If you’re like me, you might not have known that Chappy has a golf course, but it does. The Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links actually dates back to 1887. Quite the history, yet it has remained a hidden gem on the little island.
Brad Woodger, whose family has owned the course for 120 years, met me at the ferry on the Chappy side in a fabulous, vintage VW bus.
Brad himself looks casual, yet dapper, and was happy to share delightful Chappy facts as we made our way to North Neck Road.
A bonus when playing at this course is that they pick you and your clubs up, at the On Time, so there’s no ferry lines or delay.
Brad bought the course from his family in 2008, renovated it, and increased the course to nine holes.
North Neck Road is a winding dirt road, that in and of itself, is fun to drive down. Suddenly, there is a break in the trees and you see the water straight ahead, and a golf course to the left and right. The view is just stunning.
We made our way to the Crow Bar, which is the club house. There I was greeted by Brad’s brother, Kent, his dog Fritz, and Annie, who helps part-time during the Summer.
Kent and Annie were so warm and welcoming, I got a tour of the club house which has everything you need for golfing, including some fun items to buy, drinks, golf balls, towels, and more.
The view on the back of the Crow Bar is just mesmerizing. You’re surrounded by beauty and nature and a tranquility. It really feels quite special.
Now I myself am not a golfer, so it was nice to be able to talk shop a bit with one of the members. Mike, from Texas, loves to play this course.
Mike who is a serious golfer said that the course is good for short irons and putting. You have to be accurate with your swing here, it demands an accurate second shot (I have no idea what that means).
He also said that the set-up is great, a wide fairway, and not a lot of divots because the ground is firm.
Holes 4 and 7 require concentration. They’re challenging, and the view can be distracting because it is so beautiful. Actually, the whole course is beautiful.
Also, I should mention that Brad keeps the greens pristine but surrounding these areas, he has let nature put its stamp. The sedges and fescue are natural. Brad works with the landscape, creating a serene, inviting course.
I was so glad to be able to get some golf facts, since this is a golf course, but in addition to what Mike told me, there are a number of other bonuses about The Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links.
You can bring a cooler packed with stuff for the grill, make a whole afternoon of it. There are beers in the fridge, wifi if you have to do a little work, and the deck is perfect for watching the day go by (enjoying a million dollar plus view) after a round or two of golf.
Brad let me take a tour, using one of their golf carts. Now for those who know me, I am a big fan of driving golf carts. So, driving around this magical course was a really fun way to spend my time while working.
There really is something special about it. I don’t know if it’s the secluded location, the view, the beauty of the course itself, the people who work there or what — but I was smitten.
You could tell that this place means a lot to people, not just the people who work there, but to the members and the families who make this a part of their Summer experience through the decades.
The Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links is not open to the public, but you can get a weekly membership which includes unlimited play for $150 a week. A yearly membership is $1,000.00, both of which seem really affordable.
An added bonus is that it is family-friendly and there are lots of fun things that they offer, like a Ladies Golf League and skirmishes.
At this time, the course is relatively unknown. Most people hear about it from word of mouth, as Annie says, “That’s the Chappy way.” Back in the day, Brad’s grandparents wanted to keep quiet about the place because of the whole Kennedy and the bridge on Chappy situation back in the 1960’s. So, it’s really been kept out of the limelight.
However, I think this place is going to become more popular. Once you visit, it sort of stays with you. Also, Brad is working with a number of the hotels in Edgartown in creating packages for guests that golf.
He’s also working with Point B Realty and our rental customers who like to golf (call us if you’re interested). The Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links definitely gives you an experience unlike any other golf course and is unique in every way.
Brad’s great grandfather travelled by backpack through Great Britain and came back to the Vineyard. He created what is now The Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links back at the turn of the 19th century.
From 1955 to 2000, the course was called the Island Ball Watchers Society. I think it’s a good thing that the name was switched back.
The crow mascot, Sir Reginald, is relatively new, introduced by Brad. There is a crow statue that has been in the family for years that served as the inspiration. I love the crow logo. It’s handsome but has a touch of whimsy to it. You’ll see me sporting my Vineyard Vines Sir Reginald baseball hat.
As I mentioned, The Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links is not open to the public. However, if you had to visit and play a round of golf, chances are Brad could make some magic.
What a great little getaway, a change of pace. Send the boys over on the ferry and Brad will pick them up, you and your friends shop and enjoy cocktails in Edgartown. Everyone is happy and vacation is more enjoyable. That’s just one possible scenario.
Remember, you can play the 9 holes more than once, and it’s nice to get lost in the magic of Chappy.
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