This Is No Ash Heap
Seaford rescues a former DuPont playground and offers a bargain—as well as a quality layout.
(page 1 of 2)
With top in-season fees priced at $45, city-owned Hooper’s Landing Golf Course would strike the unknowing as another scruffy, overused muni. But Hooper’s is the former Seaford Country Club, a private domain of DuPont, whose original nine holes were designed by well-known architect Alfred Tull in 1941.
“Hooper’s Landing is defined by a need for accuracy,” says head golf professional Michael Connor. The original nine requires accuracy off the tee, and the newer nine (basically a reclamation project for architect Richard Mandell, whose other area work includes the Eastern Shore’s Easton Club) requires accuracy with your irons.
The former private club almost went to seed when declining membership led to declining upkeep, which led finally to its sale to the city of Seaford, Del. The new management group immediately set to work restoring what had been neglected. By the fall of 2010, signs of that neglect were confined to a few patches of crab grass and bare spots scattered throughout the layout.
The new routing at Hooper’s blends Tull’s old with Mandell’s new, which was built in the mid-1990s. Holes one through four are Tull’s. Numbers five through 13 represent Mandell’s added nine. The course wraps up with Tull’s original numbers five through nine.
At 6,725 yards from the tips, Hooper’s Landing presents a broad examination of all skills, not the least of which is knowing when to leave the driver in the bag in favor of a well-managed game of shotmaking and ball placement.
The exam begins with a medium par 4 that doglegs slightly right and features a large mound of dirt that was deposited when the original course was built. The mound serves as a convenient target, but actually puts you in a straightjacket for your approach.
Avoid the temptation, and steer your tee shot left for a cleaner look at the green.
Page 2: This Is No Ash Heap, continues...