DCR opens historic Course No. 1 at Ponkapoag


Click here to read the Canton Citizen’s recent profile on Ponkapoag Golf Course.

On Friday, October 23, state and local officials and stakeholders gathered at Ponkapoag Golf Course, which is located within the Blue Hills State Reservation in Canton, to officially reopen the historic Course No. 1. Recently, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation invested over $5 million in improvements to the historic Donald Ross designed course to rehabilitate the holes that had been closed since 2003 due to flooding.

A view of the 13th hole at Ponkapoag's newly restored Course No. 1

A view of the 13th hole at Ponkapoag’s newly restored Course No. 1

“As the country’s first public golf course, Ponkapoag Golf Course has played a historic role in expanding recreational opportunities for all citizens of the commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “With these improvements, the more than 60,000 annual visitors will be able to enjoy Course No. 1 as Donald Ross envisioned it in 1930.”

In 1925, the owners of the Redmond Farm in Canton commissioned the Donald Ross Golf Design Company to build nine golf holes, and then in 1930, construction began on an additional 18 holes. Ross designed 27 of the 36 holes at Ponkapoag in the 1920s and 1930s, which opened to the public in 1936. Nine more holes were added in 1956 that had been designed by Ross’s protégé, William Mitchell.

“The restoration of historic Course No. 1 at Ponkapoag Golf Course serves as an excellent example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s dedication to preserve unique and unparalleled recreational opportunities for all to enjoy,” said DCR Commissioner Carol Sanchez. “By pairing golf course improvements with habitat restoration, DCR has ensured that visitors will be able to enjoy Ponkapoag for generations to come.”

Construction on Course No. 1 began in April 2014 and was completed earlier this month. Noted golf course architect Brian Silva oversaw the restoration project and followed Ross’s original design as much as possible. Silva was guided by the golf course legend’s own handwritten notes from the late 1930s.

“After years of neglect, we have recently invested millions of dollars into the Ponkapoag Golf Course, and today marks a significant milestone in our efforts to restore this historic public course to its former glory,” said state Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton).

“The Ponkapoag Golf Course is a wonderful resource for residents. Not only is it affordable, but the effort by DCR to restore this historic course adds to its appeal,” said Representative William C. Galvin (D-Canton). “I am confident these numerous investments will attract experienced and novice players to Ponkapoag.”

Improvements to Ponkapoag’s Course No. 1 include: the removal of hazardous trees and invasive overgrowth; improvement of drainage, such as dredging of drainage swales and ditches, raised fairways; installation of new storm water infrastructure; construction of a new irrigation pond; installation of an automated irrigation system; reconstruction of all 18 tees, greens 3-8 and 11-13, and full reconstruction of holes 3, 7, 8, 12 and 14; and restoration and re-shaping of all bunkers.

Prior to the formal opening of Course No. 1, DCR’s Universal Access Program demonstrated adaptive golfing in partnership with the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Adaptive Sports Program. DCR’s Universal Access Program is dedicated to providing outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts State Parks for visitors of all abilities.

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