Purple Hawk Country Club – Have Fun At Purple Hawk
By Brad Parrott
I arrived at Purple Hawk Country Club, a semi-private club in Cambridge, thinking about what seems to be a couple of the main initiatives in the golf industry. These two initiatives are, “tee it forward” and “pace of play.” These initiatives have a common theme, to make golf more enjoyable… the premise is for golfers to have fun and get more enjoyment out of the game! Coincidentally, that corresponds with Purple Hawk’s philosophy.
Having last played “The Hawk” a little more than 20 years ago, I couldn’t wait to get out on the course and see how it has matured after all these years. After choosing the proper tees to play (tee it forward), you will experience what I feel can make or break a whole round of golf; the first hole! The 1st hole at Purple Hawk is a great starting hole; a straightforward shorter par 4 with room on both sides of a good-sized fairway, allowing you to ease yourself into the round.
The 2nd hole starts to open up the “fair” (tough, but not too tough = fun) challenges you will face throughout your day. It is a short par 3, but there are bunkers to the left as well as water on the right. The 3rd through 6th holes route you through mature tree-lined fairways and introduces you to Long Lake on the west side of the course. The 7th hole brings you out along the north side of the course with out of bounds to the left and mature trees along the right side. The 8th hole brings you back setting you up for the finishing hole on the front nine.
The 9th hole gives you the opportunity to confirm how your game is going by offering a good amount of risk/reward. If you are hitting the ball well, bomb your drive down the left side of the fairway giving you the best opportunity to go for the very well protected green in two. If you’re not in the aggressive mood, there is nothing wrong with playing #9 as a true par five; still giving yourself the opportunity for a well respected par or even birdie.
Catching my breath at the turn, I noticed how peaceful it is at Purple Hawk. It is set in the country, surrounded by woods, and is missing what many city courses have – the neighboring housing development. Reflecting back on my outward 9, I thought of the quality of the greens. They are receptive, have break, and roll true. Again, back to the “fun” part of the golf game. I also noted the fairness of the course. Hitting an errant shot into the trees at Purple Hawk will penalize you by forcing you to punch the ball out back to the fairway, or try to keep one low and roll it towards the green. What it doesn’t do is swallow your ball requiring you to slow down and search for a lost ball (Pace of play and less frustration = fun.)
Holes 10 through 12 start your inward 9 with the mature tree lined fairways, bringing you to their signature hole, #13. Hole #13 is a beautiful, long par 3 that will test your long iron or hybrid accuracy. There is a large pond to the right that, when the pin is on the right side of the green, can make it seem impossible to clear the pond and hold the green. A shot to the left side of the green, no matter where the pin is, sets you up for a well deserved par.
The back nine continues with #14, an uphill par 5 that is difficult to reach the green in two. Hole #15 is a straight forward par 4 that brings you back to #16, a cute little par 3 that brings water in play (seems to be a theme here with the par 3s.) Hole #17 is a straight par 4 with a long green guarded by bunkers on the right side.
Hole #18 is a par five where you can make up a shot as well as bringing you back to reality as you’ll hear life outside the course, most likely for the first time. The finishing hole runs along the highway bringing in out of bounds as well as some occasional traffic noise.
Purple Hawk offers a well-equipped pro shop that carries everything you might need and PGA Pro Matt Grell offers lessons and fittings. To warm up, or fine-tune your game, Purple Hawk also has three separate practice areas that allow you to focus on different aspects of your game.
The restaurant is currently transitioning, but they still offer a full bar and bar food to curb your appetite or refill your energy reserves. The restaurant is also available to host parties, weddings, events, and golf outings with catering options.
If you are looking for a great all around day of golf, head north up Highway 65 to Cambridge. Purple Hawk is waiting for those looking to put a little FUN back in their game.