Looking for a romantic, his-and-hers golf vacation? Consider Cape Cod

By Katharine Dyson, Special Contributor

The golf courses on Cape Cod - not to mention its charming resorts, hotels and restaurants - make it a perfect place for couples to enjoy a romantic golf vacation.

Highland Links Golf Course
Highland Links, one of the oldest golf courses on Cape Cod, is a must-play for traditionalists.
Highland Links Golf CourseThe Corsair & Cross Rip Oceanfront Resorts Captains Golf Course - StarboardCape Cod - DunesOlde Barnstable Fairgrounds Golf Course - Hole 18Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club - BrewsterHyannis Golf Club - Hole 4
If you go

Doug and Georgina had been pushing it pretty hard, working late hours, stumbling into bed well after Conan O'Brien's opening spiel.

Doug whispers, "I have a great idea. Let's sneak off for a long weekend, play some golf. Unwind. Turn off our cells."

"Hummm, maybe not such a bad idea," said Georgina softly. "On one condition: I pick the place. I'm thinking candles, jacuzzi, beach, massages, Nora Jones, wine."

But where to go? When you're looking for both golf and romance, you're not talking the $295 package offering four rounds of golf, your basic motel room, continental breakfast and a sleeve of balls.

Here's an idea: Head to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Right after you cross the Bourne Bridge, it hits you: the salty smell of the sea air. Fresh, invigorating, it invites you to walk the sandy dunes, dig for clams or head out into the Cape Cod Bay for a moonlight sail.

The sweet scent of roses tumbling over stone walls, flowers peeking from tiny gardens tucked in nooks and crannies behind silvery gray-shingled houses, the cries of gulls and seafood in places like Clancy's in Dennisport, the Yarmouth House Restaurant in West Yarmouth and a lobster dinner for $14.50 at Doyles Restaurant in South Yarmouth. Now that's romantic.

Golf and romance on Cape Cod

But on Cape Cod, golf and romance is not an oxymoron. With 43 golf courses in a relatively small area, you can stay in one place and play a different course each day. From the recently renovated Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club in Brewster to historic treasures like Highland Links in North Truro, the Cape's golf courses incorporate wetlands, pine-covered hills, hills and grassy dunes which have been sculptured into an array of golf holes by architect greats like Donald Ross, William Mitchell, Brian Silva and Geoffrey Cornish.

Here prices are relatively inexpensive with comfortable accommodations and golf for two nights for two starting as low as $260 and high-end properties offering two-night packages from about $600 to $800 per couple.

One good reason to stay at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club (www.wequassett.com) in Chatham is to be able to play the private Cape Cod National Golf Club. Ranked by Golf Digest as one of the top five private golf courses in the country, it's a beauty. Expect it to be uncrowded, laid back, and challenging, more so if you try to out-think it.

The Wequassett resort is no slouch either. Set on a bluff overlooking the water, you stay in Cape Cod-style silvery gray-shingled cottages or spacious suites, many with decks. Focal point for the inn is the 19th century "Square Top" Eben Ryder House with its wide board floors, terraces and fireplaces. The inn also has a beautiful pool and beach with filmy-draped cabanas, fire pit, outdoor terrace, kayaks and other sports fun stuff, a large outdoor pool, four tennis courts, croquet court, and four choices to eat and drink.

The Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club (www.OceanEdge.com) is another option combining a romantic ambiance with excellent golf. More than $8 million under the direction of the Nicklaus Design Group has been spent to upgrade Ocean Edge's old Brian Silva design which incorporated some of the original nine of Brewster Country Club designed by Donald Ross which over the years had become scruffy around the edges.

Today the track is in top condition. If you played the golf course before, you'll probably notice there are a now lot more bunkers. Greens have been reshaped and challenge with tricky undulations and the course has been lengthened to 7,011 yards. But don't worry: The new bentgrass fairways let your ball roll forever.

To play here, you'll need to be a member or guest at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club. But that's where the romantic quotient of the picture kicks in. Overlooking Cape Cod Bay, the centerpiece of Ocean Edge is the 1912 Victorian-style Nickerson Mansion which occupies a hilltop setting in Brewster. Relaxed and thoroughly inviting, 335 renovated rooms, suites and multi-bedroom villas are located in the hotel and in villas set on more than 429 acres along the Bay and fairways

Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club has four restaurants, tennis, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, and a beautiful 700-foot slice of private beach.

Cape Cod golf courses

Still you don't have to join a club or stay at a resort to get a super golf & romantic fix on the Cape where there are close to 30 excellent daily-fee golf courses.

Owned by the town of Brewster, the two Brian Silva designs at Captains Golf Course, Port and Starboard, have enjoyed high ratings on the New England scene. Fairway bunkers are well placed to catch errant shots and plenty of greenside bunkers and tree-lined fairways up the challenge. Each course has one sharp dogleg, but for the most part, the holes run straight out.

Bayberry Hills Golf Club in West Yarmouth, designed by Silva and Geoffrey Cornish, is a tough track for short hitters, but the course has four tee boxes to even out the odds in spite of lots of bunkers, rolling fairways and plenty of trees.

Cranberry Valley Golf Course in Harwich runs through - not surprisingly - cranberry bogs along with kettle holes, wetlands and woods. And what about Blue Rock Golf Course? Just because it's a par 3, doesn't mean it isn't worth a serious play. Designed by Cornish, this is a gem with water, elevation and wetlands.

Dennis Highlands Golf Course is known for its no nonsense approach, generous undulating, multi-tiered greens and open fairways. Its back nine is longer by 400 yards and flatter than the front with some killer holes. Dennis Pines Golf Course is another good track and a test for target golfers.

Anyone who wonders what links golf is all about must play Highland Links Golf Course (circa 1892) in Truro. The course is defined by deep natural rough, Scotch broom, dunes, grasses, craggy rocks, and shots through narrow gorse-like protected openings.

And do not overlook Olde Barnstable Fairgrounds Golf Course, Bass River Golf Course or Hyannis Golf Club. All are local favorites, well designed tracks at reasonable rates.

Other places to stay on Cape Cod

The following smaller properties offer some excellent golf packages at a number of courses.

For a laid-back, easy beach front place, check out The Corsair & Cross Rip Oceanfront oceanfront resorts in Dennisport (www.corsaircrossrip.com). A small, friendly place with extra large rooms in a two-story, motel-style building along with three rental homes, rooms have kitchenettes/wetbars, sitting areas and many have ocean views. Beds, linens and amenities are surprisingly luxurious for a motel-style hotel. All this and you are just steps away from two pools, whirlpool, private beach and recreational room.

Bayside Resort (www.baysideresort.com), centrally located just off Rt. 6 in West Yarmouth has an outdoor pool, the Moby Dick Poolside Pub, fitness center, beach and 128 comfortable, well appointed rooms with small fridge, cable TV and complimentary breakfast.

Best Western Blue Rock Resort (www.redjacketresorts.com/blue_rock_golf_resort) in South Yarmouth is a cozy, comfortable place on the grounds of the Blue Rock Golf Course. Mini suites are arranged around a nice outdoor pool and come with small fridges and coffee makers. Breakfast and lunch is served in the Grill Room restaurant.

Katharine DysonKatharine Dyson, Special Contributor

Katharine Dyson is a golf and travel writer for several national publications as well as guidebook author and radio commentator. Her journeys have taken her around the world playing courses and finding unique places to stay. She is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, Metropolitan Golf Writers of America; Golf Travel Writers Organization and Society of American Travel Writers. Follow Katharine on Twitter at @kathiegolf.

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