By Richard Lord
Perhaps the biggest challenge for those playing golf in southern Vermont is focusing on the game and not the stunning surroundings that are par for the course in the Green Mountain State.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the courses themselves aren’t a challenge. With elevation changes and plenty of trees lining the fairways, golfers of any level will be tested by most of the courses in the area.
Below are nine holes that will test all levels of golfers while also providing visual delight.
1. Ekwanok Country Club, Hole 2
par 4, 428 yards
One of the three toughest par-4 holes on the state’s top-rated course, the uphill second shot to a small green provides an early-round challenge.
2. Mount Snow, Hole 3
par 3, 205 yards
A pond that runs from just in front of the tee box to just in front of the green requires golfers to hit a solid tee shot or pay the price. The green is also guarded by three traps. A par is always a good score here.
3. Manchester Country Club, Hole 11
par 4, 435 yards
A beautiful but difficult hole lined with tall oak trees. It requires a slight draw off the tee and a cut shot into the green. The putting surface is part of a double green with the par-3 16th hole.
4. Mountain 9 at Stratton Mountain Golf Club, Hole 5
par 5, 621 yards
Considering that this is one of the longest holes in the state, keeping it in the fairway is crucial if you want to get home in three. Trees pose problems off both sides of the fairway and there is also a lake left of the fairway.
5. Ekwanok Country Club, Hole 13
par 4, 334 yards
Don’t be fooled by the distance, this hole is far from easy, The tee shot from an elevated tee must avoid the bunkers and hummocks down the left side in order to set up a short shot to the green, one of the best and most challenging putting surfaces at Ekwanok.
6. Manchester Country Club, Hole 6
par 3, 210 yards
Pickerel Pond guards the entire left side of the green, which is elevated and one of the largest putting surfaces on the course. It is wise to take an extra club considering the elevated green and ever-present pond.
7. Brattleboro Country Club, Hole 6
par 4, 243 yards
The urge is to try and drive the green, but for those who are off-target there is still plenty of trouble on this classic risk-reward hole. The left side of the green is open, but the right, back and front are well-guarded by bunkers, The best approach shot for those who don’t drive the green is from the left.
8. The Hermitage Golf Club, Hole 11
par 5, 523 yards
This downhill hole is one of the prettiest in the region and offers birdie possibilities. The sloping fairway can result in long drives that make the large green reachable in two.
9. Golf Club at Equinox, Hole 2
par 4, 395 yards
Keeping the ball out of the bunkers on the right side of the fairway is critical off the tee on what is Equinox’s No. 1 handicap hole. The second shot is uphill with water well left of the green.