YARMOUTH, MA – Golf isn’t necessarily the best reason to visit Cape Cod, but with an impressive variety of 27 public and 15 private golf courses, the sport is gaining in popularity.
Well-manicured fairways and greens attract golfers to this sandy peninsula with roughly 600 miles of coastline and 130 beaches, as does the region’s mild climate, which often allows golfers the opportunity to play 52 weeks a year.
Some of the most widely renowned golf course architects have had a hand in sculpting Cape Cod’s golf landscape, including Bayberry Hills Golf Course in Yarmouth, Bass River Golf Course in Yarmouth, The Cape Club in Falmouth, Blue Rock Golf Course in Yarmouth, The Captains Golf Course (Starboard & Port) in Brewster, Dennis Pines and Dennis Highlands Golf Courses in Dennis, Miacomet Golf Course on Nantucket and Ocean Edge Golf Club & Resort in Brewster.
Golf aficionados will be pleased to know that Bayberry Hills GC, designed by the Geoffrey Cornish/Brian Silva team in 1988, just spent two-years and $2 million to renovate the property and the results are amazing.
The municipal course, owned by the Town of Yarmouth, engaged the services of Tim Gerrish, a former member of the Cornish/Silva team, to review, recommend and renovate changes that would make the par-72 nearly 7,300-yard course friendlier to the average golfer but, at the same time, maintain or enhance the challenge to the low handicapper.
“We are very happy with the results of the investment the Town of Yarmouth made to its golf program,” said Director of Golf Operations Jim Armentrout, at a ribbon-cutting, grand-reopening ceremony held over Memorial Day weekend. “Some bunkers have been replaced with closely mown collection areas, fairways have been widened and we cut down 3,000 trees that will definitely enhance the golfing experience for every player.”
“It was a two-year team effort and we are delighted by how well the course improvements came out,” added Armentrout, who was involved in the daily effort to make sure the project was completed on-time and under the $2 million budget. “We invite the public to book a tee time at Bayberry Hills and to play a real championship golf course, not just a course that calls itself a championship course. And, there is a difference.”
Embracing the Bob Jones/Alistair MacKenzie – Augusta National – design style, some bunkers have been renovated and re-positioned, while others have been replaced with closely mown collection areas, offering players options for green side recoveries. Some green surrounds have been expanded and rough areas in front of greens have been replaced by tightly mown fairways creating the illusion of false fronts.
Tim Gerrish expanded several approach areas in front of the greens offering players the opportunity to chip onto the greens without having to carry bunkers. High handicappers now have areas to “bail out” and chipping areas with slopes can add variety to your ground game, like maybe a bump-and-run option. In addition, new sustainable grass and topsoil were used to reduce fertilizer and water usage.
“I think players will enjoy the widened fairways and newly-tarred golf cart paths,” said head pro Keith MacArthur. “We also thinned out brush to allow for easier recovery shots where previously none existed. One of the most notable features that players are raving about is the removal of over 3,000 trees. We are proud of the outcome and welcome golfers of any ability to come out and enjoy the new course.”
Forward tees on four holes were added for more options to provide more user-friendly and more women-friendly options. Three tees were re-surfaced, including a new championship tee on the par-3 No. 3 that can stretching the par-72 course to nearly 7,300 yards.
Finally, the golf cart path system was totally revised which will eliminate wear and tear near the tee boxes and fairways. The goal is to provide quicker access to greens and tee, reducing pace of play.
“I never dreamed I would see Bayberry Hills turn into one of the best municipal golf facilities in the Northeast,” said Bob Quirk, a PGA Master Club Fitter and former Cape Cod teacher of the year. “Bayberry Hills already had a reputation as a must-play course and now it is that much better.”