Good times await both new and experienced golfers at Inness, the radical nine-hole golf course at the Hudson Valley resort and club of that name in Accord. Newbies will relish the relaxed vibe and fun, casual approach to the game while more serious golfers will find it a great place to sharpen their shot-making skills, especially around the green.
“We’re going after a relaxed vibe,” says Inness head pro Jeff Massa. “No dress code, dogs on a leash are welcome, and if your significant other doesn’t want to play but just to walk along and enjoy the experience, we love to have them.”
Those who have played golf on local courses off the British Open-rota track in the UK will recognize the vibe. From the welcoming staff in the cozy pro shop/snack bar to the casual lineup at the first tee, the atmosphere is anything but stuffy, the golf nothing but a day to be enjoyed on the links. The golf course at Inness is one of those very rare places where keeping score is optional, but having fun with friends and family is guaranteed as long as you remember golf is a game, not a crusade to save the free world. Sure, you can play serious golf at Inness, but be prepared for a few laughs along the way.
Risk-taking architect King Collins, known for his norm-shattering creation of Sweeten’s Cove in Tennessee, designed and built the course combining treasured features of traditional design with a few extreme modern elements. Fairways are generous, with adjacent ones often shared to make them exceptionally forgiving for golfers who are directionally-impaired—or who desire to create their own path to the green. There are just enough fairway bunkers and water hazards to keep you focused. Length off the tee is good, but not crucial, with only one par-four measuring over 400 yards from the tips.
Four sets of tees stretch the course from 4,652 to 6,722 yards for a double loop. Going around the nine holes twice isn’t repetitive; the greens are so large you play to two different flags on each, providing completely different approach angles and distances. By the way, don’t feel obligated to play the prescribed routing. If you think it would be fun to play from the third tee to the first green, feel free so long as there are no other golfers in the way.
Where things get really interesting are at the green complexes, which are like none other in the entire metro area, perhaps anywhere. The putting surfaces are massive in width, depth, and—most importantly—contours. It’s no exaggeration to say that you could face a 120-foot putt that breaks seven times in three directions as it roles up, over, and around four humps that rise and fall six feet before finding the cup. A 10-foot putt could easily have five feet of break. A three-footer that lips out could end up off the green. Greens role true but are kept in the 9-10 range on the Stimpmeter to accommodate the strong contours.
Massa points out, “It’s not your normal, traditional parkland course. If you are a bomber, you may not find the course as scoreable as you think. Knowing the green complexes is key, and you need patience. I tell our junior players, if you can score well here, you’re going to go to some of the more traditional courses with flatter greens and you will eat them up.”
Walking the course is encouraged, although golf carts are available. Other amenities at the course include a driving range, expansive practice green, retail shop, and bar serving beverages and light snacks. PGA professionals provide lessons, and memberships are available along with daily fee play.
The Inness golf course is part of an intimate resort and members club that opened in 2021. It includes 40 rooms in 28 cabins and a 12-room farmhouse, a restaurant and lounge, a sports outfitter, swimming pools, tennis, hiking trails, an events barn, and a three-acre organic farm. Ground has been broken for a wellness center set to open in spring 2024. The development was founded and is operated by restaurateur and architect Taavo Somer in partnership with Post Company, CBSK Ironstate, and Lee Pollock.