Final phase of Duxbury Yacht Club renovation to begin next month

  • Duxbury

    Construction work at Duxbury Yacht Club will begin next month

  • Duxbury

    Sanford Golf Design has overseen a 10-year master plan

  • Duxbury

    Sanford has studied old plans and adjusted bunker and tee placements accordingly

  • Duxbury

    The course is expected to reopen in summer 2020

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Renovation work will begin next month at Duxbury Yacht Club in Massachusetts, USA, the final phase of a master plan that was first developed by Sanford Golf Design in 2008.

The club was founded in 1875 and in the 1920s a nine-hole course designed by Wayne Stiles was built. It was renovated in 1951 under the guidance of William Mitchell and in 1969 the club hired Geoffrey Cornish to design an additional nine.

Randall Grills, head professional at Duxbury Yacht Club, says: “The critical elements at Duxbury Yacht Club golf course that require upgrading are clear. Bunkers have been lost over the years, which detracts from the strategic quality and aesthetics of the course. Tees have become narrow and unlevelled due to years of topdressing and wear; new tees should be added to stretch the course. Some trees should be removed to open up air circulation and light for proper turf growth.

“The general strategy and aesthetics of the original design have diminished over the past 50 years. All of these issues are common to private clubs after years of constant wear and tear with limited operating and capital investment.”

Duxbury turned to Sanford Golf Design to develop a master plan for the golf course in 2008. Following their recommendations, the club began work to improve drainage, expand greens and remove trees. Work continued over the next decade with renovations made to tees and bunkers.

Golf course architect John Sanford has a long-time connection to the club. “The project at Duxbury is a very special one for me. In the early 1960s my family lived in Duxbury and my dad played golf there during the baseball off season,” said Sanford. “Also, my original inspiration to be a golf course architect was from Bill Mitchell who was our neighbour in West Palm Beach, Florida.”

In 2018, Sanford Golf Design was retained to update the master plan.

“Our scope of work for this project is to restore all bunkers, new tees to accommodate all levels of play, redesign of some fairways, replace 25 acres of maintained turf with unirrigated native fescues, new carts paths where needed, expanded practice tee, and a new short game area,” said David Ferris of Sanford Golf Design.

“One of the primary objectives is to enhance the simplicity of our combined meadows and rolling landscape,” said Grills. “Keeping more to the original Stiles design of natural ridge lines and features that blend seamlessly into the West Campus landscape. There will be some lengthened holes, but not distance for distance’s sake, and many new forward tees to expand our composite yardage. All these changes are intended to provide a variety of fun and memorable holes that can be enjoyed by every demographic and skill level of golfer.”

NMP Golf Construction will be the contractor for the project, with On-Course Golf and National Lawn Sprinklers also involved.

“We are excited for golfers to see the course after we have completed the reshaping of several holes and have improved the aesthetics and strategy of the course,” said Ferris.

“Nine holes were originally designed by Wayne Stiles, and the old plans indicating strategy were studied, and bunker and tee placements adjusted accordingly. The nine holes added by Cornish have different character and part of the plan is to unify the bunker styles so that the Cornish holes complement the Stiles holes.”

Grills said: “Duxbury has tremendous potential to stand out as one of the best and most beautiful courses in New England. The course is a ‘core’ layout, meaning houses do not separate the holes from one another. Additionally, the gentle rolling topography, on the front nine adds interest and shot-making opportunities.

“There is a wonderful cover of trees at Duxbury. Subsequently, there is not much need for a large-scale planting program. The addition of native fescue grass in out of play areas will help create definition and colour contrast throughout the course. This is an inexpensive and effective way to improve aesthetics.”

The course is expected to reopen in summer 2020.