Like a fresh spring breeze there’s a new attitude prevailing at Wentworth Hills Golf Club in Plainville, Ma. this year.
Factor in ideal course conditions and a staff that has been assembled to provide top tier service and you’ve got a sense for what the mood is at this wonderful daily fee facility that straddles the Massachusetts and Rhode Island state lines.
“My opinion of a golf club is that it should be like going to Disneyland,” said Jay Sapovits, managing director of the club. “People have a choice where to spend their money, and we have a responsibility as a golf club to give the customer as good an experience as we can. Some people want the high touch, others want you to back off and stay behind the scenes. We approach our jobs in many ways.”
Sapovits, who has enjoyed a career at the highest end of the industry, says he’s a hands-on manager who enjoys meeting and greeting the public.
“I’m downstairs versus in my office, slapping people on the back and getting to know everyone. We are a semi-private facility but we always welcome the public. We’ve really made a big push in the local communities to bring in tournaments and golf teams to play at our course.”
Eight-year-old Wentworth Hills was designed by Howard Maurer, a proponent of routings that challenge and interest players of all abilities and are also pleasing to the eye. He incorporated the natural beauty of the environment into Wentworth Hills. The course plays only 6,202 yards from the tips, but has a slope of 128 and a rating equal to its par of 71. That tells you something about the demands the track places on proper club selection and accurate shot making.
The greens are on the large size, between 5,000 and 6,000 square feet, and are designed with speeds, contours and angles to meet incoming shots. There are some 60 bunkers scattered about the course, placed in strategic locations. Good golfers can fly some of the fairway bunkers, while the less accomplished players are presented with alternate routes. There is water on the twin par-trees, eight and 17, as a lake is shared by the two holes. And there is a pond along the left side of the 400-yard, par-four 12th hole and another in front of the 342-yard par-four 16th green.
“There are decisions to be made on most of the holes here,” said Sapovits. “You will come to a number of tees where you will want to hit driver. But you have to think is that the right call.”
He added, “I’ve had the fortune of playing some of the best courses in the world and I’ll put our 17th hole (159-yard par-three) up against any par-three in the world.”
All three of the track’s par-fives are reachable in two for the big hitters, and there are back to back par-fours--the 268-yard fourth and 288-yard fifth--that dare you to take driver out of the bag and try to get on the putting surface in one shot.
Perhaps the toughest hole on the course is its first, a 428-yard par-four that plays downhill.
Multiple tees accommodate all levels of skill and markers are placed at various distances and angles to create different shot choices.
Wentworth Hills is located between Boston and Providence and only minutes from Route 495, which makes it an ideal destination for golfers from the Metro Boston area to Federal Hill in Providence.
The club has added a golf academy this year and brought in Don Croft, a PGA professional who captained he Attleboro (Ma.) High School golf team and graduated from Coastal Carolina University to run the operation.
Steve Landi, a former head professional at Alpine Country Club in Rhode Island for 15 years and Brookmeadow Country Club in Canton, Ma. for eight years, is Wentworth Hills’ head pro.
Wentworth Hills Golf Club