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PLYMOUTH, Massachusetts – Club historian Jed Moller said Plymouth Country Club is a course that gets more enjoyable each time you play it.
“It’s the kind of golf course you want to marry because its personality is going to unfold, and every time you play it, you learn a little bit more about it,” Moller artfully describes.
A Donald Ross design, the member-owned private club is a seaside gem with lightning-quick greens that vary in shape, plus rolling fairways and constantly shifting winds. Plymouth also has a variety of environments. The course starts with three holes along the coastline before taking players through the foothills of the area before reemerging by the water.
Much like its layout, the club is extending itself to do something new this year: host a state amateur championship. A talented field of 97 golfers representing over 60 Mass Golf Member Clubs will compete in the 118th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship, which will take place from August 9-13 at Plymouth Country Club.
“It’s great for the club,” said Mike Roy, Director of Operations at Plymouth Country Club. “We’re used to championship golf, and the membership loves to show off the course.”
Also new this year, the Championship will be contested over five days. The President’s Cup has been retired, meaning all competitors who qualify for match play will be seeded from 1 to 32 and compete in one bracket. The Osgood Memorial Cup will go to the Low Net score in the first two rounds of stroke play.
Live Scoring will be available during all rounds.
According to Moller, one of the best stretches on the course is holes 5-7, which accomplished golf course architect Tom Doak once called a ‘magnificent run’. The par-4, 5th (385-yards) features a punchbowl green that gives players options to play it short, run it up or play to the hole. The par-4 6th (290-yards) is a risk-reward hole with a small hillside green that’s protected by two pot bunkers and slopes severely back to front. And then there’s par-4 7th (320-yards) which features a turtleback/volcano green that has a back-to-front ridge that runs through the middle of the green.
“That’s a pretty beefy golf course,” said 2018 Women’s Amateur champion Shannon Johnson, after playing in the Hornblower Memorial Tournament at Plymouth this past June. “Not that it’ll play that much shorter [for the Women’s Amateur], but it’s always good to see that course a few times before the tournament starts.”
Since 2008, the club has undergone a long-term restoration plan under the guidance of Ian Andrew. With recent tree removal, the course has opened up more, allowing for healthier areas on the course, especially the greens.
“I think it’s come a long way, so people that maybe haven’t seen it in 3, 4 or 5 years are really going to be blown away by some of the some of the changes and how much we’ve opened up vistas and been able to show off the land and the contours,” Moller said. “The terrain is really special in that sense, where it gets pretty dramatic. And then by taking out the trees, we’re going to be able to show even more of it.”
The course has hosted a handful of Mass Golf events, starting with the Girls’ Junior Amateur back in 1958 and 1959. Most recently, the club hosted the 2018 Mid-Amateur Championship.
However, its biggest event is the annual Hornblower Memorial Tournament, which attracts top amateur talent throughout New England. The event is named after the course’s benefactor Henry Hornblower, a Boston stockbroker whose family founded the Plimoth Patuxet Museums. Hornblower donated much of the land for Plymouth CC to be built on and at one time owned the course. He was close friends with Donald Ross, and the two played golf together on April 1, 1941, the day Hornblower died.
Joanne Goodwin, one of the most accomplished players to come from Massachusetts, is a native of Plymouth and grew up playing at Plymouth Country Club. A member of the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame, Goodwin won the Mass Women’s Amateur four times but has never seen the Mass Women’s Amateur come to her home course. That’ll change next week as the top female players in the Bay State compete in the longest-running amateur championship in state history.
August 9 & 10 – Stroke Play (18-holes/day)
August 11 – Round of 32 (a.m.) and Round of 16 (p.m.)
August 12 – Quarterfinals (a.m.) and Semifinals (p.m.)
August 13 – Final Match (18-holes)
Included in this year’s field are six past champions, including the past three winners: Allison Paik (2020), Angela Garvin (2019), and Shannon Johnson (2018).
Defending champion Allison Paik (Cape Club of Sharon) is back in the field this year. Paik is the reigning Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Player of the Year and currently attends Columbia University. Last year, she finished T7 in stroke play but cruised through her match play opponents, never needing more than 15 holes to win a match.
This year, she has finished third in the Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy and T2 with Emily Nash in the Massachusetts Women’s Four-Ball Championship for the Townshend Cup. She also played in the Ladies National Golf Association Amateur at CC of St. Albans.
Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea Golf Club) has competed with some of the best talent in the state at Plymouth Country Club. She became the first woman in the 2000s to compete in the Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship and joined Jacquelyn Eleey in becoming the first women to compete in the Hornblower Memorial Tournament. Johnson, the reigning Anne Marie Tobin Mass Golf Women’s Player of the Year, made it to the quarterfinals last year.
This will also be a special year for Tracy Welch (Winchester Country Club), who won the title in 1998 and 2006. For the first time, she’ll be competing alongside her daughters Victoria Adams (Winchester Country Club) and Amanda Adams (Winchester Country Club) in the Women’s Amateur.
Among the favorites still seeking their first Mass Amateur title are Anne Walsh, Rebecca Skoler, Molly Smith, and Megan Buck.
Walsh (The Country Club), who was also an incoming Columbia University student entering last year’s Women’s Amateur, has been runner-up each of the past two years. While she hasn’t competed in much state amateur golf in the past year, her experience in getting through tough competition in match play can take her far.
Skoler (Pine Brook Country Club), who completed her first year at the University of Virginia, has made it to the semifinals each of the past two years but has fallen to Walsh both times. Skoler won the 2021 Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play Championship by a commanding 8 strokes and back in April made it to match play with Sophie Simon in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.
Smith (Vesper Country Club) is leading the Women’s Player of the Year race and has been on a roll lately. The 16-year-old Westford native ran away with the Ouimet Memorial Tournament title by 10 strokes, shooting 77-68-71–216. Smith was the only Mass Golf representative in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and competed alongside her sister Morgan Smith (Vesper Country Club).
Buck (Thorny Lea Golf Club), who was stroke play medalist last year, won the Women’s Four-Ball with Shannon Johnson and finished in the top 10 in the New England Amateur, Ouimet Memorial, and the Women’s Stroke Play Championship. She is currently second in the Women’s Player of the Year race.
Jennifer Shinpaugh won the last two women’s club championships at Plymouth and will represent her home club. The Weston native is currently enrolled in the Yale University MBA For Executives program and is expected to graduate in 2022.
The field also features over 30 players who are 18 years old and younger, many of whom receive their Mass Golf/USGA GHIN Handicap directly through the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). This partnership was founded recently to provide student-athletes with a path to get more involved in the sport. One of those players is Annie Dai, who won this year’s Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship.
The youngest player in the field is Lillian Guleserian, 14, of Blue Hill Country Club.
*NEW!*: Mass Golf will be adding articles, videos, and other content before and during the Mass Amateur on the Mass Golf Championship Central page.
All competitors in the field will compete in two 18-hole rounds over the first two days of competition. The low 32 scorers will advance to match play beginning Wednesday, August 11.
ELIGIBILITY: Entries are open to female amateur golfers who have an active Mass Golf/GHIN Handicap Index at any public, private, semi-private, municipal, or non-real estate Mass Golf member course/club not exceeding 18.0 (as determined by the July 22, 2021 Handicap Revision), or who have completed their handicap certification.
AWARDS: Stroke Play Medalist | Low Net Qualifier – Osgood Memorial Cup | Amateur Champion – Championship Bowl | Amateur Finalist – Curtis Memorial Trophy.
SPECTATORS AMENITIES: Admission throughout the event is FREE OF CHARGE for the general public. Restrooms are also available in the clubhouse and at any of the on-course restrooms.
PARKING: To limit the number of cars on-site, please carpool accordingly with any caddies, spectators, family members, etc.
FOLLOW ALONG: To help spectators and other individuals keep up with the action, starting times and live scoring links are always available on MassGolf.org through Golf Genius.
Starting Times (Round 1 & Round 2): CLICK HERE
Live Scoring: CLICK HERE
Plymouth Country Club will be set up at approximately 5,900 yards and will play to a par of 34-36-70.
PLYMOUTH COUNTRY CLUB HOLE BY HOLE