BREWSTER, MA (July 25, 2017) — Going to Cape Cod is usually about getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. To that purpose the Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club is the place to be when one wants to enjoy the best of the best in one of America’s true historical playgrounds.
Ocean Edge, set on a stunning 429-acre tract in the quaint seaside town of Brewster, Mass., offers the combination of grand accommodations in the classic style and superb golf on Cape Cod’s only Nicklaus Design course. Add in one of America’s best beaches, sumptuous villas, condos, tennis, biking, paddle boarding, yoga, a spa, new fire pits and a bar perched atop the dunes and there’s just about everything for anyone.
This is exactly what you would expect from a trip to Cape Cod – a turn-of-the-century golf vacation right out of the story books, with the added flair of modern conveniences and a golf challenge fashioned by the Golden Bear’s design firm, which renovated the course in 2008.
The centerpiece of Ocean Edge is the historic, Victorian-style Nickerson Mansion, whose leaded glass windows and wide terraces evoke a stately ship. The mansion and its carriage house sit on a bluff overlooking the bay and were built in 1890; both structures are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The mansion is regal without being stuffy and full of gorgeous Renaissance Revival and Gothic touches that lend gravitas without sacrificing fun.
Down the road a piece and across the street, Ocean Edge’s golf course opened in 1906 as a nine-hole track beside the mansion. The estate changed hands several times over the years and became a resort in the 1980s, when another nine holes (designed by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva) were added in 1986. For several years after the new course opened, the New England PGA Championship was held at the facility.
Even as Ocean Edge and its course became a real attraction for the area and remained popular with members and resort guests, there was always the feeling that the course could be better. Nicklaus’ design firm, namely associate Chris Rule, took a layout that seemed like it was forced into the land and turned it into a course that looks like it was always here and was merely “discovered” during construction.
Rule wanted to create holes that were fair and inviting and less about target golf, especially as the former layout was often deemed too penal and short on sight lines. The $8.5 million redesign allowed the entire course to be rebuilt from tee to green.
The renovation has given Ocean Edge a more comfortable feel. There’s great movement in the routing’s topography, with rolling fairways and the subtle elevation changes and the renovation maximized what was already provided by the natural landscape while modernizing the course.
Ocean Edge plays at 7,011 yards from the tips and is designed for all levels of play. That back set of five tee boxes carries a rating of 73.1 and a slope of 133, but the course’s real challenge is finding the right line off the tee and hitting to the correct level on the large putting surfaces.
The Nicklaus team allowed the area’s native thickets and stands of mature trees to have a say on the course. While there are no ocean views, several of the region’s famous freshwater glacial ponds enter play.
The front side of the golf course at Ocean Edge doesn’t have as much wow-factor as the more dramatic back nine, but its routing makes good use of the cross-Cape winds. Golfers better have an idea of the wind direction when standing over their ball.
Sixty bunkers are dotted across the routing but players swear there are more because of the way the sand has been utilized. Areas in front of the putting surfaces collect shots and create diverse opportunities to recover.
The test at Ocean Edge begins in earnest at the 181-yard par-3 third hole, with its narrow, diagonal green well protected by two bunkers in front and a small shallow bunker in the back. Pay attention to the left-to-right crosswind that works against your ball; any tee shots missed short and right are difficult up-and-downs.
The dogleg-left 548-yard par-5 fourth will cause some problems as well, especially if your ball is driven through the fairway the right of the bunker guarding the inside corner. The conservative route is right of the bunker, creating a more prudent three-shot approach.
Choose the correct club and swing with confidence on the 195-yard par-3 eighth, which plays downhill over Blueberry Pond and features a putting surface bisected by raised and sunken tiers. There is room behind the green, with plenty of par-saving options.
The 580-yard par-5 ninth is a wonderful risk-reward challenge. Players may want to try the right half of the fairway, protected by long, deep fairway bunkers, to get the best view and angle to get over the 50-yard-wide ravine that crosses the fairway. Once across the hazard, the downward slope of the fairway will chase your ball to the front part of the green. The conservative play is to lay up short of the danger with your second and leave the pin-hunting for the approach.
The back nine contains just one par-3 and a lone par-5, and you’ll get your money’s worth on both holes. No. 16 – the one-shotter – plays into a prevailing left-to-right wind and features a well-protected and elevated green that slopes left to right.
The best hole on Ocean Edge’s layout is the 17th, a picturesque par-5 dogleg-left that stretches 600 yards and works its way up a hill to a plateaued putting surface. Avoid the fairway bunkers left to set up the approach, and play the whole yardage as the greenside bunker protects a false front that can fool you.
Ocean Edge is widely considered one of the best golf experiences in the Northeast. The course is available to members and hotel guests, who have exclusive access as well to the resort’s recreational and social privileges.
After a round of golf, take in the clubby atmosphere of Linx Tavern & Bar in the Golf Clubhouse, where you can enjoy indoor or alfresco dining overlooking the 18th hole. The Linx serves creative cocktails, salads and grilled entrées including fresh local seafood, prime meats and distinctive chicken dishes.
The nautically themed resort with a private beach enjoys warm bay water shallow enough at low tide for long walks well past the shoreline. It’s on the 26-mile Cape Cod Bike and Rail Trail route, with bike rentals available on property.
Celebrating its 31st anniversary as a resort this year, Ocean Edge is as imposing and luxurious today as it was in 1912 while golf at Ocean Edge is everything you want as far as the big trifecta of playability, challenges and conditioning.
If you’ve never been to the Cape, you owe yourself a trip out there – even if it is just for the golf.