At 6,223 yards from the tips, the Seth Raynor-designed layout at Dedham Country & Polo Club is a little short, thanks largely to it having only two par fours in excess of 400 yards and one par five longer than 500 yards.
However, length is not a prerequisite for quality and in May 2018 the club completed a $6.5 million renovation project aimed at reclaiming its heritage as the only Seth Raynor-designed golf course in Massachusetts.
96 bunkers were rebuilt and reshaped, greens were rebuilt and relaid with bent grass and sub air systems installed. Numerous other infrastructure changes were also implemented, including the installation of a new irrigation system.
The hole names on the scorecard tell of the recent improvements here: Short, Knoll, Prize Dogleg, Maiden, Redan, Cape, Alps, Long, Eden, Lion’s Mouth, Biarritz, and Road. Seth Raynor’s template holes abound here. And many are quite nicely done.
A purist will, however, take exception to a few. The Road Hole does have road on the right, but it lacks the other classic attributes: pot bunker left of the green and anything to simulate the railroad sheds and the road right to the green. Other holes are Raynor on steroids. The 221 yard Biarritz is a complete renovation. My tee shot landed on the green, rolled toward the flagstick until it made an abrupt stop 15 feet from the hole. It turned out it has another Raynor feature—a thumbprint—that stopped my ball from being a certain ace. All the Biarritz holes I’m familiar with eschew this feature. Dedham’s Redan is the only one I’ve ever seen with a bunker directly between the tee and the green. And the Lion’s Mouth bunker is 3 times larger than any other I’ve played.
At 6187 yards, I suspect the intention was to toughen up some holes by making the green accessible only through the air. A better choice, in my view, would have been to create strategic options off the tee that would have challenged the low handicap player while creating less difficulty—and more fun—for the less skilled. The first few tee shots do have these characteristics, but from there on, a drive to one side of the fairway is generally as good as a drive to the other, i.e. holes 7-10, 13, 15 and 16.
These are small nits to pick. The five par 3s are outstanding. I hit 5 different clubs (ranging from driver to wedge) into them. The conditioning was quite good and most greens are nicely contoured, but not so heavily that today’s lower mower heights will render them too difficult. The club has done a fine job embracing its Raynor heritage, and the course shows it.
Great review, although you forgot to mentioned that at 6,300 yards it also packs a slope of 138.