As the story goes, a group of businessmen wanted to have their own place to golf, and in 1901 established the Portsmouth Country Club. The original nine-hole course was built in five weeks and the businessmen were golfing.
Nine more holes were added 32 years later, but in the 1950s, the U.S. Government decided to build a bomber base in New Hampshire. They took the golf course property under "eminent domain,'' and the course was forced to find a new location.
New property was purchased and legendary golf course architect Robert Trent Jones was brought in to lay out an 18-hole course, which eventually opened for play in 1957. The new "Portsmouth'' course is designed to play similar to Scottish links-style courses, and features a good variety of challenging holes. Like those Scottish courses, wind is often a factor on the course, which has been called a "fabulous oceanside course.''
Located in the Seacoast region of New Hampshire, the course plays along Great Bay for many of its holes. The fairways are wide, but most holes require a tee shot from out of a chute. Water hazards come into play on five of the holes.
The 18-hole, par-72 course plays to 7,050 yards from its longest tees, with a USGA rating of 74.1 and a slope rating of 127 on Bent grass. It's been said that it's difficult to pick out a "best'' or "most scenic'' hole, but No. 4 always gets some consideration. This par-5 plays to only 494 yards from the longest tees, but ranks as the #1-handicap hole on the course.
The most scenic hole on the course, as rated by a poll of club members, is said to be No. 14. This par-5 plays to 490 yards from the Gold tees and features a dogleg left with about 220 yards left to the green. For most players, the second shot will play over the corner of the marsh that surrounds Great Bay to a green protected by sand traps right and left and water on three sides.
Throughout its long history, Portsmouth Golf Club has received a number of accolades, including Golf Digest ranking it the 4th-Best Course in New Hampshire.
Practice facilities include a driving range, along with chipping and putting areas. There's also a green (old alternate No. 18), which can be used to practice chipping and sand bunker shots.
Portsmouth also features a new clubhouse that opened in 1998, with dining available at The Clipper Lounge.