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Bill Healy

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Oak Hill CC, Fitchburg, MA
« on: November 28, 2021, 10:26:21 AM »
Oak Hill Country Club
Fitchburg, MA

Thoughts after playing Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg, MA last month...

The golf course at Oak Hill is an underrated links, which deserves more notoriety than it receives, especially when compared to other courses designed or redesigned by Donald Ross.

Oak Hill opened to great fanfare in 1921 as a nine hole golf course set on a hillside in Central Massachusetts.  Wayne Stiles designed the first nine holes, and in 1925, Donald Ross added nine more holes.  In 1928, Ross redesigned the nine Stiles holes, and over two decades, Ross tweaked  all the golf holes at Oak Hill.  During the last fifty years, Oak Hill has been renovated and restored by Geoffrey Cornish & William Robinson (1969-1970), Brian Silva, Tom Doak & Bruce Hepner (1994-1995), Ron Prichard (2010), and Tyler Rae (2021). 

The routing over interesting hillside terrain follows the rolling topography, and it is efficient with generally short green to tee walks.  Design variety abounds at Oak Hill with six dogleg right golf holes (Two, Three, Seven, Nine, Ten, Eighteen), three dogleg left golf holes (Eleven, Twelve, Sixteen), and five straight golf holes (One, Four, Six, Fourteen, Fifteen).  Ross liked to incorporate inclination into his designs, and Oak Hill has seven holes which flow uphill (Three, Four, Seven, Ten, Eleven, Sixteen, Eighteen), and six holes which tumble downhill (One, Two, Six, Nine, Twelve, Fifteen).
The par 3 one-shotters are interesting with two blind uphill tee shots (Five, Eight), one downhill shot over water (Seventeen), and one level par 3 (Thirteen).

Fourteen of the eighteen greens at Oak Hill are Donald Ross greens, which generally slope back to front with interesting putting surfaces and obvious and subtle knobs and depressions.  Slopes and undulations render putting at Oak Hill a substantial challenge, and when the greens are running fast in summer, selecting cup locations can be tricky.

Finally, the aesthetics of the golf course are a strength at Oak Hill.  The elevations offer long view vistas which can soothe the pain of a bad golf shot.

If you get a chance, go play Oak Hill in Fitchburg, MA.  Oak Hill is a terrific Donald Ross links, and it will be worth the trip.

Bill Healy
November 2021

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