Hampshire CC Upgrades the Member Experience

Investment in the golf course continues as future development plans are pushed into the distant future

Hampshire Country Club is back.  After closing for a year before the sale to current owner New World Realty, then suffering the depredations of superstorm Sandy, the Mamaroneck club has tackled course conditioning, upgraded the clubhouse, and supercharged the staff with the hiring of Hampton Golf to manage the property.  The investments have paid off with a host of new, young families as members and kudos from the long-timers who stuck with the club through its ups and downs.

“It’s been great to hear from the members about the quality of their experiences on the course,” says head pro Rob Sutton. “They are very happy about course conditions, which makes play increase. Signups for programs and events has grown as a result.  Guest play is up, too.”

The biggest improvement has come in course conditions, which are vastly better than they’ve ever been thanks to the tenacious work of course superintendent Scott Olson. 

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“Turf conditions have been improved steadily over the last three years,” Olson says. He and his crew has done a lot of work on the drainage system, especially on the fifth and sixth holes, which are low-lying in an area with a high water table. When it rained in the past, the holes could be unplayable for quite some time.  “We replaced the old clay drainage pipes with a new system that includes sump pumps,” Scott says. “Now, we can monitor the lake areas and get excess water out. That gave the turf a chance to dry out.” He adds that watering practices were changed too, and more drainage work is being completed this year.

“I’ve expanded a few of the greens back to what I believe were the original dimensions and been pretty aggressive with aerification to get the remaining salt out of them,” Olson explains. Most of this past summer, greens at Hampshire were smooth and fast — about 10.5 on the Stimpmeter.

“We’re leveling and realigning some of the tees to improve sight lines,” Olson adds. “Next spring, we’ll focus on the bunkers.  They still drain and perform well, but sand depth needs to be put back to what it should be.”

“Ownership is involved and committed to upgrades.” Points out general manager David Smith. “We have a lot of young families among the new club members and the husband, wife, and kids are all playing.”  New members want the family to get their money’s worth, he observes. “New members are looking for programs for the whole family. So, while the father is on the course, for example, we provide junior and ladies’ programs from 10 to 12.” A new assistant pro, Katy Decker, has helped build the ladies’ and junior golf programs.

“Afterwards, they all meet for lunch at the pool then stick around for Sunday dinner,” adds director of sales Dorothy Mourousiz. “We do a barbeque on the patio overlooking the Sound. It’s gorgeous.” In addition to work on the golf course, the clubhouse has been completely re-carpeted and the offseason will see some work in the locker rooms.

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What about the long-running legal issues stemming from the owner’s development plans? “The plans have been adjusted and the scope of the development is still a work in progress,” Smith points out. “It’s changed from a full course closure to develop homes to keeping nine holes and town homes with some single family homes. It’s yet to be determined.  It’s a long process. It could be years and years.”  In the meantime, play on the Devereux Emmet course gem continues.

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