The Department of Conservation and Recreation invested in the improvements to the Canton, Mass., property, which was the first public golf course in the U.S. Construction began in 2014 and was completed in October of this year, and updates included improving drainage, installing storm water infrastructure and an irrigation system, and reconstructing all 18 tees.
On October 23, state and local officials and stakeholders gathered at Ponkapoag Golf Course, located within the Blue Hills State Reservation in Canton, Mass., to officially reopen the historic Course No. 1, the Canton (Mass.) Citizen reported.
Recently, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation invested over $5 million in improvements to the historic Donald Ross designed course to rehabilitate the holes that had been closed since 2003 due to flooding, the Citizen reported.
“As the country’s first public golf course, Ponkapoag Golf Course has played a historic role in expanding recreational opportunities for all citizens of the commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “With these improvements, the more than 60,000 annual visitors will be able to enjoy Course No. 1 as Donald Ross envisioned it in 1930.”
In 1925, the owners of the Redmond Farm in Canton commissioned the Donald Ross Golf Design Company to build nine golf holes, and then in 1930, construction began on an additional 18 holes. Ross designed 27 of the 36 holes at Ponkapoag in the 1920s and 1930s, which opened to the public in 1936. Nine more holes were added in 1956 that had been designed by Ross’s protégé, William Mitchell, the Citizen reported.
“The restoration of historic Course No. 1 at Ponkapoag Golf Course serves as an excellent example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s dedication to preserve unique and unparalleled recreational opportunities for all to enjoy,” said DCR Commissioner Carol Sanchez. “By pairing golf course improvements with habitat restoration, DCR has ensured that visitors will be able to enjoy Ponkapoag for generations to come.”
Construction on Course No. 1 began in April 2014 and was completed earlier this month. Golf course architect Brian Silva oversaw the restoration project and followed Ross’s original design as much as possible. Silva was guided by the golf course legend’s own handwritten notes from the late 1930s, the Citizen reported.
“The Ponkapoag Golf Course is a wonderful resource for residents. Not only is it affordable, but the effort by DCR to restore this historic course adds to its appeal,” said Representative William C. Galvin (D-Canton). “I am confident these numerous investments will attract experienced and novice players to Ponkapoag.”
Improvements to Ponkapoag’s Course No. 1 include: the removal of hazardous trees and invasive overgrowth; improvement of drainage, such as dredging of drainage swales and ditches; raised fairways; installation of new storm water infrastructure; construction of a new irrigation pond; installation of an automated irrigation system; reconstruction of all 18 tees, greens 3-8 and 11-13, and full reconstruction of holes 3, 7, 8, 12 and 14; and restoration and re-shaping of all bunkers, the Citizen reported.
Prior to the formal opening of Course No. 1, DCR’s Universal Access Program demonstrated adaptive golfing in partnership with the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Adaptive Sports Program. DCR’s Universal Access Program is dedicated to providing outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts State Parks for visitors of all abilities, the Citizen reported.
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