Royal Isabela

Isabela, Puerto Rico

Essex County Club (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts)

Essex County Club logo Golf Course Review by: Billy Satterfield

Rankings:  6th      

The Takeaway:  An old school club with yesteryear architecture, Essex is a throw back in time in every aspect and feature. While the front nine features a couple of great holes, the back nine is what makes Essex elite in the Northeast.  Grade A-

Quick Facts

Designer:  Donald Ross 1917 (original nine 1893)

Cost:  Private

Phone Number:  978-526-7311

Course Website:  Official Website - Visit Essex County Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions:  Get here! - 153 School St, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts  01944 – UNITED STATES

Photos:  See additional photos of Essex County Club

What to Expect:  Essex County Club is one of the oldest courses in the country and one that preserves much of its history with an old school clubhouse, locker room, and course design. If lucky enough to get an invitation to play, even the green fee is paid by check which could be a problem for millennials that have never written one. As you might expect, players enjoy the course on foot with a caddie carrying their clubs while imparting years of wisdom of the history and design features of Essex. Some of that more recent history includes the removal of trees that has opened up views across the course and has exposed natural rock formations that deliver aesthetics and character that was previously hidden. Ultimately though, ECC is the tale of two nines with the front being relatively tame other than the fantastic 8th hole. What makes Essex special is the back nine that features some all-world holes highlighted by the opener and closer that wrap around opposite sides of a large rock hill to create a dramatic start and finish to the inward nine. The routing is beautifully crafted to take advantage of the natural terrain and provide a pleasant walk while also ensuring the holes run in a variety of different directions to provide the kind of variety that delivers lasting appeal to enjoy in a variety of wind or weather conditions. Uniquely, the course plays to a par 70 by offering two par fives on the front and none on the back. Turf conditions vary based on the amount of rain Mother Nature and how it is managed in the fairways, but the greens are always maintained at a quality level. In the end, Massachusetts is loaded with top tier courses and Essex is among them. If the front nine were as good as the back nine, it would make an argument as perhaps the best in the Bay State, but as-is, it is edged out by other offerings while still squeezing into the Top 100 in America.

By the Numbers

Tees Par Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 70 6555 73.0 135
Gold 70 6195 71.0 132
White 70 5996 69.9 131
Red (Ladies) 73 5504 73.1 133

Individual Hole Analysis

Signature Hole:  18th Hole – 417 Yard Par 4 –

18th Hole at Essex County Club (417 Yard Par 4)
18th Hole at Essex County Club (417 Yard Par 4)

18th Hole at Essex County Club (417 Yard Par 4)
18th Hole at Essex County Club (417 Yard Par 4)

18th Hole at Essex County Club (417 Yard Par 4)
18th Hole at Essex County Club (417 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 3:  11th Hole – 178 Yards –

11th Hole at Essex County Club (178 Yard Par 3)
11th Hole at Essex County Club (178 Yard Par 3)

11th Hole at Essex County Club (178 Yard Par 3)
11th Hole at Essex County Club (178 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  8th Hole – 422 Yards –

8th Hole at Essex County Club (422 Yard Par 4)
8th Hole at Essex County Club (422 Yard Par 4)

8th Hole at Essex County Club (422 Yard Par 4)
8th Hole at Essex County Club (422 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  3rd Hole – 623 Yards –

3rd Hole at Essex County Club (623 Yard Par 5)
3rd Hole at Essex County Club (623 Yard Par 5)

3rd Hole at Essex County Club (623 Yard Par 5)
3rd Hole at Essex County Club (623 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  6th Hole – 335 Yard Par 4 –

6th Hole at Essex County Club (335 Yard Par 4)
6th Hole at Essex County Club (335 Yard Par 4)

6th Hole at Essex County Club (335 Yard Par 4)
6th Hole at Essex County Club (335 Yard Par 4)

Bogey Beware:  16th Hole – 453 Yard Par 4 –

16th Hole at Essex County Club (453 Yard Par 4)
16th Hole at Essex County Club (453 Yard Par 4)

16th Hole at Essex County Club (453 Yard Par 4)
16th Hole at Essex County Club (453 Yard Par 4)

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