DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware, is in progress with the construction of new practice facilities designed by Sanford Golf Design.
The club originated in the early 1900s, when chemical giant DuPont Company developed a sports complex for its employees. By the 1960s DuPont CC’s had over 10,000 members and expanded its golf to 54 holes. The club’s DuPont course, designed by Alfred Tull, hosted the LPGA Championship from 1987 to 2004.
By the late 2000s however, the LPGA Tour had left, and membership was in decline. In 2018, Ben duPont and Don Wirth purchased the three-course club, and part of their long-term vision was to create a unique golf practice complex that will help to grow the game.
“The new owners were looking to keep the facility a community amenity,” said Rob Wirth, CEO of DuPont Country Club. “This practice facility is a part of a larger overhaul to the club.”
The existing driving range is at the far end of the Nemours course, and requires members to drive there. For the new facility, Ferris has been working with the owners, staff, architects and engineers to repurpose 24 acres on the Monchanin course.
“The new practice facility will be conveniently located adjacent to the clubhouse and will feature a large practice range, 50 hitting stalls, a short game area that will also be used as a five-hole short course, a practice putting green, a putting course and a second practice tee and putting green at the far end of the range for clinics and youth camps,” said Sanford Golf Design's David Ferris. “The practice range is oriented on a slight incline, encompasses three of the old Monchanin golf holes, is over 15-acre in size and 250 yards wide. To bring a sense of scale and make it easier for golfers to visualise their shots, potions of the old hole corridors were preserved. There are also target greens that allow users to practice a variety of iron shots.”
Contractor George E. Ley Company began construction in January 2019. The club is working with irrigation designer The Pignato Group and building architect Rogers McCagg Architects, both of which worked with Sanford at Trump Golf Links Ferry Point in New York City. The project has also seen involvement from golf course superintendent John Klempa and engineering firm Duffield Associates.
“The hub of the facility will be a new 10,000-square-foot learning centre with indoor hitting stalls featuring TrackMan technology that allows golfers to practice virtually or open up the bay doors to hit shots out to the range,” said Ferris. “In addition, there will be a bar, small restaurant and an outdoor patio area that adjoins the putting green for patrons to socialise and enjoy views of the golf course.”
The club plans to open the new facilities in time for the American Junior Golf Association tournament which is being held there in early August.
“The immediate plan for the Monchanin course is to create a nine-hole executive course and three practice holes by rerouting the remaining holes,” said Ferris. “While not finalised, the owners plan is to redevelop the Monchanin course into an 18-hole par-three course.”