I played an early morning round of golf on the Sunday of my Boston visit. It was another very hot day, so I was glad to start my round at 6:40 a.m.
I had done a Google search of the Newton area on Saturday and found a few courses. I chose Newton Commonwealth because it was quite nearby and looked like an inexpensive public municipal course.
Newton Commonwealth started in the late 1890s as a 9-hole course. by the 1920s, it was an 18-hole course and had been redesigned by the golf architect Donald Ross. In the 1970s, as the Chestnut Hill Country Club, the course got into financial trouble and was bought by the City of Newton to keep the land from development.
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The course is a par-70 that straddles a valley with a small stream running across it. The 18 holes take you up-hill, across the stream, through several undulations and along the edges of a hill then back down again before repeating the same twice on the second nine holes. There are several short but very tricky par-3 holes that feature steep drops to small greens. The distance is easy; the risks, though, are great.
I played with a young man named Jason, his brother Brad, and their friend Brit. Jason is a New Yorker who met and married a local girl and settled in Newton to raise a family. Brad and Brit still live in New York City and were up for a visit. They were nice young men and fun to play with.
I started the round with my usual self-deprecation and an appeal to their sense of humor. And, of course, immediately sent a modest but straight drive up the center of the fairway, pitched onto the green and two-putted for par. That undercut my warnings about the state of my play. So when I then played hole number two poorly, it made me feel that much worse.
In the end, I carded a 104. I had a few pars and a few modest blow-ups. It was great fun to play a brand new (to me) course. The courses around here are mostly quite flat; any hills must be added. So it is great fun to play a hilly course. And I enjoy meeting new people.