McNeil to restore Park-designed USGA charter member club in Massachusetts


McNeil to restore Park-designed USGA charter member club in Massachusetts
Sean Dudley
By Adam Lawrence

Golf architect Robert McNeil has begun developing a long range comprehensive master restoration/renovation plan at the Milton Hoosic Club in Canton, Massachusetts.

Milton Hoosic was established in 1891, making it one of the oldest golf clubs in the US. Its design pedigree trace back to two-time Open champion Willie Park Jr, the designer of courses such as Sunningdale Old in England and Maidstone on Long Island.

“According to a club history Willie Park was engaged by the board of (at the time) Hoosic-Whisick in 1916 to redesign what was a very informal layout developed in 1897,” said McNeil. “The club was elected into the USGA in 1897 and to the Massachusetts Golf Association in 1903 making it one of the original 48 clubs and a charter member.”

The club history also describes Park’s design cutting through the pine forest to develop what are now holes six, seven and eight. The second, third and fourth were also redesigned and lengthened as directed by Park, though the redesign work took several years with a halt in construction during the First World War. The new holes – and the layout as it largely remains today – were reopened in 1921.

“It is evident that Park left an imprint at Milton Hoosic,” said McNeil. “His crossing hazards can be found on the fifth and seventh as well as a lost crossing bunker on the ninth that can be seen as recently as a 1969 photograph. The routing of the golf course takes on a very natural flow with seemingly little earthmoving, with green locations positioned so as to take advantage of the given topography. “

McNeil’s master plan will identify the value of the many historic elements either still part of the course or that have been lost. “The work includes bunker renovation and restoration, establishing a comprehensive tee programme to give the course maximum flexibility, a tree management programme, plus recontouring and expansion of greens and fairways to bring back the original strategic lines on the course,” he said.