Following the two-year project led by Tim Gerrish, the property on Cape Cod in Yarmouth, Mass. now stretches to nearly 7,300 yards and features redesigned bunkers, widened playing corridors and enhanced greens surrounds. New grass species and native areas were introduced to greatly reduce fertilizer and water use and maintenance costs, and some 3,000 trees were removed.
Bayberry Hills Golf Course, a long-time favorite on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod and originally designed by the Cornish-Silva firm in 1988, has undergone a dramatic update.
The town of Yarmouth, Mass., engaged the services of Tim Gerrish, RLA, of Providence, R.I., a former member of the Cornish/Silva team, to take a long, hard look at the layout and recommend the kind of changes that would make the nearly 7,300-yard course more friendly to the average golfer but at the same time maintain or even enhance the course’s challenge to the low-handicap player.
“Player reaction has been uniformly positive,” said Bayberry GC’s Director of Golf Operations, Jim Armentrout about the project.
New, more-sustainable grass species, along with additional topsoil, were introduced through the project, to dramatically reduce fertilizer and water use as the renovated course is maintained. Gerrish also experimented with adding several “waste or native areas” of exposed sand on the course, to provide an additional feature not common on Cape courses and further reducing environmental impact of water, mowing and fertilizer use.
Fairway corridors have been widened and green surrounds have been expanded, and rough areas in front of greens have been replaced by tightly mown fairways, creating the illusion of false fronts in many cases. Tree lines were thinned, allowing for recovery shots where previously none existed. This feature, accomplished through the removal of more than 3,000 trees, now provides enhanced course playability, along with a vast improvement in aesthetics from the added panoramic course views.
Gerrish also expanded approaches and green surrounds, offering players opportunity to access areas of the greens without having to carry bunkers. For the less-aggressive or high-handicapper, areas to “bail out” and chip for par were created, with undulating terrain to add visual interest, but also to add variety and shot options to the ground game.
Bayberry GC’s par-3 12th now has a flowing sand area forming a dominating hazard for the better player while framing the hole for the less accomplished.
The part of the project that golfers will notice the most are the bunker changes. The original bunkers were re-built to reduce sand area while maintaining proper proportions and enhancing the original style. Some bunkers were renovated and re-positioned to enhance play options, while on other holes, bunkers have been replaced with closely mown collection areas, to provide the golfer multiple options for greenside recoveries.
Lining bunkers with pervious Capillary Concrete has enabled dramatic sand flashing while reducing bunker-face maintenance, especially after rain events. The lining has multiple advantages; along with minimizing contamination from adjacent soils, it helps to maintain the integrity of the bunker shape, while at the same time wicking moisture from the ground below, resulting in a firmly packed bunker surface for exceptional playability.
Forward teeing areas on four holes were added for more options in the course setup and to provide additional user-friendliness. Three tees were re-surfaced, including a new championship tee on No. 3, stretching the course to nearly 7,300 yards. In some cases, tees were located for better playability. In others, additional playing surface was added to provide varied play lines and more tee placements.
The cart path system was revised, eliminating a great deal of wear and tear from playing surfaces and resulting in significant improvement in playing conditions, green and tee access, thus reducing pace of play and the ability to allow play under adverse weather condition.