We admit it; sometimes we “egosurf” looking for mentions of The Captains on the internet. So it came as a very pleasant surprise when our old friend Google came up with a story on the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism’s website recognizing the courses as one of the top five public golf facilities in the state. We are the only one public golf facility on Cape Cod that features 36 holes, and both are on this short list of best golf courses on Cape Cod.
What makes The Captains special? First, there are two distinct championship layouts, each presenting unique challenges in a classic setting of tree-lined fairways, with subtle, undulating greens. Best of all, both courses offer uniquely designed holes that provide multiple options. At The Captains, you will rarely find one hole that looks like another.
You can choose between the Starboard Course, which includes eight of the original holes from when the facility opened in 1985, and the Port Course, featuring a collection of doglegs and outstanding par-5s.
The Starboard Course demands accuracy off the tee to avoid the ever-present pine trees, thoughtful approaches and the ability to work the ball in different directions.
The par-3 fifth hole of 213 yards is one of the most memorable on the course. A deep kettle hole and two bunkers guard the front of the green, with a bailout area to the right offering a safer option.
The par-5 seventh of 533 yards is reachable in two shots, but the approach must avoid bunkers to the left and large oak trees on the right.
The 371-yard 10th hole veers sharply to the right, and the elevated three-tiered green means you must land your ball in the correct spot for any hope of two-putting.
The par-3 second was considered the signature hole on the original course, which was blended into the new course in 1999. It plays 162 yards downhill (take one less club) to a green framed by bunkers.
Finally, there’s the monster 16th, a par-4 of 468 yards that requires accuracy and length. The tee shot is downhill, but the approach over a series of bunkers to a distant green is a white-knuckle experience.
The Port Course is defined by its par-5s, which are rated the first, second, fourth and fifth toughest on the course. All are superb tests.
The 531-yard 12th begins from an elevated tee, providing a nice view. Hit it long and you’ll get extra distance off a downslope. Beware of the bunker left of the green. The 18th is an outstanding finishing hole of 544 yards that bends gently to the right. Tee shots should be aimed to the left side for greater distance and a better view into the green.
The No. 1-ranked stroke hole is the treacherous 573-yard eighth, which demands accuracy off the tee, proper club selection on the second shot in order to land your ball on a plateau, and plenty of nerve on a downhill approach that is guarded by a large pond.
There are also a number of brilliant par-4s, beginning with the 407-yard second hole that plays longer to an elevated green. You’ll face another uphill approach at the 391-yard fourth, after which you’ll switch directions to a downhill 155-yard par-3 on which you absolutely, positively must not fly the green.
The 448-yard par-4 seventh will test your mettle. There is a steep drop-off to the left of the fairway and a cavernous bunker protecting the left side of the green.
The best hole on the Port Course might be the 371-yard 16th. The fairway begins bending to the right from the landing area to the green and tee shots must find the left side to see around the corner. A kettle hole lurks at the right side of the green, so don’t block your approach.
But many friendly matches at the Port Course are decided on the long 246-yard par-3 17th. Not only will you require a long iron or a wood, but you’ll also be hitting to the smallest green on either course.
Once your round of golf is completed, there is ample reason to linger for a beverage or a bite to eat. Freemans Grill, the on-site restaurant at The Captains, has a comfortable outdoor patio and a well-stocked restaurant. A short drive away is Brewster’s quaint downtown area dotted with historic inns, upscale dining, art galleries, shops, and clam shacks.
Or maybe just grab your golf bag and play 36. Unlike anywhere else on Cape Cod, you can take in another 18 on an entirely different golf course at The Captains.