Located on a salt pond just off the Atlantic, Weekapaug is a nine hole members’ club converted from a public facility. The newly formed Club had made great strides developing its Membership and building a beautiful clubhouse. However, the 1962 layout did little to draw on its seaside locale, with oval bunkering typical of the era and little in the way of strategy and definition. Desiring a revitalization, the Club contacted Jeff Bradley for his gifted ability in shaping bunkers.
Bradley decided to partner with Zinkand to take advantage of his breadth of knowledge on golf architecture and, in particular, his understanding of seaside golf. Today, the golf course takes great advantage of the Club’s locale, including the strong coastal breezes, with smaller, more intricate hazards. The bunkers are not only more pleasing to the eye, but also arranged to provide traditional, yet provocative strategies, address safety concerns and improve the layout’s variety. Existing green surfaces were typically expanded toward the renovated hazards to create challenging new hole locations. Though, in some cases, new bunkers were simply built closer to better relate with the greens. Much appreciation is owed to Weekapaug’s Greens Committee for the autonomy they offered during this initial phase of construction. The freedom greatly improved the final product by allowing ZGD to make adjustments in the field.
With the bunker project considered to be a resounding success by the Membership, the Club moved on to tackle other issues. Foremost were concerns related to the second fairway and the irrigation pond strategically set along the inside left edge of the hole. Climate change had substantially increased spring flooding along this, the Club’s lowest lying fairway, and left the irrigation reservoir with inadequate capacity for drier summers. The fairway was raised and recontoured with fill strategically excavated from the irrigation pond to improve the value of the water’s edge, while drainage was installed to direct excess rains to the pond. Tee locations in need of improvement were addressed simultaneously. Many of the original tees were small perched boxes with little relationship to the surrounding topography. Several larger tees, as well as smaller forward tees, were installed with tie-ins more sympathetic to Weekapaug’s landscape. These tees provide improved strategic angles, playability and, where appropriate, added length. The result of Weekapaug’s two renovations is a well-devoted Club with a fashionable niche along the Rhode Island coast.
Weekapaug Golf Club . Weekapaug . Rhode Island