By Jim Hammond
KILLINGTON, Vermont – Have you been thinking about booking a “stay-and-play” golf vacation that might be a two-hour drive, offering good rates and wonderful golf courses?
Then read on, since the village of Killington, located in central Vermont at the southern tip of Green Mountain National Forest, with all its amenities could be what you’re looking for.
Vermont is known for moose, maple syrup and mountains that in the Fall showcase some of the best foliage in the world. But Vermont does not get credit for the championship golf courses that are available to tourists looking for country charm and covered bridges.
Avid skiers come to Killington where seven mountains connect to offer 213 trails. And, across the street is the Geoffrey Cornish designed Killington Golf Course.
Killington, Vermont is best known for skiing vacations but from May – October two golf courses – Killington Golf Course and Green Mountain National – are becoming favorite drive-to destinations for New England golfers.
The cart attendant was putting my bag on the cart and saw me looking at the mountain. He said, “You know the base is so deep on the mountain that you can ski in the morning and cross the street and play 18 holes in the afternoon. And, I am talking in the month of May.” Now that is a workout.
Killington Golf Course may only play 6,168 yards from the tips, but tight fairways, blind shots and major elevation changes make for a formidable challenge. Hole No. 1 is 368 yards from the tips and is straight downhill to a small green. The fairway is tight and the rough is thick, so I would suggest a 3 or 4 metal for your opening shot to keep the ball in the short grass.
Hole No. 2 is 510 yards from the blue tees, and the green is protected by a stream that is surrounded by boulders. Lay up on your second shot and flip a wedge onto the green which can set you up for a birdie.
The 286-yard par-4 ninth is an example of the dramatic elevation on this mountain course. You can tee off with a long iron to the fairway, but the approach shot is to a green that is perched high on a hill and barely visible from the fairway.
The scenery here is impressive, almost picture postcard perfect, and the staff are attentive. I look forward to coming back in September to enjoy the cool weather and the foliage that will cover the mountains.
While visiting Killington on one of its many “stay-and-play” packages, expect to tee it up at Green Mountain National Golf Course. It is a public golf course but is as pristine and well-conditioned as any private golf course you will play.
Green Mountain National is an incredibly challenging track playing 6,589 yards from the tips. Towering pine trees frame many fairways, and you need to plan your tee shots carefully if you have any hope of scoring well. Located just a few minutes away from Killington Ski Resort in the heart of Vermont, Green Mountain National is New England golf at its very best, and has been voted “Vermont’s #1 Public Course” by Golf Digest & Golf Week magazine.
The greens are quick, and like many mountain courses you have to be comfortable with sidehill lies on the fairway and expect elevated greens. After a few holes you will see why Green Mountain National is rated one of the top public courses in Vermont.
Hole No. 3 is a par-4 that plays 400 yards, and has a pond guarding the green. The par 5 sixth hole has a split fairway. If you hit a monster drive to the right side of the fairway it is possible to reach the green in two shots.
The course is fun and challenging, so get there early and warm up at their driving range. You’ll find grass tees and an enormous practice putting green to fine tune your game.
Vermont is a beautiful state and Killington is home to friendly people, and two of the most scenic courses you can play.