With a swift swing, Trey Wolfe ’23 whacks a foam golf ball towards a tree in the distance, one of the 12 “holes” on his campus golf course. Wolfe, a prefect in Rockwell House, outlined an informal golf course with his prefectee, Quinn Polcari ’24. The two observed campus maps measured yardages, and created scorecards for the new course, nicknaming it “West Oak Golf Club.”
According to Wolfe, the idea to design a golf course was a suggestion of Polcari during an uneventful weekend. With some combined experience, the duo quickly got to work, visualizing each hole on the Andover campus.
“My prefectee, Quinn, and I were bored on a weekend with nothing to do, so he took a look at my golf clubs sitting in my room and said, ‘Why don’t we make a golf course?’ I said ‘What do you mean?’ and he said ‘Let’s make a golf course.’ I had made green books a couple of times for real courses using google earth by mapping things out and that is what we did. We sat on the computer and looked at maps of campus and decided what the layouts should be for holes. After that, we made a scorecard with all of the yardages and tee boxes, and really got into it,” said Wolfe.
Polcari described how as an informal golfer in the summer, he generated the idea while Wolfe, a more serious golfer, was able to master the technicalities of designing a course.
“I golf in the summer sometimes with my family, but Trey is the main golfer, so he knew how to set up the scorecard and course designs. He’s the brains behind the operation and we both are the idea guys,” said Polcari.
Wolfe detailed the 12-hole course, noting each hole that is documented on the official scorecard.
“It sits at 12 holes and we named it ‘West Oak Golf Club’ which is a bit of a joke. It sounds pretty prestigious, but it is the course we built. It has three par fives, four par threes, and five par fours. I think the yardage is 1,800 yards from the founders’ tees and about 1,500 yards from the members’ tees which are shorter. We went outside and figured out all of the yardages which was definitely tough but well worth it,” said Wolfe.
The course creation process was tedious, requiring similar levels of effort to the planning of legitimate golf courses, according to Polcari.
“It took about an hour or two. We were playing around with different hole designs. We had an idea of how we wanted to end the back nine before we started creating the other holes. We definitely were figuring out how it would lay out compared to an actual golf course,” said Polcari.
According to Wolfe, striking real golf balls would prove to be hazardous and safety is a priority for him and Polcari. He mentioned the use of foam balls that replicate real ones without being a threat to people passing by.
“We use foam balls. That is something I cannot stress enough. The balls fly realistically, but they are super light and I actually used to hit them around my living room at home. Hitting a real golf ball around campus would just be blatantly dangerous. We also have to make sure there aren’t people around. That is why it is hidden away in the quads. The last thing we want is to hit a bystander,” Wolfe said.
While the golf course may have begun as a loosely thought up, fun idea, Wolfe has found great satisfaction in his achievements throughout the quads. He is excited about the possibility of having some competition on the course.
Wolfe said, “[There have] only been a few people out there so far. On day one, coming up [par] six, I got my first birdie on the course and that was when I realized how real it was. At first, it was all a joke, but it actually felt good. This is the closest thing we have to real golf because we can’t go to courses to play right now. That is why we put so much into it. This is what we have and it turned out to be great. We hope to get more people out there and maybe even have a little tournament out on the quads.”