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Mark Saltzman

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Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« on: September 18, 2013, 10:23:02 PM »


Semi-skyline approach to 1:




With green recapture, total area of putting surfaces expanded approx 20%.  From the fairway you'd never expect such a massive rolling green...




Reachable par-5 2nd.  No simple lay-up (another great green here):




The 3rd is a long par-4 with a fun kick-plate and firm conditions that allow it to function:




Ball-buster.  4 plays uphill and into the wind.  False-front means all-carry approach required:




6 is a mid-length par-3 with a great view of Boston:






I loved the 7th.  Straightaway and straightforward.  Tilted fairway is used effectively, when combined with angle of green and placement of greenside bunker, to reward playing to high side of fairway.




Approach from low-side of fairway is scary, even with wedge in hand...




8 is another ball-buster, about 435 and uphill all the way (and my only birdie of the day!). 




The prototypical Donald Ross short.  On the green beyond the hole is bad.  Missing short is bad.  Missing pin high left or right is terrible.  Missing long is X.



The stretch from 7-11 offers little reprieve, though the 430 yard 10th may be the 'easiest' hole in that set.  The hole plays uphill the entire way, and the recent green restoration allowed an entire front tier to be restored, extending the front of the green by 40(!!) feet:




The two-tiered green is once again a three-tiered green:




The 11th is a 233 yard par-3, which thankfully allows for a running approach:






And perhaps my favorite picture of the day, taken from the 14th green, looking back at the 10th and 11th greens:




Finally, a gettable stretch.  The 12th-14th offers back-to-back par-5s (both reachable in two) and a short par-3. 




A true decision to be made from the tee on the split-fairway 13th:




The 14th is a short par-3 with a devilish green made more confounding by a pimple in its centre:




The golf course finishes 4-4-4-4.  The 15th plays along the boundary to the right, and one must play the approach to that side as the fairway slopes hard to the left.  Shots landing in the left-centre of the green will find the left rough:




A difficult tee shot at the 16th gives way to a picturesque drop-shot approach to one of the most beguiling greens I have seen.  The entire front portion of the green is false-front, and a ridge/spine combine to make a 'T' shape in the green's centre. 




One ridgeline down and running in the opposite direction, the 17th tilts hard from the right.




And in the opposite direction we go once again on the 445 yard 18th. With its reverse cambre the hole plays extremely long and another false-front makes a running approach a difficulty:


Seth Berliner

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2013, 11:19:42 PM »
Looks great Mark!  Love the shape of those holes.  Classic design that no doubt favors approach shots coming from a particular side of the fairway and with a specific shot shape.

I'm always amazed by the amount of great golf in the New England area that goes virtually unknown and Winchester falls in this category. 


Mike Sweeney

Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2013, 06:24:25 AM »
Wow. It has been many years since I played it and that looks really good. Better than I remember. Maybe it is the fall fescue, but it seems to have a better look.

The course is very close to downtown but I remember a country feel and these picture show that. Beautiful tour by Mark as always.

I am headed back to the great state of Maine next weekend, so thanks for the Ross preview...

David Harshbarger

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2013, 06:50:16 AM »
Mark, beautiful course indeed.  Looks like a great mix of fun and challenge without being a ball-buster.  The green angles, bunkers, and use of slopes shows so much variety.    A treat for sure.  Thanks for sharing.
The trouble with modern equipment and distance—and I don't see anyone pointing this out—is that it robs from the player's experience. - Mickey Wright

Thomas Dai

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2013, 06:57:41 AM »
Mark,

I always thoroughly enjoy your photo tours and this one is no exception. Thank you.

As an aside, is there a listing or index of your photo tours somewhere on GCA? I've tried the search engine but not met with a great deal of success.

In fact, perhaps an area on GCA dedicated to just photo tours might be an idea.

All the best.

David Harshbarger

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2013, 07:23:26 AM »
Thomas, click the link in my tag line below and you'll be transported to a google map product that links to over 1,000 courses and reviews that have appeared on this site.  It is not exhaustive, and recent reviews aren't represented as the tool I used no longer works after google changed their programming interface, but it has links to lots of photo tours.  If you switch over to the table view you can readily search, filter, and click to them, too.
The trouble with modern equipment and distance—and I don't see anyone pointing this out—is that it robs from the player's experience. - Mickey Wright

Thomas Dai

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2013, 08:29:26 AM »
David,
Many thanks for this. It's terrific.
All the best

Jim Sherma

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2013, 08:48:57 AM »
Another good looking Ross course. The general use of the terrain, the back to back par 5's and the restored three tier green is very similar to CC of York. I know the signage says 1902, but what year dod Ross design and build this?

Ronald Montesano

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2013, 09:20:40 AM »
Way to go, Marko, way to, David.
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Carl Nichols

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2013, 09:23:59 AM »
Thanks Mark.  My understanding is that, notwithstanding the economic downturn, etc., this remains a very in-demand country club; I believe the waiting list might be more than five years long. 

Anthony_Nysse

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2013, 10:36:38 AM »
I heard a lot about this golf course this summer, as both Ron Forse and Lepanto golf were renovating Pine Tree, also. Looks like they knocked it out of the park there, too!
Anthony J. Nysse
Director of Golf Course & Grounds
Mountain Lake
Lake Wales, FL

BHoover

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2013, 10:53:28 AM »
This tour is great.  The course itself looks incredibly interesting.  I know nothing about the course except this photo tour, but the restoration work by Forse seems to be very good.  I'm guessing that trees were removed, but the photos show that some great trees were retained.  The bunker work also looks incredible.  Overall, this looks like the kind of course that would be lots of fun to play.

As a member of a club currently thinking about developing a master plan, I think that the tree work and bunker work here is illustrative.  Most members aren't going to support a dramatic tree removal program (as much as I might want one), but the key seems to be to remove the junk trees and to keep the specimen trees.

Jim_Coleman

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2013, 10:20:13 PM »
   I've played in the Winchester Father/Son Tournament since 1964 (as a son and a father).  I only hope I will play it for 25 more years as a father and grandfather.  This was a top 100 course in the early rankings, and then disappeared.  For the life of me I don't know why.  I love the way the course is routed along multiple plateaus.  It is as good as any course in the Boston area, and is comparable to the Philly Flynns.  

Rich Goodale

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 02:58:43 AM »
Jim

I played in the Winchester father/son twice in the late 1950's with my grandfather (who was in his mid-70's at that time).  We finished 2nd both times (out of a grandfathre/grandosn field of 2).  Great to see the tournament still going (I think my grandfather helped start it).

Mark

Thanks for the great photo-tour.  Brings back some great memories.

Rich
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

Tom_Doak

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2013, 07:25:32 AM »
Wow. It has been many years since I played it and that looks really good. Better than I remember. Maybe it is the fall fescue, but it seems to have a better look.

Exactly my impression.  It's been 20+ years since I was there, and I remember it being good, but not that good.  Maybe that's all to do with the restoration, but probably a fair amount of it is just that my memory is not as good as it once was!

The restoration looks as though they've completed some excellent tree work and bunker work ... but, I still don't know that such work deserves equal billing with the guy who did the routing and designed the greens and bunkers to begin with.

John Percival

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2013, 09:47:53 AM »
Great photos and copy, Mark.
The ninth (the short 3 par?) looks just awesome. Right there in your face.
Two ?'s...what are the lengths at 9
And are there spectators beyond at those umbrellas watching the torture, er, play?

Tim Martin

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2013, 08:59:04 PM »
The short par 3 9th looks very much like the 3rd at Wannamoisett. The bunkers fronting the green are almost identical.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2020, 04:26:01 PM »
This is a great looking course. I have missed it every time I get to the area. I'd like to hear more from guys who have played it.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Brad Tufts

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Re: Winchester Country Club, MA (Ross / Forse) - A Photo Tour!!
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2020, 09:50:10 AM »
Hi Tommy,


Winchester is great...mature Ross to the max, with recent enhancements by Ron Forse.


It always strikes me that there are parts of the property that are pretty severe, but the course does not play that way...holes are benched into the slopes in an elegant way that makes you forget there is at least 100' of elevation change.


Forse's green expansions and some tree removal have underlined the large scale of the property, as now the 8th and 10th greens especially are enormous and have several sections.


There is good variety here also, with #5 through #14 going 330-165-360-450-150-440-230-500-530-140...there are plenty of half-pars in there, before a testing finishing stretch of long par fours switchbacking back down to the clubhouse.


The course always had a range of limited size near the clubhouse, as so many old courses do, but this has been remedied with a new full range on nearby property at the far end of the course, complete with a 6-hole short course through some previously unused woods.  Given the value of the land in Winchester, this is quite a commitment to golf!
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

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