Repairs to golf course close country club

by Lucia McGloin | 10/28/14 5:11pm

10.29.14.news_.golfcourse_Danny-Kim
Despite the recent rainy weather, the course renovations are set to be finished by late November or early December.
Source: Danny Kim

Drainage problems and a fairway upgrade caused the Hanover Country Club to end the golf season early, closing Oct. 5 to accommodate multiple renovation projects, said athletics director for facilities and operations Richard Whitmore, who is overseeing construction. The renovations will conclude by late November or early December, before the ground freezes.

The College set a renovation budget of several hundred thousand dollars to upgrade the course, associate real estate director Tim McNamara said.

The golf course has not had any major renovations since 2001, Whitmore said.

The first section of renovations is in front of the clubhouse on the first and second holes. The project will add additional drainage, build a retaining wall, and level both fairways.

The drainage projects will help eliminate water accumulation on the course, Whitmore said. When water pools, the conditions for growing grass worsen, affecting the course fairways.

Men’s golf coach Richard Parker and members of the golf team said drainage on the second hole needs improvement.

“There is a swamp down there. It takes forever for people to look for their balls,” Parker said.

Sean Fahey ’17, a golfer for the Big Green, said that the wetland area near the second hole’s fairway was “unplayable.”

Renovations will repair and extend the existing drainage networks at four other connected holes, McNamara said. Conditions at these fairways are fairly wet, making it difficult to accommodate golf carts after rainstorms.

McNamara said new drainage will get golf carts and golfers back on course more quickly.

Construction on the 13th hole will fix a ground water issue that has caused erosion on the right side of the fairway, Whitmore said.

Erosion of a steep gully on the course deposits sediment into Girl Brook, which winds through Pine Park, McNamara said.

Renovations will update the club’s practice area, Whitmore said, creating a grass practice tee and incorporating a short game area, he said.

The new practice space is a “huge deal for Dartmouth,” Parker said.

Two contractors, United Construction and Wanner Excavation, will assist the club’s in-house crew with construction, McNamara said.

Whitmore said that with the recent warm weather, golfers were disappointed by the early close. But in the long term, he added, the club’s patrons will benefit from the renovations.

“With only seven months to play, every day is precious,” Parker said. “There is no good time to fix a golf course, but in the end it will be worth it.”

Fahey said that though the early close was initially disappointing, Lake Sunapee Golf Club and the Quechee Club invited the team to play on their courses, providing a “nice change of pace.” The men’s golf team’s season ended Oct. 12, and the women’s ended Oct. 18.

The recent rain has delayed construction but “not disastrously,” McNamara said. While the renovation schedule includes extra time to accommodate weather delays, he said he hopes that the weather will improve and construction will finish on time.

The club is a College-owned, semi-private club open for public play. The 18-hole championship course is home to the men’s and women’s Dartmouth golf teams.