than a few blind shots. Local knowledge is critical especially on the Ledges' intriguing collection of risk/reward par 4s. Four such holes measure between 287 and 315 yards from the back tees, daring players to try to drive the green, while presenting risk in the form of hazards.

There is a bounty of excellent golf courses in western Massachusetts. Six come in as high as Ledges' player rating of 4.3, but setting the course apart is its reasonable greens fees, which max out at $45, while privately owned courses in the area -- such as the Ranch Golf Club (4.5) and Crumpin-Fox Club (4.7) -- command more than twice that rate on the weekend.

Summing up the feelings of many players about the Ledges is dclyons92, of Auburn, Mass.

"Course was in great shape. Beautiful views. Great variety of holes. Couple of short par 4s with high risk/reward. Very true rolling greens," he wrote. "And the people working the course were outstanding. When I told the starter it was my first time, he went to the clubhouse for a yardage book and explained the layout. Extremely friendly and helpful. Great first experience, much due to the course staff. Can't wait to go back. Fall views with mountains must be spectacular."

Kevin DunleavyKevin Dunleavy, Contributor

Kevin Dunleavy is a longtime resident of northern Virginia, a graduate of George Mason University, an award-winning reporter covering golf, colleges, and other sports for the Washington Examiner, and a single-digit handicap still seeking his elusive first hole-in-one. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KDunleavy.

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