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June 2018

Wellesley Country Club Carves Short Course from Vacant Space

By Steve Donahue

Never assume a vacant piece of land on your club’s property is useless.

Wellesley (Massachusetts) Country Club sought to build a par-3 course/short-game practice area on a mostly vacant, eight-acre parcel between two existing holes; but there were problems, including elevation change and proximity to adjacent wetlands in a protected watershed.

Despite the issues, the club hired architect Mark Mungeam, who created a putting green and six-hole par-3 Carriage Course, with holes 65 to 150 yards long. The design, which opened last July, utilizes rolling terrain and varied complex green designs to challenge players to make different shots they’d face on the club’s championship course.

“There are bunkers and uneven lies around the greens, which have a lot of slope, so it’s excellent for putting and chipping and so forth,” head golf professional Jeff Phillips says.

A phosphorous control plant was prepared to alleviate watershed impact concerns. All disturbances were kept at least 100 feet from wetlands.
 
Mungeam’s work earned Wellesley CC an American Society of Golf Course Architects Design Excellence Recognition Program honor.

“It’s been terrific and very well received,” Phillips says. “There are elevation changes. It’s great for new golfers, juniors and people looking to work on their short games. It takes an hour or less to play so with the time constraints people have these days it’s a great way to introduce the game to people, and for juniors it’s a great scale. They can have success over there and have their own little entity where they can make some pars and birdies. It’s a fun place to learn the game.”

Because the Carriage Course was new last year, Phillips says 2018 will be an interesting year.

“It’s a nice use of existing land,” he says. “We’ll use it for programming and for junior clinics. We have a fairly active membership, so it’s nice that if you have an event on your course and it’s too busy, you can have access at the Carriage Course for the juniors. Sometimes they don’t have access during prime times and now they can go over to the Carriage Course with their families on Saturday mornings where normally they can’t.”

Steve Donahue is a Connecticut-based freelance writer.

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