MARION, Mass – The Kittansett Club will celebrate its 100th year in part by hosting the 68th U.S. Senior Amateur Championship Aug. 27-Sept. 1.
Designed in 1922 by William Flynn and Fredric Hood, the Kittansett Club is located at the end of Butler Point, which extends into Buzzards Bay, across from Cape Cod. Kittansett is named from two Native American words meaning “near the sea.”
“It’s the most exciting thing we’ve done in a long time,” Kittansett president Duncan Gratton said Thursday July 7 at the U.S. Senior Amateur media day at the club. “We’re thrilled. Other than giving up the golf course for 11 days at the end of August, which was a little bit of a challenge initially, everybody is all fired up about it now.”
Since the 1990s, designer Gil Hanse has led a renovation project that included the removal of hundreds of trees to restore the course to its original coastal links design. Hanse worked from original Flynn drawings discovered in a barn in Philadelphia in 2001, where they sat for more than 70 years unknown to the club. The course offers coastal holes and inland tree-lined holes.
The par-3 third hole could be the most scenic. The hole runs along the bay and the island green is completely surrounded by sand.
Gratton said Hanse told him Flynn’s original design for Kittansett called a links course along the water and a parkland course inland.
“We really have two golf courses here,” Gratton said. “We have what we call the holes on the point, which are 1, 2, 3, 4 and then 16, 17 and 18, which are completely surrounded by water. Then you go inland for a while for 6 through 14.”
Greg Sanfilippo, USGA Senior Amateur Championship director, said this year’s U.S. Senior Amateur drew a record 2,865 entries, 300 more than last year, and he attributed the increase to the location of the event. Nathaniel Crosby, the 1982 U.S. Amateur champion and captain of the U.S. Walker Cup teams in 2019 and 2021, is exempt and has registered to play. He is the son of the late movie star and singer Bing Crosby.
It will be the club’s second USGA championship and first since hosting the 1953 Walker Cup Match when the USA defeated Great Britain & Ireland, 9-3. The 10-man USA Team featured eight USGA champions, including future U.S. Open champions Gene Littler (1961) and Ken Venturi (1964) and future USGA president William C. Campbell. The club has also hosted several USGA qualifying events, most recently for the 2013 U.S. Senior Open.
The Kittansett Club has also hosted six Massachusetts Amateur championships (1958, 1978, 1990, 1999, 2008 and 2020) and six WGAM Edith Noblit Baker Trophy events (1954, 1979, 1989, 1995, 2005 and 2015).
The U.S. Senior Amateur is open to amateur golfers who have reached age 55 by the start of the championship and who have a Handicap Index not exceeding 7.4. The championship features 36 holes of stroke play before the field is cut to the low 64 scorers for match play.
A field of 156 golfers will play Kittansett at 6,632 yards to a par of 71. The wind is the true defense of the course.
“It’s different every day,” Gratton said, “and it can change during the day.”
Admission is free and spectators are encouraged to attend. Parking at the club is limited so most players and fans will be shuttled in from a boat yard four-miles away.
The U.S. Senior Amateur has been held in Massachusetts three previous times. Michael Cestone won at Oyster Harbors Club in Osterville in 1960. Dale Morey won at Salem CC in Peabody in 1977 and O. Gordon Brewer won at Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown in 1996.
This will be the 60th USGA championship contested in Massachusetts, which most recently hosted the U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, won by Matthew Fitzpatrick of Great Britain. Fitzpatrick also won the 2013 U.S. Amateur at TCC. Flynn designed the nine-hole Primrose Course at TCC and a few of those were used for the U.S. Open this year.
The Captains GC in Brewster will host a U.S. Senior Amateur qualifier on July 18 and Charles River CC in Newton will host one on July 25.