- Golfer Benefits
SOUTH HADLEY, Massachusetts — The Orchards Golf Club may be the only course in Massachusetts built specifically with women’s golf in mind. In 1922, Joseph A. Skinner decided to build a golf course as an opportune place for his daughter, Elisabeth Skinner, and Mount Holyoke College students to develop their golf skills.
He spared no expense, hiring legendary architect Donald Ross to build it in 1922 on land that was formerly lined with apple orchards, hence the name. Skinner donated the course to Mt. Holyoke College, an all women’s college, which operated it from 1941-1999. CBIGG Golf Management Company now operates it.
Flash forward to 2022, and it seems only fitting then that the club will host the 119th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship as part of its centennial celebration. The Massachusetts Women’s Amateur, the longest-running Mass Golf championship, will take place August 15-19, starting with 36 holes of stroke play qualifying for one of 32 match play spots.
This year’s field includes a mix of accomplished junior golfers, talented collegians, successful mid-amateur, and seniors standouts.
The Orchards has hosted the Women’s Amateur once previously in 1995 when Anne Marie Tobin won her fifth consecutive title. Its hosting of the 1987 USGA Junior Girls Championship, the 1993 National Golf Coaches Association Division II and III National Championship, and the 2002 NCAA Division III Women’s National Championship, set the stage for its biggest event to date: The 2004 U.S. Women’s Open. In that championship, Natick-born Meg Mallon won the title, needing just 24 putts en route to shooting a 6-under-par 65 in the final round.
“Women’s history specifically with golf is so strong with the club,” said Chris Tallman, the general manager at The Orchards. “When we first heard of the opportunity to host the 119th Mass Women’s Amateur Championship, it was exciting for us because it’s one of the top women’s events in the state. We’re certainly honored and excited to be able to host the top players in our area.”
In recent years, The Orchards has undergone a series of renovations, including a large-scale removal of aged and diseased red pine trees. Tallman estimates that 10,000 have been removed this year alone, and it’s starting to show off this year with course conditions.
“This year, we’re starting to see the benefits with more sunlight and airflow,” Tallman said. “Areas we have removed, we’re seeing regeneration of growth, playability, and aesthetics.” (Video below)
Tallman added that the club is proud that today’s course still has the original Ross layout and features, including bunkering with grass faces and the way the subtle fairways wind through the trees. Like most places this year, courses conditions have been fast and firm leading up into the championship. Tallman said the putting greens will be the strongest defense of the course and that positioning with approach shots will be key.
“The greens are the best I’ve seen,” said Tallman, who predicted they should be rolling about 11.5 on the Stimpmeter (depending on the weather). “The greens are classic Donald Ross, slopped back-to-front, elevated greens. There’s not many straight putts on this golf course, so the woman who wins this event is the one who will putt the best this week.”
August 15 & 16 – Stroke Play (18-holes/day)
August 17 – Round of 32 (a.m.) and Round of 16 (p.m.)
August 18 – Quarterfinals (a.m.) and Semifinals (p.m.)
August 19 – Final Match (18-holes)
Included in this year’s field are six past champions, including the past three winners: Catie Schernecker (2021), Allison Paik (2020) and Angela Garvin (2019).
Garvin, a rising senior at the University of Maryland, knows The Orchards the best among them being a native of nearby Feeding Hills, a village of Agawam. Garvin was invited to play the course when it hosted the Western Mass Open in 2020, playing the course from the championship tees (6,527 yards). Playing her practice round Tuesday, she said many holes play much differently when playing it from about 6,000 yards. Still, she’s hoping to make another run to the title like three years ago.
“It’s awesome because a lot of the championships like this don’t come this way,” said Garvin, who won the Hartford Women’s Open for the second time last month. “Being able to stay home the whole week is great.”
Garvin has also shifted her focus to managing the game and shaping the ball, which she hopes will help attack the course more efficiently.
“You have to be aware of the layout of the greens,” she said of The Orchards layout. “There’s a lot of false fronts and table top greens. Off the tee isn’t too bad, it’s really hitting into the greens in the right spots.”
Defending champion Catie Schernecker is back in the field this year, coming off her victory in the Ouimet Memorial Tournament two weeks ago. The rising sophomore at Harvard University earned her first statewide victory in 2021 when she won the Mass Women’s Amateur title at Plymouth Country Club. She’ll try to be the first person to win the Ouimet and the Mass Women’s Amateur in the same year. Isabel Southard is the last person to win back-to-back titles (2014, 2015).
Ryley Regan, 11, will not only be the youngest player in the field, but the sole Orchards member. She is competing in this week’s U.S. Kids World Championship in Pinehurst this week.
“Ryley is so passionate about golf,” Tallman said. “She is out here practicing everyday, and loves the game, and has so many dreams. To be able to have her go out there and compete in this event is truly special.”
Longmeadow’s Annie Dai (MIAA), who won the 2021 Mass Girls’ Junior Amateur at The Orchards, is among a handful of representatives from Western Massachusetts. This list includes Springfield’s Jaelyn Deboise (Springfield Country Club), a Stonehill College commit; Pelham’s Anna Casagrande, whose father Jim owns Northampton Country Club; and Feeding Hills’ Alia Godek (Agawam Municipal Golf Course), a Franklin Pierce University senior.
Elsewhere, all three siblings from Westford — Morgan Smith, Molly Smith and Maddie Smith — are in the field. With Maddie joining in this year, it’s the first time the entire trio is competing all together in a Mass Golf championship event.
A collection of notable players in the 2022 Mass Women’s Amateur:
MOLLY SMITH, 17, a Westford native and member of Vesper Country Club, brings an accomplished resume to the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur that includes multiple appearances in USGA® Championships, including this year’s Women’s Amateur at Chambers Bay, and Mass Golf events. Smith finished fourth in the Women’s Division at the Ouimet Memorial Tournament last month and tied for third at the New England Women’s Amateur Championship in June. Smith was the first alternate in qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open and was an alternate for the Massachusetts Amateur Championship, which featured an all-male field.
EMMA ABRAMSON, 16, a Sandwich native and member of The Ridge Club, will head to the championship after playing in her first U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. The rising junior at Sandwich High School also won her first title at the Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship Powered by KOHR Golf earlier this month. In June, Abramson placed third at the Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy and finished second at the MIAA Girls’ State Team and Individual Championship.
REBECCA SKOLER, 20, a Needham native and member of Pine Brook Country Club, is a two-time Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy winner (2021, 2022) and two-time Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Champion (2018, 2020). Skoler also made her debut on the international stage in June, competing in the British Women’s Amateur Championship. Skoler reached the Quarterfinals of last year’s Mass Women’s Amateur before falling to Molly Smith. She is coming off her second season on the University of Virginia women’s golf team, where she played in five events and the first round of the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional.
CATIE SCHERNECKER, 20, a Chestnut Hill native and member of The Country Club, is the reigning Massachusetts Women’s Amateur champion, which was her first Mass Golf individual title. Schernecker also captured the Women’s Division title at the Ouimet Memorial Tournament last month. Schernecker wrapped up her freshman season on the Harvard University women’s golf team earlier this summer, where she appeared in three tournaments.
MORGAN SMITH, 18, a Westford native and member of Vesper Country Club, is having one of the best seasons this summer, including a 12-stroke win at the New England Women’s Amateur Championship in June and her second consecutive appearance in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship, where she played in the Round of 64 after reaching match play. Smith also placed third at the Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship Powered by KOHR Golf. She will head to Phillips Exeter Academy in the fall to complete a post-graduate year.
SUE CURTIN, 52, a Westwood native and member of Boston Golf Club, is coming off a Senior Division win at the New England Women’s Amateur Championship and the sixth-highest finish of all U.S. competitors at the British Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in Scotland. Curtin currently leads the standings for Mass Golf’s Women’s Senior Player of the Year. Curtin has previously played in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open and the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, where she advanced to the Round of 16 in match play last year. At last year’s Mass Women’s Amateur, Curtin reached the Round of 16.
ANNIE DAI, 16, a Longmeadow native who holds an MIAA membership, has good memories at The Orchards, where she captured the 2021 Massachusetts Girls’ Junior title. Dai also advanced to match play at last year’s Mass Women’s Amateur, though she fell in the Round of 32 to Angela Garvin. The two players also met in a playoff in this year’s Hartford Women’s Open, which Garvin won. Dai placed 6th at the Girls’ Junior earlier this month and finished 11th at the Women’s Stroke-Play Championship for the Baker Trophy in June.
ALLISON PAIK, 20, a Providence, Rhode Island, native and member of the Cape Club of Sharon, won the 2020 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur, her first title at the event. The Columbia University golfer reached the Round of 16 in last year’s championship before she was defeated by Rebecca Skoler. Paik has previously played in the Girls Junior PGA Championship (2017, 2019, 2020), the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship, and the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship.
ANGELA GARVIN, 21, a Feeding Hills native and member of The Ranch Golf Club, won the 2019 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur. Garvin’s resume also includes three titles at the Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship (2015, 2016, 2019), five appearances at the Girls Junior PGA Championship (2014-18), an appearance in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, and two Western Massachusetts Girls’ Golf Championship titles. The rising senior on the University of Maryland’s women’s golf team also won the 2016 MIAA Girls’ Golf State Championship and New England High School Girls Golf Championship.
MARY CHAMBERLAIN, 34, a South Dennis native and member of Cummaquid Golf Club, won the 2009 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur. Chamberlain also made a run in last year’s championship, defeating Isabel Brozena in the Round of 32, 7&6, and taking eventual champion Catie Schernecker to 18 holes in the Round of 16. Chamberlain also reached the Quarterfinals of the 2020 Mass Women’s Amateur before she was defeated by that year’s champion Allison Paik.
RYLEY REGAN, 11, a Granby native, is the only competitor in the field who is a member at The Orchards. Regan is also the youngest in the field at 11 years old, surpassing last year’s youngest competitor (Lillian Guleserian) by four years. Regan won her first Connecticut PGA Junior Tournament at 9 years old in 2020.
DANIELLE LEE, 63, a Concord native and member of Renaissance, is the oldest player in the field. Lee qualified for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur earlier this summer and played in the 2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open and the 2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. Lee competed in the 2021 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur but did not make the cut for match play.
ISABEL BROZENA, 17, a North Reading native and member of Indian Ridge Country Club, won the individual high school girls golf state title in 2021 and 2022. Brozena finished third in the Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship Powered by KOHR Golf earlier this month. She reached match play at last year’s Massachusetts Women’s Amateur but fell to 2009 champion Mary Chamberlain in the Round of 32.
Mass Golf will be adding articles, videos, and other content before and during the Mass Women’s 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 17.
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
The Orchards Golf Club will be set up at approximately 6,044 yards and will play to a par of 36-36-72.
THE ORCHARDS GOLF CLUB HOLE BY HOLE