The Takeaway: Eastward Ho! enjoys one of the finest properties for a golf course in the country and stands as perhaps one of its most underrated. With incredibly undulated terrain, stunning ocean views, and engaging hole designs, Eastward Ho! goes down as one of my all time favorites. Grade A+
Designer: Herbert Fowler 1921
Phone Number: 508-945-0003
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Eastward Ho!'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 325 Fox Hill Rd, Chatham, Massachusetts 02633 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: Let’s get something out of the way; Eastward Ho! is one of the best and most underrated golf courses in the country. The spectacular setting on Cape Cod in southern Massachusetts enjoys extensive coastline, engaging terrain, and top shelf hole designs to create a course with few rivals. The property is much hillier than one might expect, especially so close to the ocean, and it will test every bit of your shot making skills, mental aptitude, and ability to adapt. While the overall length isn’t long, the hole designs do fit seamlessly on the terrain in a classic figure 8 routing while delivering a wide variety of uphill and downhill shots from the tee and on the approaches. The result is one of the most memorable layouts you’ll ever encounter and one that keeps you engaged from start to finish. The location is known for its exposure to the wind, evidenced by the bending flag on the club’s logo, which adds to the elements players need to factor in and delivers a different experience each time around the loop. The ‘darling’ one-shotter 15th and insanely good closing 18th hole help make the case for the back nine being the superior side, but a strong counterpunch delivered by the coastal 4th and roller coaster 6th make the debate a strong one. From a conditioning standpoint, the turf is maintained with an ideal level of firmness on the fairways and receptiveness on the greens while making it challenging to find a blade of grass out of place. The course can be enjoyed on foot or by taking a cart, so if you are playing 36 you may try it each one way. From a comparison sake, it plays like a shorter version of Cal Club and feels more like a cross between Cruden Bay and St. Enodoc; a tall compliment indeed.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 15th Hole – 153 Yard Par 3 – Located near the southwest corner of the property and the first of two holes on the back nine running directly along the coastline, the 15th is pure beauty. Tipping out at just 153 yards, players should be swinging a club they have confidence in to match the impressive setting. The oval green is a bit longer than it is wide and is protected by a half dozen bunkers; three of which stair-step up the left side and one right in front of the green that poses the biggest threat when the pin is up front. With the wind often howling, players need to make sure they don't balloon their tee shot and get tossed to an unsavory location. Overall though, this is a fun hole to play and a beauty you won't soon forget.
Best Par 3: 4th Hole – 182 Yards – Players get their first coastal exposure on the par three 4th that plays northwest in direction and a few feet uphill. The fairway fronting the green is raised on the coastal side and is set to kick balls forward and to the left if players want to utilize those contours to skip their ball onto the green. If you are flying it all the way to the putting surface you'll need to carry it onto the front third of the green to get beyond the front edge that slopes away. The straight front to the green is reminiscent of Chicago Golf Club where square lines rather than curved arches are often used to shape the greens. The raised fairway in front of the green provides a slight visual deception so trust your yardage and swing with confidence . . . making sure to avoid the bay.
Best Par 4: 18th Hole – 460 Yards – One of the best finishers in the Bay State, the 18th at Eastward Ho! is simply all-world. Traversing northeast directly along the coastline, the closing hole is everything you want on the final offering of the day; a test of length, accuracy, and finesse combined with an absolutely stunning setting. Not only do golfers get to enjoy the salt water hugging the left side, but the clubhouse sits behind the green where onlookers from the patio stand ready to applaud any commendable approaches. The fairway is bunkerless but features tree lines on each side that must be avoided while hitting to a blind fairway that descends out of view initially. From the low point in the fairway players are just a few feet above the beach before facing an approach shot that plays back uphill 30 feet to a green flanked on the left and in the rear by bunkers; the two most common misses. A large flag pole just inside the right edge of the green is a great line to take to ensure safe travels enroute to the flag. On a course that is one of the finest in the country and a personal favorite of mine, I can't think of a finer way to finish the round.
Best Par 5: 11th Hole – 485 Yards – An excellent scoring opportunity if you can hit the appropriate line off the tee, the short 11th feels like a gift early in the back nine. By now you should know you are going to face some blind tee shots, and you get another here. Beginning about 200 yards from the back tee, the fairway slowly but steadily begins turning to the left along a tree line that marks out of bounds with neighbors yards becoming landing areas for players that get too greedy off the tee. The rolling fairway doesn't yield a lot of flat lies which helps compensate for the short distance to cover. When attacking the green the strong false front should be noted along with the deep bunkers at the front two corners that can produce some precarious lies. While many would consider 11-13 the weakest three hole stretch at Eastward Ho!, #11 still maintains undulated terrain and requires shot making from start to finish in order to conquer.
Birdie Time: 3rd Hole – 326 Yard Par 4 – The final of the warmup holes before players are taken out to the coast, the driveable 3rd hole is the perfect opportunity to throw a birdie on the card as some needed insurance before taking on the rest of the course. From the back tee it takes some local knowledge on where to aim since the bunkers and raised fairway block the view to the landing zone beyond. On a direct line with the flag it will take just 300 yards to reach the front edge of the green that features a trio of bunkers on the right and a duo on the left. The ideal line is the right edge of the bunker on the left that you can see on the tee; this will split all the bunkers up near the green and give you the most favorable chance of reaching the putting surface or at least maintaining the ideal angle away from the bunkers on the approach shot. The flat and inviting entrance into the green is equally welcoming to aerial or ground shots, so if the wind dictates a certain play, do it. If you are feeling confident, grip it and rip it towards the flag; otherwise a tee shot that leaves you 90 yards from the center of the green offers the most width of fairway to play with and a scoring club in your hand.
Bogey Beware: 6th Hole – 455 Yard Par 4 – An absolute roller coaster of a hole and a legitimate #1 handicap, the 6th hole features a thrilling downhill tee shot before finding a severely sloping fairway that leads to a raised green where hitting it in regulation is about as common as a calm day. From the tee players can see the green in the distance, but the landing area of the fairway is blocked by the raised hill that fronts the severe downslope on the back side. An aerial view of the hole gives the impression that the hole is a slight dogleg right that is pinched at the neck by a bunker and a fescue area, but on the ground is a much wilder tale. A tee shot up the left side is generally the optimal line as it will use the hillside to push your ball forward and to the right to the flat part of the short grass, however if you are downwind you may use caution on how far left you keep your tee shot since a bunker lies hidden 325 yards in the distance. It is pretty exciting to launch a tee shot towards your target and see what the fairway does with it as it snakes along the ground. From the lowest part of the fairway players will face an approach shot that plays 20 feet uphill to a two-tiered green where the front third suckers players into trying to make a perfect shot or be denied and watch their ball tumble 50+ feet back down the fairway. It is a bear in calm conditions and diabolical in the wind.