The Takeaway: Myopia Hunt Club warps players back in time more than perhaps any other course in America and delivers a truly unique experience. The movement throughout the property is incredibly engaging, the greens are flat out diabolical at times, and the fun never ends. Easily a Top 100 course in the U.S. Grade A+
Designer: Herbert C. Leeds 1896 (back nine added in 1901)
Phone Number: 978-468-4433
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Myopia Hunt Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 435 Bay Rd, South Hamilton, Massachusetts 01982 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: Myopia Hunt Club is one of the most unique courses and clubs in the world and a true American treasure. As you cross the bridge over Miles River and embark onto the property, it is like entering a time machine and going back 100+ years to simpler times. The clubhouse, historical pieces, architecture, and club policies reach back to yesteryear and are complemented by the fact that the club is built around an equestrian and fox hunting tradition. The course is seriously challenging for 6500 yards which is why it hosted the U.S. Open four times from 1898 - 1908 and maintains to this day the largest number of strokes (331) taken to win America's championship. The undulations throughout the terrain paired with diabolical greens that are small and sloping create a much larger challenge than the scorecard would indicate. In fact, a high level amateur event was played at Myopia and the 252 yard par three 3rd hole played to a higher stroke average than the 276 yard par four 1st hole and the 255 yard par four 6th hole; a testament to the craftiness of Herbert Leeds' design. In addition to the challenging terrain and borderline insane greens, Myopia also features thick fescue outside the fairways and deep bunkers around the green; both of which will almost surely cost you at least one stroke if you end up in them. You would struggle to identify a hole that doesn't ooze with character and beg you to rely on wisdom rather than power when navigating it, which seems to have been lost in a lot of modern day designs that lazily rely on length over strategy. Players over 75 can play the course while riding in a cart while all other patrons will enjoy the course on foot with a caddie in tow. While there isn't anything quite like it, if pressed to draw a comparison I would say it played like a combination of Swinley Forest and Hollinwell from England mixed with a bit of Lawsonia from Wisconsin. Bottom line, an invitation to play Myopia Hunt Club is something you should drop everything to accept; it will be well worth it.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 16th Hole – 192 Yard Par 3 – A one-shotter positioned alongside the uniquely located pro shop 20 yards off the left edge of the green, the 16th is a hole you could play over and over without ever truly mastering it. The tee shot plays 50 feet downhill over a fescue area to a green that slopes away from you and to the left while also being protected by a half dozen bunkers; most of which are rather narrow and deep. In firm conditions it is quite the accomplishment just to get your ball to finish on the green and yield a birdie putt. The ideal approach carries just onto the front third of the green since hitting it a bit short can catch the downslope and send your ball scooting across the green. This is such a challenging, unique, and memorable hole; exactly the type you'd expect at Myopia Hunt Club.
Best Par 3: 9th Hole – 138 Yards – One of the most famous short par threes in the northeast, the concluding hole to the front nine can be the most demanding 138 yards you’ve ever contended with. A small green awaits beyond the pond that fronts the putting surface while penalizing deep bunkers surround the target. In fact, seven bunkers in total surround the pint sized green and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Tee shots that carry offline will often find themselves in a position where saving par becomes a staggering feat while balls that catch the green in regulation will give golfers a reason to exhale a great sigh of relief. At its widest point the green is a mere 25 feet wide which is nearly 3.5X narrower than it is deep (85 feet). I can't overemphasize how unique of a layout and hole designs Myopia features and this one-shotter is a perfect example of that. It is that creativity throughout that helps make Myopia a special offering.
Best Par 4: 7th Hole – 401 Yards – From the tee the 7th seems fairly unassuming with a raised fairway resting in the distance beyond the fescue that borders the tee box. Ten bunkers are found on the hole with seven of them flanking the left side, so favoring the right side is safer, however the left side offers a speed slot that can chase balls down the hill. As players walk up the fairway they are greeted with a 25 foot drop from the apex of the short grass down to the front-to-back sloping green. The wide entrance to the putting surface encourages balls to bound in on the ground since predicting how far a ball will release when brought in through the air can be a challenge. This hole offers two fun shots to hit; the first to a hidden landing zone where the anticipation builds on where the sloped fairway will push it to, and secondly an approach shot down tumbling terrain to a spacious green with plenty of movement in it.
Best Par 5: 2nd Hole – 488 Yards – As players arrive on the 2nd tee they are greeted with a spectacular view across the course from one of the highest points on the property; a fabulous introduction to Myopia Hunt Club. The drive plays well downhill to a generous fairway that invites players to grip it and rip it. Successful tee shots will have an excellent opportunity to reach the green in two, but it won’t be as simple as getting a distance to the middle of the green and flighting a ball in at the putting surface. The green is hidden from view below a steep slope that must be navigated precisely in order to finish on the putting surface. Play it too short and you won’t catch the slope at all. Catch it too far down the hill and it will carom your ball across the green and beyond it. Fly it all the way to the green and you will need plenty of spin to keep it from releasing off the back. Your caddie will give you his best advice, but a ball that just carries the edge of the hill should trickle its way down to the green and yield an eagle putt. The view from the tee, the uniqueness of the blind approach, and the anticipation walking up to see where your approach finished all add up to an exciting and memorable hole; one of Myopia’s finest.
Birdie Time: 6th Hole – 255 Yard Par 4 – Some people may find it quirky to have a par four that is just three yards shorter than the par three 3rd hole, but Leeds doesn’t care as much about par with his designs as he does strategy and laying out holes that best use the topography. This hole can stump players, especially the first few times around as players get familiar with some of the nuances of the course. One possible strategy is to hit a tee shot 160 yards to the wide part of the fairway while still staying plenty short of the creek that crosses the short grass. From there players will face an approach shot to a raised green with a devious false front. But have you ever told a good golf story that started with, "So I decided to lay up . . ."? Of course not, so pull out your 3-wood or driver and give it a rip. A pond flanks the right side of the fairway but shouldn't come into play when trying to drive the green. The bigger concern to contend with are the deep grass faced bunkers that are found around the green and just short of it on each side; finding one of those effectively will add a half stroke penalty to your score. The putting surface slopes hard from right to left, so if you miss then you need to find yourself on the left side where you can chip back into the slope rather than trying to test your touch from above the hole. It is a fun hole that often has a lower stroke average than the par three 3rd has.
Bogey Beware: 12th Hole – 451 Yard Par 4 – The toughest hole on the toughest course in U.S. Open history presents itself on the 12th; a hole that was originally designed as a par five. Standing on the tee my mind quickly went to Shinnecock Hills with the setting, hole shape, mowing pattern, and features being reminiscent of what you would find on New York’s famous track and multi-time host of the nation’s open championship. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise since Herbert Leeds studied Shinnecock before laying out Myopia. The elevated tee offers an opportunity to get some extra yards with your driver but it also demands additional accuracy to keep your ball over the short grass for the full length of the flight. The fairway tilts a bit from right to left and can nurse balls closer to the heavy tree line flanking the left side of the hole, however, bailing too far right brings heavy fescue into play and lengthens the approach shot into the green. The long approach into the putting surface is greeted by a smallish, domed green that is quick to repel shots that aren't exacting in their quality. This hole won't accept anything other than a pair of top shelf back-to-back shots, so hopefully you have found your 'A' game by now.