Essex County Club, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.
Yardage: 6,247 yards
Defending champion: USA
Designer: Donald Ross
USGA championships: This will be the fifth USGA event held at the club, following the 1897 and 1912 U.S. Women’s Amateurs, the 1995 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and the 1938 Curtis Cup, the fourth Match in the biennial competition.
Proper home: Essex County Club was the longtime home club for Margaret and Harriot Curtis, for whom the Curtis Cup is named. Although the Cup was originally presented by the Curtis sisters in 1927 to give momentum to the proposed competition, the Match didn’t officially begin until 1932 at Wentworth Golf Club in England for financial reasons. The Curtis sisters combined to win four U.S. Women’s Amateur titles, with Margaret winning her third and final Women’s Amateur at Essex in 1912.
Welcome home: USA Curtis Cup captain Noreen Mohler grew up in Massachusetts and was a member of the 1978 Curtis Cup team.
Add Curtis sisters: Neither Margaret nor Harriot ever participated in the Curtis Cup nor did they ever captain a USA squad.
Looking back: The 1938 Curtis Cup Match at Essex featured USA standouts Patty Berg, Maureen Orcutt and six-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Glenna Collett Vare. The USA won the Match, 5½-3½.
The Ross touch: Donald Ross was one of the early club professionals at Essex County Club, serving from 1910-17. Ross also completely redesigned the course during his tenure.
Interesting club facts: According to the club’s website, the third green is said to be the oldest in the U.S. … When the course opened in 1893, it was the first nine-hole layout in New England … Essex became the sixth member of the USGA, following the five founding members: Newport (R.I.) C.C., Shinnecock Hills, Chicago G.C., The Country Club and St. Andrew’s G.C. of Yonkers, N.Y.
Preserve and protect: Essex embraces the USGA’s turfgrass management philosophy that the course is meant to be played firm and fast, and brown is not only acceptable, but desired. Of the course’s 185 acres, 90 consist of wetlands, water bodies, forested areas and native grasslands. Essex has added acres of buffer to all water bodies to increase water filtration and increase wildlife habitat.