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Raynor, Ross and Fowler at Dedham Country and Polo Club

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Bill Brightly:
In searching for "missing" Raynors, I came across this interesting article about a course I had not heard of: Dedham Country and Polo Club. (It is listed in Ran's Next 50, so it must be a neat course.)

Apparantly, Donald Ross built the first 9 holes in 1908 but when the club decided to expand to 18 holes in 1923, they hired Fowler and not Ross. Fowler seemed to struggle, and when they asked Ross again, he said NO in some pretty colorful words!

Ross again in the same letter, ” When Herbert Fowler,
the would be architect came over to America the club was better able to build a real course and
instead of giving me a chance they hired him and it was published in all the Boston papers that
Fowler was the world’s greatest expert. His worked proved to be an absolute failure, not only at
Dedham, but also every other job where he worked. Now they want me to pick up where he left
off… I have more work on my than I can well take care of and it is much more interesting and
satisfactory, and if I did the Dedham work it would mean a sacrifice on my part which I am not
willing to make.”

Apparantly, the club then turned to Seth Raynor, and from the following descriptions of the course, it seems Raynor must have completely re-worked all the Ross holes.

Mark McKeever:
I can't wait to see how this place plays once the Silva's master plan is complete.  They have a very good website.


Ryan Kelly:
I played Dedham a couple years ago and what I remember the most was that you can definitely feel Raynor's work.  If my memory serves, the director golf told me that 12 of the 18 holes are done by Raynor.  It was a joy to play.

I think it was Tony Pioppi and Robert Decker (the super who keeps the 9 hole Greenock(Ross) in Lee, Ma. in such fine condition) who first came across the Raynor connection, and their threads (from '03) can be found in the search section of this site.

I played Dedham five years ago or so and found it very enjoyable but also a bit strange. Holes 1-5 and 15-18 are (I believe) the remnants of the original nine holes that Ross renovated and are on a smallish piece of property immediately ajacent to the clubhouse. It is my understanding that holes 6-14 (across the road and on another parcel) are the original holes designed by Raynor...only a handful that I recognized immediately as classic Macdonald/Raynor template holes.

There is a very good but short-ish Alps hole without much of a punchbowl as I recall...a very discernible Road Hole green...and maybe an Eden. The hole that is supposed to be a Biarritz really had no recognizable features such as the swale (in front or in middle of green) or the bunkering. The scorecard lists two Redans, but they both fall within the original 9 by the clubhouse and bear no resemblance to any Raynor Redan I have ever seen. There are several holes that have a Raynor-ish look, but nothing that really jumped out at me. At first glance it really looked like Raynor only worked on a handful of holes or his work has been softened to the point of ceasing to exist over the years.

Very fun and enjoyable...but reminded me a lot of Waunometonemy in that the style and look is very much what I expected of a Raynor course...but not as many of the classic template holes are still recognizable as such IMO.


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