Raymond Hearn Praises Moon Brook CC’s Greens —
by Scott Kindberg, Sports Editor
Sitting in a golf cart at Moon Brook Country Club one evening late last month, Raymond Hearn offered a rather profound statement.
“This is holy land,” the president and founder of Raymond Hearn Golf Course Designs Inc. said as he looked over the 13th fairway. “You judge a golf course, number one, by the routing. That’s the foundation of design. … The heart and soul of every golf hole is the green complex and (Moon Brook) just has absolute Picassos here.”
But Hearn’s praise for the private course on North Main Street in Jamestown didn’t stop there.
“I put a social media blast out last year and the year before,” he continued, “touting that I think these are some of the best greens in the United States of all these courses I’ve played — both the British Isles and here.”
Willie Park Jr. would be proud.
According to his Wikipedia page, Park was: a Scottish professional golfer who won the Open Championship twice; a successful golf equipment maker and golf writer; and in his later years “built a significant career as one of the world’s best golf course architects, with a worldwide business.”
A partial list of Park’s well-known United States courses are the North Course of the Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago (host of two U.S. Opens – 1928 and 2003 – as well as the 1961 PGA Championship); Hot Springs CC in Hot Springs, Arkansas; the Maidstone Golf Club on Long Island; Woodway CC in Darien, Connecticut; the New Haven CC in Hamden, Connecticut; and Shorehaven GC in Norwalk, Connecticut.
And then there’s Moon Brook, which was founded in 1918.
Hearn said that the spirit of Park and his original design intent can be found in greens 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 and 18.
“That’s priceless and they haven’t changed,” said Hearn, who established Raymond Hearn Golf Course Designs Inc. in 1996.
For the last 25 years, he has worked on more than 150 projects in the US and abroad, specializing in golf course renovation, restoration, remodeling, master planning and new course design. Based in Holland, Michigan, Hearn made his first trip to Moon Brook in 2005. He was impressed with the greens then just as he was last month during his two-day visit.
“I was blown away the first time I came here,” he said. “I started telling other architects and other golf professionals… that the greens are incredible.”
“(Moon Brook) didn’t tinker with them, and they’ve done a really good job in that they didn’t mow them into circles and get them smaller and smaller.”
Which brings Hearn to the subject of an “updated master plan” that he hopes to agree to with Moon Brook’s board of directors.
“What I like to do – a lot of the edges of the greens have kind of come in as maintenance has come in – (is to) find (Park’s) old corners and some of his old features and do some modern stuff that kind of calibrates the design to modern-day technology.
“You don’t restore just for the sake of ‘old.’ You have to restore old features that make sense in a modern time.”
Hearn credited the generational foresight of Moon Brook’s board of directors for realizing the importance of maintaining the layout’s integrity for more than 100 years.
“A lot of classic courses like this have fallen by the wayside,” he said. “You had some more modern-day designers in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s who would have tinkered with this and put their own stamp on the design, and (the history) would have been lost. Moon Brook has done a great job through the … different boards. They knew they had something special way back when. They knew this was important to safeguard this for history.”