This week, President Obama is vacationing and playing golf at Martha’s Vineyard. On Sunday, he played Farm Neck Golf Club with aide Marvin Nicholson, White House chef Sam Kass and Robert Wolf, a Wall Street consultant who has advised him on financial matters.
On Monday, he played at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown with Washington power broker Vernon Jordan, former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Allison Davis, a friend from Chicago.
Editor’s Note: We profiled Farm Neck on March 25, 2011
I cover the news for a living so I’m not star struck. But when you have the opportunity to play a golf course POTUS just played you’ve got to take it. You know POTUS: PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
I’d been eager to play Farm Neck Golf Course on Martha’s Vineyard for some time but whenever I was there it was for biking and beaching. But how can you pass up a chance to play when you figure the course has to be in pristine shape to welcome the Commander in Chief. Such was the situation last summer.
So the husband and I hopped the Island Queen ferry from Falmouth, MA and made like regulars, hauling our clubs with us. It’s a quick 40 minute ride for $18 (make note, they don’t accept credit cards). No worries about getting from the ferry to course as the cabbies are always waiting. While I don’t recall the exact fare, it was reasonable.
The drive up to the course is gorgeous, whetting your appetite for the breathtaking vistas that await. Much of the course provides views of Nantucket Sound Sengekontacket Pond and it’s beautifully treed. Yes, keep the ball straight as there’s little leeway for errant shots on many holes.
The only tee time we could snag was 2:30 and in the end of August that means you’ve got to play, well, briskly. We were paired with another couple who said they played there often. Benita’s rule #1 – I never mistake playing often for playing well and that rule proved true. While the wife could hit the ball the husband could cuss the ball. Thankfully they only played the front 9.
Farm Neck is a semi-private course that opened in 1979. If you’re hitting from the tips it’s 6,807 yards: 72.8 rating/135 slope. After that, the blue tees where the husband played from, it’s 6,301 yards – 70.5/133. I skipped the whites and went easy hitting from the red tees – 4,987 yards rating – 64.3 / 118.
It’s a course that rolls with something new to see around every bend. You’ll get an ocean view on 4, 7, 8, 14 & 15 and there are lovely lagoons that come into play on five other holes. The bunkers along the first hole mean you’ve got to keep it left. The bunkers on #6 surround the green like a good army so land softly. Golf Digest consistently rates it 4.5-5 stars. Deservedly.
The 14th hole is my fave, probably because it runs along the ocean (or is that the bay?) whatever, it’s a lot of water and stunning. The 16th has a dreamy quality but don’t be lulled because you’ve got water to clear if you’re ‘going for’ the green.
Although we played late in the season, and remember, last summer was brutally hot, the maintenance was meticulous. Oh sure, there were some stressed spots but clearly, this course is lovingly attended to. Overall, the staff is top notch. Even though it’s semi-private we ‘walk-ons’ were treated first-class. If you can, I suggest staying for dinner. You’ll be treated to casual elegance and fabulous food. We didn’t happen to bring a change of clothing and didn’t feel out of place.
It was our anniversary but because we had to catch the ferry back to the mainland we couldn’t linger over dinner. So our waitress packed dessert and coffee and wished us well. It’s not cheap, but then again, what vacation golf spot is?
If you’re looking for a deal, play in April. From April 8-28 it’s a steal at $50/18 holes. An electric cart is always included in the greens fees. High season that same 18 will set you back $150.
In short, Farm Neck is fit for a President and perfect for the rest of us.