“Renaissance is very special to me. First of all, the members are warm and friendly and have a way of making anyone feel welcome. Secondly, the course challenges me and my playing partners every time we play. Lastly, the customer service is unparalleled. The courtesy and professionalism of the staff from the pro shop to the clubhouse to the pool and tennis can brighten even a day filled with double bogeys! Renaissance makes me feel like I am part of a family.”
Joseph DiPietro, president of DiPietro Heating and Cooling in Bradford, MA, joined me on the first tee and treated me as if I, too, were a member. He was warm, friendly, and made me feel welcome. Plus, he was absolutely correct about the challenge of the course and the professionalism of the staff.
Renaissance is the Southworth Development golf course and community in Haverhill, located on 210 acres adjacent to the Merrimack River. Southworth changed the name from Renaissance Golf Club, which it purchased and resurrected in 2008, to Renaissance in May to reflect the variety of family-friendly programs and the newly completed pool and tennis facilities. As a result, Renaissance maintains many categories of membership for individuals, families, and corporations.
The flagship of Renaissance, of course, is the course. Renaissance’s vision has been to revive “golf as we know it being replaced with golf as we knew it . . . [embodying] the game’s century old, classic traditions.” Thus, Brian Silva, a leader of the retro design movement, fashioned a “modern archetypal” in his first Signature Course. Applauded for his New England creations like Black Rock, Captains, Old Marsh, Red Tail, Shaker Hills, and Waverly Oaks, to name a few, Silva has combined the 19th Century Scottish ideals with the 1920’s ingenuity of America’s best layouts.
The result combines wide open links-style holes, large waste bunkers, and fescue-lined rolling fairways with the New England tradition of tree-lined parkland holes. The undulating, oversized greens are fast, true, and generally raised above their surroundings. Equally important, the tees, fairways, rough, and greens are manicured meticulously and place a premium on both shot strategy and shot making. In addition, each hole has a characteristic name, such as Peninsula, Lookout, Sahara, Waterloo, Ridge, and Deception.
Kirk Hanefeld, Director of Instruction and one of New England’s foremost players, said, “Renaissance, with its variety of highland and valley holes, produces some amazing views, and the vast waste areas give the course a distinctive look that is unique in New England. All the par-3’s—such as “Long,” the signature 15th—are some of the most demanding holes anywhere. Also, a wide variety of tee box options makes Renaissance playable, enjoyable, and challenging for all levels of golfers.”
Renaissance also boasts superb practice facilities, besides its expansive driving range. A short-game site features three green complexes, a variety of bunkers, and closely mowed and rough-style grass areas. Two other putting and chipping greens complete the set-up. And, in keeping with its vision of classic traditions, Renaissance offers caddie and junior golf programs. A stand-alone pro shop takes care of all the golfer’s needs.
Southworth Development, based in Newton, MA, and celebrating its 20th anniversary, has a motto for its endeavors—“It takes a world-class company to create world-class communities.”—and constructs and operates residential resorts and hospitality-branded real estate communities. Besides Renaissance, Southworth currently has a formidable collection of premier properties: Creighton Farms, Aldie, VA; Machrihanish Dunes, Scotland; Meredith Bay, Laconia, NH; PGA Village, Cat Island, Bahamas; and Willowbend, Mashpee, MA. Renaissance members enjoy reciprocity privileges at other clubs managed by Southworth.
The amenities that Southworth has included at Renaissance complement the singularity of the golf course and represent the type of lifestyle that the company plans for all its communities. The brand new pool site is called “The Sandtrap” and features a 60,000 gallon, zero-entry pool with Jacuzzi and waterfalls. An outdoor gourmet food truck with shaded eating area provides the lunches/snacks, and two DecoTurf tennis courts provide the recreation. Camp Renaissance, located just outside The Sandtrap, provides children and grandchildren of members with golf instruction, arts and crafts, games, swimming, and tennis.
The recently constructed, 30,000 square-foot, American shingle-style clubhouse is the focus of Renaissance’s social and leisure activities. The Grille Room has both indoor and outdoor seating that presents views of the golf course; a bar and lounge are nearby. The Grand Ballroom, with its vaulted ceiling, seats up to 225 and is used for club functions, weddings, and other celebrations.
The lower level houses the locker rooms, steam, and massage rooms. Also, this level has both a golf training area with a golf simulator for year-round practice and lessons and a fitness center. The upper level includes seven guest rooms and one suite that are available for use by members and their guests, especially for club functions and weddings.
The clubhouse, like the golf course, unifies the classic design elements of a century ago with the facilities and services of the best golf clubs in the world today.