Taconic Golf Club

Taconic Golf Club – Played July 2016

  • Rankings: Golf Magazine Public #39
  • Location: 19 Meacham Street, Williamstown, Massachusetts
  • Year: 1927, 2009 (Restoration)
  • Architects: Wayne Stiles & John Van Kleek (Original), Gil Hanse (Restoration)
  • Course Access: Public
  • Walking Rules: Carts Available

Score Card Information:

  • Black: 6,808 yards, Par 71, 73.5 Rating/136 Slope
  • Gold: 6,410 yards, Par 71, 72.1 Rating/127 Slope
  • Purple: 5,826 yards, Par 71, 69.4 Rating/122 Slope (Men’s), 74.8 Rating/130 Slope (Women’s)
  • White: 5,143 yards, Par 71, 66.6 Rating/116 Slope (Men’s), 71.4 Rating/122 Slope (Women’s)

Well after my day at Boston Golf Club I was off to western Massachusetts and Taconic Golf Club.  It’s funny because after playing my first Gil Hanse course, I arrived here where Hanse performed an extensive renovation in 2008-2009.  I had never really been to this part of the state.  The location of this track is very near to New York state and I spent most of my drive from New Hampshire in Vermont.  It took about three hours, but I had my multiple podcasts to keep me entertained.  Shout out to Shane Bacon, Michael Collins, and Jason Sobel.

Let’s get into a little background.  According to the course website, the story goes that the course was started by “three men with three tomato cans” in 1896.  Their names were Doughty, Ide, and Gale and they set up three tomato cans in the ground on Weston Athletic Field which is next to the present day 18th fairway.  A few more men joined and weeks later the first real course was planned out as a seven-holer.  By 1897, they had expanded to nine holes and converted a residential house to a clubhouse that lasted until 1955.  The course was then expanded to 18 holes in 1928 through gifts to Williams College.

The course is located on land owned by Williams College and hosts both the men’s and women’s teams.  They say it is no more than an a 10 minute walk from anywhere on campus.  Evidence of their presence is seen right when you walk in from the parking lot.

TAC - SIGNThis is the course’s parking lot, so you can see just how close to the campus it is.

TAC - STADIUMThey have an impressive roster of championships hosted.

TAC - SCOREI played the gold tees and all distances will be from those markers.

Hole 1 – 470 yards – Par 5

A lot like Boston Golf Club, the first hole is a reachable par five.  I like a course that starts like this.  The objective here is to keep it between the bunkers and then gear up for a shot at the green.

TAC 1-1

TAC 1-2The green has some mild undulation.

TAC 1-3

TAC 1-4Here is a look at their flags.

TAC 1-5Hole 2 – 355 yards – Par 4

The view from just off the first green lets you know you are in for some beautiful scenery.

TAC 2-1The hole itself is all uphill, but doesn’t requite a driver.  The only obstacle is the visible bunker.  The approach is also quite a bit uphill.

TAC 2-2

TAC 2-3The green is pretty large with most of the slopes around the outer edge.

TAC 2-4Hole 3 – 383 yards – Par 4

The third is where the course starts to get really good.  There is tree trouble on both sides so you need accuracy.

TAC 3-1The green is slightly elevated and has a false front.  It sits at an angle to the fairway between two bunkers.

TAC 3-2

TAC 3-3Hole 4 – 346 yards – Par 4

I really liked this hole because of the setting with the creek up the left side and the pinched in landing area.  You don’t need anything more than 210 yards here, but it does need to be precise.

TAC 4-1The beauty of this hole continues with the raised green and its setting.

TAC 4-2You can see the false front in the photo below.

TAC 4-3Hole 5 – 157 yards – Par 3

The first one-shotter is a good one!  With rough all around and plenty of sand you need a well struck shot.

TAC 5-1

TAC 5-2

TAC 5-3The green is inviting and provides a big target.

TAC 5-4Hole 6 – 356 yards – Par 4

This hole plays much longer than the stated yardage.  You really need to be able to hit a draw here for the best position.  I imagine this hole was fun in the hickory days.

TAC 6-1

TAC 6-2

TAC 6-3Here’s another example of the wonderful scenery.  You will also notice the proximity of the holes.  Other than some elevation change I imagine this is a nice course to walk.

TAC 6-4Hole 7 – 368 yards – Par 4

This dogleg right is another one that plays longer than the scorecard says.  The tee shot will land into an uphill slope killing any momentum.  The course obviously calls for shots that work both ways.

TAC 7-1The view of the approach.

TAC 7-2The green has a lot of slope on the back side.  Chipping from that area is really difficult and it is tough to stop shots from there.

TAC 7-3Hole 8 – 382 yards – Par 4

You get a break on this tee shot from an elevated tee.  You can play it up the right all you want, but you need to get past the tree line for an open shot at the green.

TAC 8-1The green looks as if it is sitting on the edge of a cliff.  There is some room behind there, but the best spot to miss is short.  In addition, the putting surface is open in front and tailor made for running shots.

TAC 8-2

TAC 8-3

TAC 8-4Hole 9 – 167 yards – Par 3

This is quite possibly my favorite hole on the course.  The elevation change is stark and requires less club.  I just like the setting down in the valley below the clubhouse.

TAC 9-1

TAC 9-2

TAC 9-3Hole 10 – 498 yards – Par 5

After the delightful little halfway house where I had a good hotdog it was on to the back nine.  The tee shot here plays downhill, but the second shot is all back uphill.

TAC 10-1

TAC 10-2Here is a look at the green.

TAC 10-3Hole 11 – 449 yards – Par 4

This one is long, but downhill.  With a good drive the fairway bunker is in play, but there is plenty of room out there.  The second shot is back up the hill.

TAC 11-1

TAC 11-2The green slopes back to front and it perfect for a long iron shot that is running.  That seems typical of an old-style course that favors the ground game.

TAC 11-3Hole 12 – 363 yards – Par 4

The twelfth tee gives recognition to the people responsible for the course.

TAC 12-1This one is well up the hill and requires more firepower than you think.  The further left you go the more distance you will need.  Don’t underestimate this hole.

TAC 12-2

TAC 12-3

TAC 12-4You can see some of the campus skyline in the distance from behind the green.

TAC 12-5Hole 13 – 377 yards – Par 4

This is a tough hole with out of bounds all down the left.  The fairway cants hard to the right and will repel anything moving that way into the rough.  After all that you have an approach uphill to a difficult green to hit.

TAC 13-1

TAC 13-2If you miss to the right of the green you are faced with this tricky shot.

TAC 13-3A look at the narrow green complex.

TAC 13-4Hole 14 – 152 yards – Par 3

This short hole can be a devil.  The front bunkers shouldn’t be in play , but all the others are.  The green is narrow and doesn’t leave much room for error.  Also, with a slightly elevated tee you will need to focus on club selection.

TAC 14-1Hole 15 – 426 yards – Par 4

This one plays shorter than the yardage since it plays from such an elevated tee.  Avoid the bunkers and you are in great shape.

TAC 15-1The partially obscured green is seen below from the fairway and closer.

TAC 15-2

TAC 15-3Hole 16 – 430 yards – Par 4

This hole requires a solid shot to have a reasonable approach shot.  It plays uphill all the way, but there are only a few bunkers.

TAC 16-1

TAC 16-2The green has a serious false front, but once you get past that you can make some putts here.  Except of course for me!

TAC 16-3Hole 17 – 221 yards – Par 3

This hole was part of the original seven holes and as such is the oldest hole on the property.  I bet it was a real brute back in the day.  It definitely is today.  What you see it what you get.

TAC 17-1

TAC 17-2Hole 18 – 510 yards – Par 5

The last hole is a tester, but with some good shots you can have a birdie opportunity.  The trouble is all down the left side so err on the right.  The second shot is more of the same.

TAC 18-1

TAC 18-2Here is a look at the green from short and left.

TAC 18-3And from long and left.

TAC 18-4I wanted to give you a little feel for the clubhouse and the surrounding environs.  Below is your view when you get in from the parking lot.  This screams New England golf to me.

TAC - CLUBHOUSEThe locker room is quintessential old school.

TAC - LR 1

TAC - LR 2And the bar area is great with the dark woods and low ceilings.  This felt like a place straight out of the 50’s in a good way.

TAC - BARI didn’t know much about this course before I started this whole deal.  I am glad I looked into this and made it work out to play here.  The place is great and if you find yourself in the area you need to stop by.  It is quite open to the public with minimal restrictions.  The best deal you could get is to have a kid at Williams, then you would have a perfect excuse to go visit and tee it up!

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