Winter activities available at Mass Golf member clubs

It’s a widely held sentiment at this time of year: “Hopefully there will be warmer days to come.”

Those who believe in the prognosis of a renowned groundhog were disappointed last week when Punxsutawney Phil predicted another six weeks of winter.

But several Massachusetts golf clubs have long faced this reality and adapted their clubs and courses to be suitable for winter activities.

So while we’re all hoping golf will return sooner rather than later, here are some golf activities that can keep you busy during this time. And believe us, we will soon be playing golf outdoors.


BOWLING

One of the most family-friendly sports (along with golf, of course) is available inside the brick pavilion at South Shore Country Club in Hingham.

Known simply as ‘The Alley’, this 10-lane bowling alley offers the perfect place for those who want to trade overhand putts for overhand pins. For those unfamiliar with Candlepin, the balls are about half the size of a 10-pin ball, the pins are straighter and narrower, and there are no holes to grab. However, you get one extra roll per turn.

The South Shore Country Club also offers golf simulators for members and the general public, but more on that later.

South Shore Country Club Driveway (South Shore Country Club)

LOCATION: South Shore Country Club, 274 South St., Hingham, MA, 02043

Bonus fact: The Worcester Country Club, the site of the first Ryder Cup in 1927, also has a Candlepin bowling alley in the basement of its clubhouse.

SKI & snowshoes

Unlike the golf season, you can choose your own route on the course during the winter months.

Skiing and snowshoeing are abundant at all golf courses in the state thanks to the well-maintained terrain. Among the most popular places for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is the ski hill located at the Leo J Martin Golf Course in Weston. The ski center opened in 1974 and has over 9 miles of runs. This includes a 1.2 kilometer (0.6 mile) ski loop that is lit at night to allow for evening skiing. Lessons and equipment rentals are also on site.

“Depending on the season, they are complementary,” said Mark Jacobson, general manager of Weston Ski Track. “Golf ends around Thanksgiving when we get ready for skiing.”

And even though the snow has melted over the past week, the facility is making its own snow. Jacobson said a project is being finalized to update the irrigation system with an underground pipe to allow water to keep the course hydrated during the golf season and to make snow in the winter.

Weston Ski Slope at Leo J Martin Golf Course (Photo courtesy)

Just down the road is Brookline Golf Course, which also offers opportunities for snowshoeing and skiing. Through the trees, you can even spot the Country Club next door, which will host the 2022 US Open in June. Tewksbury Country Club up north also promoted its course for skiing and snowshoeing.

But just being in the Boston area isn’t enough to get the skis out. Further west, places like Cherry Hill Golf Course (Amherst), Gardner Municipal Golf Course, and Northfield Golf Club have trails often used for cross-country skiing and even snowmobiles (when permitted).

Wherever you go, be sure to stay in safe areas and bring the proper gear and clothing.

Although it’s not golf or patio season, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the course yet!

With all the recent snow, conditions are perfect for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the terrain.

LOCATIONS:

Leo J Martin ski slope: 190 Park Road, Weston, MA 02493

Brookline Golf Course (Robert T. Lynch Municipal Golf Course): 1281 W Roxbury Pkwy, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Cherry Hill Golf Course: 323 Montague Road, Amherst, MA 01002

Gardner Municipal Golf Course: 152 Eaton Street, Gardner, MA 01440

Northfield Golf Club: 31 Holton Street, Northfield, MA 01360

CURLING

Speaking of the Olympics, curling is the only sport that repeatedly piques our interest during the Winter Games every four years. In fact, some have even called it golf on ice.

The Country Club has its own facility with long slabs of ice used for the obscure winter game of throwing rocks at icy bull’s eyes (called the house). While the rink has traditionally been restricted to members and local school teams, there are ways for the public to compete. Social groups like the Canadian Club of Boston had access to the facilities of the Country Club. Not Canadian? No problem, because this group is open to members of all nations.

There is a historical connection between golf and curling in the Boston area. The Brae Burn Country Club hosted curling on its pond as early as 1898. TCC also used to host area clubs for a summer four-ball tournament and encouraged participants to join in during the season of curling.

There are also curling-specific facilities in places such as Wayland, Bridgewater, Falmouth and Petersham. However, none are located on golf courses.

Curling at Brookline Country Club (Photo courtesy)

Location: The Country Club, 191 Clyde Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

GOLF SIMULATORS

And finally, it’s no secret that you can still practice your golf swing all year round. Golf simulators have been popping up across the Commonwealth for players to practice indoors and study the analysis of their swing. It also lets you play 18 holes in about an hour.

The Links at Mass Golf in Norton opened two Golfzon simulators around two years ago, allowing golfers to practice on some of the most famous courses including Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black and the Old Course in St Andrews.

In addition to the many independent facilities with simulators, many golf courses have installed them as well. Check with your local club and you may be able to surprise your friends in early spring. You can always invite them to come too.

GolfZon Simulator at The Links at Mass Golf (Mass Golf)

Location: The Links At Mass Golf, 300 W Main St. Norton, MA 02766

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