Consistent excellence has become a tradition in New England, from the fields of Foxboro to the hills of Bolton and, yes, even to the fresh clams pulled from the Atlantic to make chowder. The entire Boston area, in general, pulses with a particularly strong patriotic aura — there’s history plastered everywhere — boasting the legacies of national and local heroes from Paul Revere to Tom Brady.
The International sits a mere 40 miles from downtown Boston, well within the arterial flow of excellence stemming from the coast. What many deem New England’s premier golf resort features two championship golf courses, a championship restaurant and a 50-room championship lodge (they have a thing for championships around here).
The Pines golf course uniquely began as a small nine-hole routing back in 1901. It was expanded to 18 holes in the 1950s, and when Robert Trent Jones Sr. had finally finished his renovations in the early 1970s it had become America’s longest and most difficult course. Still right up there in both categories. Dan Weadock purchased the luxury resort from Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 1999 with plans to make it even more luxurious. “Bigger can be much better,” he figured, and immediately brought in Tom Fazio to build a new course — the Oaks — the first Fazio design in New England.
I asked Mr. Weadock if he’d ever played on Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The entire property has that vibe.
“You really need to add an 18-hole (par 54) short course here,” I said.
“I love the idea,” he replied.
“We just might have to do that.”
If only he’d let me design it! Dan is a man of passion and action, there’s no doubt there, and that’s what draws the celebrities, corporate outings and weekend-retreat minded folks out here in droves. That and the exceptional hospitality. Dan’s “meet the needs” philosophy opened a chef-showcase — the Fireplace Room — to the public in 2010. The perfect combination of high-end tastes and budget-friendly prices, the Fireplace Room produces popular items like the barbecue pizza that my kids claimed was one of their “five best meals of the year.” Seriously. When you put all the great pieces together, the comfortable and spacious lodging next door pairs with the restaurant and golf courses for some pretty spectacular stay and play packages.
While blending the Oaks front nine with the Pines back nine would probably create the best public accessible course in Massachusetts, it’s nonetheless comforting that there’s enough greatness to go around on this massive property. Consistent excellence, indeed!