South of Cape Cod and to the east of Martha’s Vineyard, is the second largest of Massachuset’s islands. For obvious reasons, there are not many golf courses on Nantucket. But this is one of those scenarios of quality over quantity.

There are two private and two public golf courses on Nantucket, all which are relatively close to the water’s edge. Clearly accessing the public courses isn’t a problem, although the island gets very busy during the summer months.

See also: What are the best golf courses on Cape Cod?

The best golf courses on Nantucket, Massachusetts

Siasconset Golf Club

So we kick off our list of golf courses on Nantucket, with a nine-hole layout. It is also the first of two public courses, Siasconset Golf Club, alternatively known as Sconset Golf Course or ‘Skinners’ Golf Club.

‘Skinner’s Golf Club’ is a name many of the locals use, partly due to one of the co-owners’ middle name being ‘Skinner’. But also because during 1977 and 2011, there was a tournament called ‘The Skinner Open’. 

But regardless of what you call the golf club, Siasconset is recognised nationwide as being one of the oldest golf courses in America. 

It started life in the late nineteenth century and was part of the large Bloomingdale Farm. However soon, residents saw the potential for a golf course with the large fields and meadows providing perfect golfing conditions. 

Back in 1899, it actually started as an eighteen hole layout. Not long after it was reduced to just the nine-holes. But ever since opening, there has been one constant, and that is the fact it has been open to the public. 

The layout is rustic, meandering through the open meadows. You won’t encounter too many hazards, but if you start spraying the ball you’ll be in trouble. 

Playing at Siasconset Golf Club is like stepping back in time. This is genuinely experiencing how golf started. Informal, rustic, friendly and fun. And for just over $50, you’d be a fool not to enjoy it. 

Sankaty Head Golf Club

Sankaty Head Golf Club, Massachusetts, Adobe

Arguably the easternmost course in Massachusetts, closely challenged by Eastward Ho! Sankaty Head Golf Club is a special place.

This is a private golf club, which provides fine amenities for its members. These include primarily tennis and beach facilities. But it is the golf course which is renowned nationwide and widely considered as one of Massachusetts’ best.

For starters, the location is pretty spectacular. Yes you have the expansive Atlantic Ocean on one side, wrapping around a huge ocean bluff. But surrounding the course everywhere else is wild open land and wildlife. There is a natural beauty which is rarely experienced elsewhere.

The course was created in 1923 and designed by Emerson Armstrong, who happened to be the club champion of Siasconset Golf Club around the corner. 

Armstrong created a pure links experience and this is one of the few genuine links golf courses outside of the British Isles. There are others in the U.S., but Sankaty Head is one of the finest examples.

Over the years, the likes of A.W. Tillinghast made some minor revisions. But most recently in 2017, Jim Urbina, a Tom Doak associate, revitalized the course. Rebuilding bunkers, enlarging greens, moving tee boxes…this really was a major renovation project.

Now Sankaty Head Golf Club more than merits its lofty position in the various ‘best golf course’ rankings. 

Miacomet Golf Club

Miacomet Golf Course, Massachusetts, Permission Given - resized

Officially Miacomet Golf Club is the only publicly accessible 18-hole golf course on Nantucket. Clearly this lack of choice is a shame. But at least ‘the only one’ holds its own as one of the finest public golf courses in the whole of Massachusetts. 

See also: What are the best public golf courses in Massachusetts?

That said, Miacomet Golf Club was a 9-hole course right up until 2003. So the locals and tourists have only recently had a full eighteen to enjoy.

But the club itself has been around for decades. 

The land was purchased in 1956 with a view to being used for raising cows. Fortunately the owner at the time saw the light and decided instead to create a 9-hole public course.

In 2003, the club was acquired by new ownership and immediately they looked to expand the course to eighteen holes. For this task they brought in the relatively unknown, but nonetheless experienced Howard Maurer.

Maurer had for many years worked alongside another New England architect Brian Silva. So experience and quality mentorship was certainly not lacking. 

Miacomet Golf Club is just one of a handful of his forays into course design. And boy did he excel himself here. Because he did such a good job, he was invited back to renovate the original nine in 2008. 

Despite being a mile or so away from the coast, the course is a links-style layout. The rolling terrain, large greens and long fescue grass are all typical links characteristics. One thing Maurer was a fan of, is huge sculptured bunkers. Not only is there a vast number, but they are at times immense. It is slightly inevitable you’ll find yourself in one at some point during your round.

Great course, great value and great to have an 18-hole public golf course on Nantucket island.

Nantucket Golf Club

Nantucket Golf Club, Nantucket, Massachusetts, Photo courtesy of Andrew Bernardo - resized

We finish off our list of golf courses on Nantucket, with the sensational Nantucket Golf Club.

One of two private member’s golf courses on the island, it is also the newest having opened for play in 1998. Maybe it is apt then, that it is located right next to the oldest course on the island, Siasconset Golf Club.

The routing was designed by one of the great architects of his era, Rees Jones. Laid out in a vast area of unique coastal heathland, Jones’ challenge was to create something spectacular, whilst balancing this with the natural character of the surrounding grasslands. 

The result is an awe-inspiring layout which is more heathland in style. Pristine carpet-like fairways are littered with bunkers. Whilst approach shots are aiming at intricately contoured green complexes. 

Jones designed the course with ample variety in the play. And with the fairway directions constantly changing, keeping tabs on the coastal winds is critical to scoring well. 

Since opening Nantucket Golf Club has received numerous awards from all the major golf publications. For a rumored membership cost of $200,000, you’d expect nothing less! 

But unless you happen to know one of these privileged few, you’ll have to make do with views of the fairways from Milestone Road to the south. 

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