Preview: 120th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship - MASSGOLF

Dedham Country & Polo Club Offers A Unique Challenge For This Year’s Competitors

For Immediate Release: August 10, 2023

DEDHAM, Massachusetts — There’s no other course like Dedham Country & Polo Club in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

For nearly 100 years, the course has stood as the lone one in the Bay State designed by classic-era architect Seth Raynor. He studied the work of Charles Blair Macdonald, who utilized a series of template holes from the British Isles and recreated them as golf was taking root in the United States. With its immense bunkers and rolling greens, the course is equal parts picturesque and maddening all in one.

You’ll see holes like Biarritz (#14) with a massive 70-yard green complex with a half-pipe swale in the middle. No. 3 is a Redan, a par-3 with a 45 degree right-to-left oriented green protected by a deep bunker along the left side (similar to LACC’s 11th at the U.S. Open). The 17th flips things around with the Reverse Redan, which was once considered the “the best par-3 hole in Massachusetts” by golf writer Paul Harber of The Boston Globe. And with a 2017 renovation project completed by Brian Silva, the original Raynor features all shine just as they did a century ago. He also modernized the course with new Sub Air and irrigation systems.

Dedham’s layout is a unique test for this year’s competition in the 120th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. (Mass Golf)

Because of its ability to make players slow down and think one shot ahead, Dedham is undoubtably a worthy site for the 120th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship set to take place August 14-18. The longest-running championship organized by Mass Golf will begin with 36 holes of stroke play qualifying as the field vies for 32 match play spots. As always, the field features a competitive mix of accomplished junior golfers, talented collegians, successful mid-amateur, and senior standouts.

“To me it’s one of the most difficult places in the Boston area,” said Melissa Hem, a 10-year member of Dedham who will tee it up with the first group Monday. “You can’t just tee it up and swing away. You also have to think about where you’re playing the ball. I think Dedham, while it’s not long, the greens and fescue make it an interesting place to play.”

Online: Championship Central | Starting Times (Rounds 1&2) | Fact Sheet | Hole-By-Hole Flyovers | Past Champions | Event Home

Throughout its history, Dedham has been a welcoming site for women’s golf in particular. Starting in 1930, the club hosted nearly 30 championships organized by the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts, which has since merged to form Mass Golf.

In 1972, Caren McGhee played for Team Massachusetts in the Junior InterCity Matches at Dedham and weeks later became the first African-American player to capture any state golf association title when she won the Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur.

Three years later, Dedham hosted the 1975 U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship and had perhaps the most thrilling finish in event history. Dayna Benson of California chipped in from 40 feet on the 18th to win the final match against Kyle O’Brien.

This year marks the fourth time Dedham has hosted the Women’s Amateur Championship, the most recent being 2001 when Lunenburg native Laura Torrisi hoisted the trophy. She then played the next three years on the LPGA Futures Tour.

“We’ve been wanting to have major Mass Golf championship here for a few years now,” said head pro Brad McCluski. “The club is excited, the members are excited. I think people are interested to see how they’ll fare on this golf course.”

Caren McGhee, the first-ever African American amateur golfer to win a statewide event in Massachusetts competed at Dedham in the 1970s. (Archival Photo)

McCluski said his favorite stretch of the course is holes 11-14. It starts with Valley, an uphill dogleg left playing about 378 yards. No. 12 Eden is a mid-length par-3 with a false back and bunkers waiting to swallow up errant shots. No. 13 Lion’s Mouth is a punchbowl green which can be a scoring hole but has a bunker guarding the front of the square green. That’s followed by the aforementioned Biarritz on the 14th.

McCluski said even with all the rain the course has received, the greens crew, led by Greens and Grounds Superintendents Carlton Henry, always strives to get the course playing firm and fast. Unlike the U.S. Women’s Open qualifier two years ago, the fescue will also be up and will force players to keep shots out of danger.

“With the weather we’ve had, it’ll likely favor the longer players in the field, especially players who can hit higher-lofted shots,” McCluski said.

The Biarritz green on Dedham’s 14th is unlike any hole most players in the field have seen previously. (Mass Golf)

Eyes will be on returning champion Morgan Smith, of Westford, who is coming off her first appearance in the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Smith dominated last year all the way until the final match where she won the last three holes against University of Virginia’s Rebecca Skoler, of Needham. This victory, plus her offseason training commitment, helped Smith secure a scholarship to play for Georgetown University.

Several players in or about to start college will also be vying for their first Women’s Amateur title. Williams College-bound Emma Abramson, of Sandwich, made it to the semifinals last year and is coming off an appearance in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur and a victory in the Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy. Smith’s younger sister, Molly Smith, is off to University of Central Florida in the fall but will try to cap a remarkable season in which she played in the Mass Amateur Championship at Essex County Club.

Shannon Johnson, the 2018 champion who won her first Ouimet Memorial Tournament title this year, also returns to the field after making it to the final match in 2021 at Plymouth Country Club.

Along with Hem, young upstart Saddie Cumming, 16, will represent the host club after winning Dedham’s women’s club championship this year.

“I think the biggest thing is seeing their power,” Hem said marveling at the talent of this year’s field. “The Smith sisters, for example, are hitting the ball lengths I wouldn’t believe when I was growing up. They’re so good around the greens. They’re fearless. It’s so fun to watch and see the younger kids coming up.”

Mass Golf will be adding articles, videos, and other content before and during the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur on the Mass Golf Championship Central page.


August 14 & 15 – Stroke Play (18-holes/day)

  • The low 32 players will advance to match play, beginning August 16.
  • Any ties for the final Match Play qualifying place(s) will be determined by a hole-by-hole playoff, if needed.

August 16 – Round of 32 (a.m.) and Round of 16 (p.m.)

August 17 – Quarterfinals (a.m.) and Semifinals (p.m.)

August 18 – Final Match (18-holes)


A collection of notable players in the 2023 Mass Women’s Amateur:

SHANNON JOHNSON, 40, a North Easton resident and member of Thorny Lea Golf Club, shot a course record 69 at Oakley Country Club in the second round of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament en route to winning the championship for the first time this year. Johnson, who won the 2018 Mass Women’s Amateur title and played in the final match in 2021, also won the Mass Women’s Four-Ball Championship for the Townshend Cup with Megan Buck for the fourth consecutive year. In 2021, she also made the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, an event she won in 2018.

REBECCA SKOLER, 21, a Needham native and member of Pine Brook Country Club, is a two-time Mass Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy winner (2021, 2022) and two-time winner of the Mass Girls’ Junior Amateur powered by KOHR Golf (2018, 2020). Last year, she played in the final match of the Women’s Amateur Championship and held the lead against Morgan Smith on the back nine. This year at the University of Virginia, she placed top 40 in the ACC Championships and competed in the NCAA Championships (89th overall). She also posted a low overall single-round score of 67 (-4) at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate.

MORGAN SMITH, 19, a Westford native and member of Vesper Country Club, is coming off her first appearance in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship where she missed the match play cut by three strokes. Smith, who will head to Georgetown in the fall, will try to become the first repeat Mass Women’s Amateur champion since Isabel Southard (2014, 2015). Coming off her victory last year, Smith earned her second consecutive title at the New England Women’s Amateur and along with her younger sister Molly was part of the first all-female pair to compete in the Mass Four-Ball Championship.

MOLLY SMITH, 18, a Westford native and member of Vesper Country Club, brings an accomplished resume to the Mass Women’s Amateur that includes multiple appearances in USGA Championships. In this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur she shot 6-over and missed the match play cut by two strokes. She also made the Round of 64 in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship. Smith made history this summer when she became the first female to compete in the Massachusetts Amateur Championship (at Essex County Club). She also finished runner-up in the Ouimet Memorial Tournament this year.

MADDIE SMITH, 15, a Westford native and member of Vesper Country Club, won this year’s Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship, becoming the first Smith sister to do so. Smith also notched a 6th place finish in the Ouimet Memorial Tournament as all three sisters finished in the top half of the 12 who advanced to the final day at Woodland Golf Club.

MERCEDES “ELLIE” LARGE, 60, a West Hartford, Connecticut, resident and member of Taconic Golf Club, is a two-time winner of Endicott Cup, the year-end tri-state event for women from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. A former All-America lacrosse player who led Tufts University to an undefeated season in 1985, Large took up golf after college and developed into one of the best in Connecticut. She has qualified several times for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.

MELISSA HEM, 56, a Needham resident and member of Dedham Country & Polo Club, played for Team Mass Golf in the 2021 Griscom Cup and has been a member of Dedham for the past 10 years. Hem, also a member of Point Judith Country Club (RI), finished runner-up in match play in last week’s Rhode Island Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Kirkbrae Country Club.

EMMA ABRAMSON, 17, a Sandwich native and member of The Ridge Club, won this year’s Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy and also qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship. Abramson, a Williams College commit, made the semifinals last year, coming up just shy of the final match in a close contest with Rebecca Skoler.

MEGAN BUCK, 35, a North Easton resident and member of Thorny Lea Golf Club, won the Mass Golf Anne Marie Tobin Women’s Player of the Year Award for the first time in 2022, on the strength of her victory in the Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship. She won two matches in the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur last year, coming up short against champion Morgan Smith in the quarterfinals. She also won the 2023 Mass Women’s Four-Ball Championship for the Townshend Cup with Shannon Johnson for the fourth consecutive year.

RYLEY REGAN, 12, a Granby native and member of Orchards Golf Club, is once again the youngest player in the field. Last year, she was the lone home club representative at The Orchards and shot two rounds in the 90s on the 6,000-plus-yard layout. She has also competed in the U.S. Kids World Championship and won her first Connecticut PGA Junior Tournament at 9 years old in 2020.

MARY CHAMBERLAIN, 35, a South Dennis native and member of Cummaquid Golf Club, won the 2009 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur and earned the 2011 Mass Golf Annie Marie Tobin Women’s Player of the Year Award. Chamberlain, who played in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur last year, has made match play each of the past three years. In that stretch, she lost to eventual champions Allison Paik (2020) and Catie Schernecker (2021).

ISABEL BROZENA, 18, a North Reading native and member of Indian Ridge Country Club, won the individual high school girls golf state title in 2021 and 2022 and was runner-up to Molly Smith this year. In the past month, Brozena competed in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur and finished third in the Mass Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship powered by KOHR Golf. She has reached match play in the Mass Women’s Amateur each of the past two years.

TRACY MARTIN, 33, a Wakefield resident and member of Vesper Country Club, made it to the Round of 32 in last year’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. Two years ago, she shot the second-best score in stroke play in the Mass Women’s Amateur at Plymouth Country Club. This year, she teamed with James Pleat to finish fourth in the Massachusetts Mixed Four-Ball Championship for the Stone Cup and qualified for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.

TATE HADGES, 21, a North Easton resident and member of Thorny Lea Golf Club, advanced to the quarterfinals last year by knocking off  Western Mass standouts Jaelyn DeBoise and Angela Garvin. The Holy Cross senior captained the women’s golf team last season.

MEKHALA COSTELLO, 17, a Canton native and member of Blue Hill Country Club, won the Osgood Memorial Trophy for shooting a low net score of 4-under through 36 holes at last year’s championship. Costello previously set a program record for Canton High School with a 36.8 scoring average.


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 16.

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 through Golf Genius.

Starting Times (Round 1 & Round 2): CLICK HERE

Live Scoring: CLICK HERE


The Dedham Country & Polo Club will be set up at approximately 5,940 yards and will play to a par of 36-34-70.


Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Par 4 4 3 4 3 5 4 4 4 36
Yards 391 344 173 444 133 481 359 382 330 3037
Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total
Par 5 4 3 4 3 4 4 3 4 34
Yards 511 378 166 347 190 370 367 168 406 2903


For complete coverage of the 120th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship, visit or follow Mass Golf on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @PlayMassGolf and use the hashtag #MassWomensAm.