Bayberry Hills Golf Course, a Cape Cod course designed by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva in 1988, has completed a two-year, $2 million renovation. The Town of Yarmouth (Mass.) engaged the services of Tim Gerrish, RLA of Providence, R.I., a former member of the Cornish/Silva team, to examine the layout and recommend changes that would make the course friendlier to the average golfer while maintaining or even enhancing the course’s challenge to low-handicap players.
Embracing the Augusta National design style, bunkers have been renovated and repositioned to enhance play options, plus bunkers have been replaced with closely mown collection areas on some holes, providing the golfer multiple options for greenside recoveries. Other changes include widening fairway corridors and green surrounds and replacing rough areas in front of greens with tightly mown fairway, creating the illusion of false fronts in many cases.
Gerrish also expanded approaches and green surrounds, offering players opportunities to access areas of the greens without having to carry bunkers. For the less aggressive or high-handicapper, areas to “bail out” and chip for par were created with undulating terrain to add visual interest, variety and shot options to the ground game. New turfgrass species and additional topsoil will reduce fertilizer and water use.
Fairway corridors have been widened and tree lines thinned allowing for recovery shots where previously none existed. This feature, accomplished through the removal of over 3,000 trees, provides enhanced course playability along with improvements in aesthetics from the added panoramic course views.
Gerrish experimented with adding several “waste or native areas” of exposed sand on the course to provide an additional feature not common on Cape Cod courses and reduce the environmental impact of water, mowing and fertilizer use. The par-3 12th hole now has a flowing sand area forming a dominating hazard for the better player while framing the hole for the less accomplished.
The original bunkers were rebuilt to reduce sand area while maintaining proper proportions and enhancing the original style. Lining the bunkers with Capillary Concrete allowed dramatic sand flashing while reducing bunker face maintenance, especially following rain events.
Forward teeing areas on four holes were added for more options in course set-up while providing additional user friendliness. Three tees were resurfaced, including the new championship tee on the par-3 third, stretching the course to nearly 7,300 yards. In some cases, tees were located for better playability and additional playing surface was added to others, providing varied play lines and more tee placements.
The cart path system was also revised, eliminating wear on playing surfaces and resulting in significant improvement in playing conditions and green and tee access. The changes reduce pace of play and allow play in adverse weather.