NORTH ATTLEBORO – The mission of Chemawa Golf Course is simple.
“If people think it’s fair, they’ll come back,” Chemawa owner Glen Burke was saying over the weekend. “A lot of older guys have said ‘I went somewhere and the rough was so high and thick that I was tired by the end of the round.’ [At Chemawa] you’re not going to be tired, you’re going to enjoy yourself.
“My thought is that when they come into the parking lot, they forget about their worries and enjoy themselves,” Burke added. “I think that’s true as based on the number of car doors and trunks that open.”
The design of the golf course is such that the first and second holes along with Nos. 7-18 are bunched together. Upon completing the second hole you’ll be required to cross Cushman Road, where holes 3-6 are located. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks as Chemawa puts the short in short golf courses, measuring 5,285 yards from the back tees. The middle tees bring it down to 4,914 yards and plays at 4,368 from the women’s tees.
Chemawa is either a par 68 or 69, a decision stemming from the finishing 18th hole, which can play as either a par 4 or 5. The course is perfect for startup golfers while presenting enough challenges through 18 interchangeable holes that you can drive away feeling like you’ve gotten your money’s worth.
The front nine features one par 5 – the seventh hole, a 445-yard tester from the back tees that is the No. 5 handicap hole on the course – and one par 3, No. 9. The No. 1 handicap hole is the sixth hole, a 312-yard (from the back) challenge in that there’s not much fairway to work with off the tee. Located to the right are woods, deemed out-of-bounds, while the left features a sloping hill that can have a direct impact on your second shot.
“They rate the sixth hole as the toughest, but I think the seventh is much more difficult,” said Burke.
The back nine plays two or three strokes fewer than the front side, where par is 36. The final nine holes offer a little bit of everything, from four par 3s to several holes that are short enough that long hitters can take full advantage of while those lacking power off the tee still have a shot to record par.
“They’re the same but they’re different,” explained Burke about the difference between the front and back nine. “The nice thing about both sides is that you can play all your clubs. It’s the full gamut. It’s not one style.”
You would have to search high and low to find bare spots as Chemawa is fabulously maintained during the summer months. With the holes so tightly configured, you’ll hear a lot of golfers scream “Fore!” if their tee shot goes awry and lands on another hole’s fairway. Those accurate with their irons should have no trouble when taking aim at the greens, which can sometimes play slow.
The popularity of Chemawa is evident in the 30-plus leagues Burke and his staff caters to. A tip to those not in a league: plan accordingly by either calling ahead (508-399-7330) or clicking on the “schedule a tee time” section on the course’s homepage, chemawagolf.com.
“People can come anytime on Monday and Wednesday before 3 p.m.,” said Burke. “It doesn’t matter.”
A special was recently introduced in which “four play, but three pay” on weekends after 12 p.m.
“We’re still a golf course that treats Friday like a weekday and not a weekend,” said Burke. “A lot of courses charge weekend rates, but we still think of Friday as a work day.”
Burke is proud of Chemawa’s October promotion, an idea geared toward drawing in business during the fall months. At Chemawa, $35 gets you 18 holes, a cart and lunch.
“Originally we were one of the few courses to do different promotions like that,” Burke noted. “A lot of people have looked at us in seeing how we operate, which means you’re doing something right.”