Life is so much richer for the one day each year when we’re not only permitted but encouraged to indulge on calories, carbs and cranberry sauce. Here are four public-access tracks that best celebrate one of our favorite holidays.
Pilgrim’s Run Pierson, Mich.
Those who make the pilgrimage 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids are rewarded with this tranquil, rolling, par-73 design by Kris Schumacker and Mike DeVries that zigzags through oaks and pines. DeVries is a lifelong Alister MacKenzie fan, as evidenced by the bold, jagged-edge bunkering that’s reminiscent of the MacKenzie style. Forbidding hole names, such as “Bottomless Pit” (the 225-yard, par-3 seventh) and “Giant Despair” (the 548-yard, par-5 11th) add character. Turkey Sandwich price: $5.25
Pinehills Plymouth, Mass.
Plymouth introduced America to Thanksgiving in 1621, and nearly 400 years later we give thanks to its two finest public-access tracks, Pinehills’ Rees Jones and Jack Nicklaus II courses. Low sand dunes and pine-accented scrub dominate the Jones layout, notably at the downhill 15th. The Nicklaus track is wider and more forgiving around the greens, but sports a rugged, watery par-4 closer. Turkey Sandwich price: $11
The Golf Club at Thanksgiving Point Lehi, Utah
This scenic 7,714-yard brute is a Johnny Miller creation that enjoys a mountain/desert setting 30 minutes south of Salt Lake City. Imaginatively contoured greens make putting an adventure, although the botanical gardens next door offer colorful comfort. Turkey Sandwich price: $8.25
Wild Turkey at Crystal Springs Resort Sussex County, N.J.
Crystal Springs Resort trots out a fistful of terrific tracks, including the festively named Wild Turkey. Thanks are given by those who handle the daunting forced carry over a water-filled rock quarry at the 208-yard, par-3 seventh. Mountain vistas, elevation change and two back-nine par 5s that run 630-650 yards will linger long in memory. Turkey Sandwich price: $15