SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -- While they unload their clubs from a cart in the parking lot of Blue Rock Golf Resort, the Stromski boys are all smiles.
Mike Stromski, of Melrose, has just finished a round on the 18-hole, 2,868-yard executive course at Blue Rock with his sons, Matt, 17, and Steve, 13. Staying and playing at Blue Rock is a fun family tradition every summer.
"We have come here once a year for many years," Mike said. "It is one of my favorite weekends of the year. I like the course. The food is good. I can't say enough good things about the place."
Blue Rock might be lacking some of the amenities of Cape Cod's larger, fancier golf resorts -- the championship course, the spa, the beach -- but it has a way of seducing guests into a relaxed state of mind.
Blue Rock Golf Course Head Golf Professional Pat Fannon said its quiet location in the mid-Cape sets the mood for a nice escape.
"With the resort, it is off the beaten trail," Fannon said. "It is on a unique par-3 course. ... You are away from the hustle and bustle of in-season traffic. With the other (affiliated) resorts (nearby), you can get the Cape Cod beach experience and not worry about the crowds (while you're here)."
Blue Rock: The resort
Blue Rock offers the down-home charm that bigger big-box resorts just can't replicate. It's the kind of place where you'll see the same staff members every morning at the restaurant or the golf shop. After a day, they'll remember your name and how you like your coffee.
The 44 rooms are comfortable and clean. A heated outdoor pool is just steps from any of the accommodations. The Grill Room Restaurant next to the pool serves quality food for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, there are dozens of good restaurants within 10 miles for a night out on the town.
The best part about staying at Blue Rock is the access to a private beach without having to pay oceanfront prices. Blue Rock guests may visit several nearby beach-front properties also owned by Red Jacket Resorts, including Red Jacket Beach Resort and Riviera Beach Resort. Their beautiful beaches on the Nantucket Sound are worth a day trip on a sunny afternoon. These resorts also offer more kid-friendly activities, nature programs and a supervised kids club for parents who need some down time.
Blue Rock: The course
Blue Rock Golf Course, designed in 1962 by Geoffrey Cornish, serves as the perfect alternative to a full championship layout.
The first three holes require simple wedge shots as a warm-up for the fourth tee shot over water. The routing stretches to 255 yards on the fifth hole. Most holes on the back nine are a stout 150 to 200 yards long. The ninth and 18th holes return to the clubhouse by playing over the river. They're as challenging as they are scenic.
"It's very nice and well maintained," Matt Stromski said. "They keep improving it every year, adding new tees. There is one hole that is 250 yards. That's a par 4 to us. A couple of the water holes are very tough."
Fannon said the course finds the right balance between forgiving and challenging.
"New golfers will not be overwhelmed. You hit some mediocre shots and end up okay," he said. "A real good player expects to make a lot of birdies and tear it up, but that is not the case. We used to have the Cape Cod Open (here). Related to par, we were the most difficult course.