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I recently spoke with Andy Vachon, the Recreation Enterprise Manager, about the project. After we finished our pleasant conversation, I realized that this was more than just another course maintenance project. I learned that some years ago, a group of members started a grassroots type movement called “Save the Derryfield”. After years of campaigning and speaking with local Aldermen and the Parks and Rec. Dept, their hard work and determination paid off when the project was given the green light with a budget of roughly $2.9 million and an estimated completion time of Spring 2016. Now the question was who to bring in to do the actual work needed on the course? Landscapes Unlimited, led by Leonard Schilling from Lincoln, NE was brought in for the task. Mr. Schilling has done work at Augusta National, and TPC Sawgrass among other courses. Golf fans can agree, The Derryfield is indeed in good hands.
The Derryfield Country Club in Manchester is doing some construction work this summer, and as a result will only have 9 holes open. The “Old 9″ as it’s known, is a fun, relatively easy course with a couple of dogleg par 4s and a mouth-watering par 3 that seems to beg for an ace. Rocky the squirrel hangs around hole #5 so be sure to bring him a healthy snack and make a friend for life!The construction is due in part to an overhaul of the irrigation system. Holes 2, 3, 14, 15, and 16 are notorious for retaining water, occasionally shutting down that half of the course. Another fine feature of the Derryfield Country Club Golf Course Improvement Project is the introduction of cart paths on many holes. Anyone who has ever hit that bump leaving the 2nd tee box will surely appreciate the new pathways. Although not paved, the new gravel paths will run from tee to green on eight holes making a great improvement. Being a municipal course, owned by the city of Manchester, the project is being overseen by the Parks and Recreation Department.
by Gregg Ford
Save the Derryfield
Since this article was posted, the Derryfield Improvement Project has been completed. We will be getting out and playing a round there soon. When we do, we'll be sure to post a course review detailing some of the changes.
Not only will the water drainage be vastly more efficient, and also the introduction of tee-to-green cart paths, there is another improvement coming; the original sized greens. Mr. Vachon informed me that over the years and years of what is called “clean-up cuts” (trimming the grass on and around the green) that the greens actually lose some of their shape and size. Like the way the tide erodes the shoreline of a beach, the fairways and roughs quietly consume the greens. During the renovations, the greens will be restored to their original size, giving the course a minor facelift which I’ve been told will be a very welcomed improvement. It is easy to see why Mr. Vachon and the rest of the Parks and Rec. Department are so excited for this project. The new Course Superintendent, Jeff Rader is also very ambitious about what lies ahead for the Derryfield. He’s also one of the guys that is getting the course ready to play before you even wake up, so be sure to say thank you sometime to the grounds crew, wherever you may be playing.
With each passing day, the people involved in the Derryfield Country Club Golf Course Improvement Project are one day closer to having the entire course open for play. They are one day closer to enrolling new members and one day closer to realizing the dream of the members that started it all. One day closer to saving the Derryfield.