Hammond Golf & Country Club

A Gracious Host

In the real world of everyday golf, the true value of any golf course can be measured not in yards or by the speed of the greens – it has a lot more to do with meeting the expectation of your customers and keeping them coming back, again and again.

Just a short drive southeast of Ottawa, you can find a golf club that meets that standard. In a time when competition is strong, their ability to keep golfers rolling into their parking lot has a lot to say about the place.  The Hammond Golf & Country Club may never host a Canadian Open, but for people who love to play the game, stay within a budget, and enjoy themselves socially, it is an attractive golfing destination.

For the non-competitive golfer, a trip to a course is meant to provide a relaxing opportunity to enjoy nature, the chance to hit a few balls, and maybe even the chance to socialize with friends and families.  Hammond proves to be an excellent setting for all of the above.

Even for people who have had the opportunity to visit the eighteen hole club, there is much more to the business at Hammond than people realize.  Founded 28 years ago by Ernest (Ernie) Léonard, it is now his grandson Léonard Gendron, who is at the helm. The new owner’s youthful vision, along with the assistance of a progressive thinking staff is taking the club to new heights.

When the golf course began, it was marked by open spaces and the bulk of Ottawa’s population was considerably further away.  Today, with the boom of Orleans, a large population of golfers sits just minutes from the club’s doorsteps, closer than ever.  And just as that population has evolved, so has all aspects of the operation at Hammond, from the maturity of the trees, to the programs and services offered.  “It’s a young crew leading this course,” says Lynne Méranger, their Golf / Marketing Director.  “Our vision is wide and open and we are not afraid to try new things.”  But more about that later.

Like any golf club, the heart of Hammond is the course itself.  Originally designed by Ernie Léonard and Gérard Chamberland, through the years the course has been reshaped many times, resulting in a layout that now stretches to more than 6700 yards. (With multiple teeing options starting at just over 5500 yards) Of course, not being a private club or bearing a high green fee, golfers who have yet to visit the course often make assumptions about what they might find when they arrive.

“I think Hammond may be a tad underrated,” says Méranger with sincerity.  “People think that because we are out more towards farmland that we will be a flat course – just a big field.”  While the property may once have hosted a crop or two, the expansive nature of it means there is a variety of terrain.  Several tee shots must be struck from highly elevated tees that offer expansive views.

Included in the holes that tumble to and fro is the 16th, a dogleg that rises from the lowest point on the property to the highest.  At just over 320 yards, many players underestimate this par four, the least assuming among the tough four hole finish.  “It’s the hole people talk about the most,” relates Méranger.  “They get caught by it.  The distance is misleading – it may appear short but the fact that it has an elevated green that is hidden by trees and with the wind as a major factor, it can be very tough.  I think most people lose their game on that hole.  That and the last three holes can make or break your scores.”

As daunting of a test that the final holes present the overall character of the course is not defined by them and their Marketing Director agrees.  “Hammond is a very user friendly golf course for the expert to the beginner; the expert will get the challenge but the beginner will not be intimidated as much by our course because it is fairly open layout.  It is one that is acceptable to juniors, ladies, better golfers.”  As “open” as it might be, each fairway is lined by stand of trees that, along with bunkering, defines the shape of each hole.

One thing that golfers who have played Hammond can agree on is the value the course offers.  A semi-private facility, they try and maintain a good balance of tee times for both members and guests and the fees to be either are definitely in the mid-range of what you will find in the market.

In recent years Hammond acquired land adjacent to their property where a 350 yard long range was established.  Instruction is available on a part-time basis from male and female CGTF professionals and regular clinics are scheduled.  Long term plans for that facility include the possibly of developing it into a full golf academy with expanded facilities and services.

Before you even get to the golf course at Hammond you can really see why it has been a success.  Golfers are made to feel right at home.  Family ownership brings with it a certain pride and that is easily conveyed from the reception in the pro shop all the way to the staff who serve you on the club’s lovely two-tiered patio.

Attached to that admirable patio is a pretty impressive clubhouse.  With two large halls at their disposal the club can host a thousand people at once and even conduct multiple events simultaneously.  All the catering is done in-house and they can handle anything from simple to elegant menus.  Despite the size of the building you still get a cozy feel, partly fashioned by the fireplaces and understated interior.  Weddings, family gatherings, corporate functions and tournaments are easily accommodated. Golfers, like those that participate in the popular Tuesday night ladies league that is open to both members and public, have a comfortable setting to enjoy social interaction and a quality meal.

Of course, as the business has changed, the staff and management at Hammond have adapted and they look to continue that process.  Having completed upgrades to the place almost every year they say they always have something in the works.  With ample land at their disposal they hint at the possibility of layout changes, and other course enhancements.  And, while many of these changes will be done by their initiation it is partly in response to the customer as well.  “We like to listen to our customers and their suggestions.  We may not follow through on all of them but we at least give them consideration.  We’re not afraid to try new things, Méranger tells us.

In that vein, the club has several major internal projects in the works including a scholarship program for their younger employees and a wellness program for the older crowd.  They have also initiated a 3-5 year plan to become more eco-friendly.  That includes a few holes will be used this season as a test ground for a “green” approach to maintenance.  It’s a concept they are embracing heartily.  “Everything we are purchasing these days, from the supplies for the course to the product for the pro shop, we are taking the environment into account,” says their management. More noticeable additions include a full irrigation system that will see its first season in 2008 and a fleet of fifty new power carts.

In a very competitive National Capital golf market it can be difficult to grow business but Lynne believes Hammond has carved a nice niche. “We have a lot of loyal golfers.  Once they see what we have here it is not too difficult to get them back,” she says proudly.

It certainly looks like golfers have a lot of reason to try the Hammond Golf & Country Club; a place with a solid history – but, with a lot of direction and innovation by the staff and ownership, what looks to be an even brighter future.

Fairway Facts

Ownership

Léonard Gendron

Course Designer

Ernest ( Ernie) Léonard

Gérard Chamberland

General Manager

Marc Gélineau

Golf / Marketing Director

Lynne Méranger

Food & Beverage Manager

Denise Bélanger

Greens Superintendent

Richard Gendron

Tees / Yardage / Rating / Slope

Blue / 6746 / 119 / 70.5

White / 6402 / 116 / 69.2

Red/ 5535 / 122 / 71.5

Average Hole Lengths

Par 3’s:

Blue Tee: 184 Yards

White Tee: 166 Yards

Red Tee: 146 Yards

Par 4’s:

Blue Tee: 383 Yards

White Tee: 365 Yards

Red Tee: 315 Yards

Par 5’s:

Blue Tee: 513 Yards

White Tee: 490 Yards

Red Tee: 424 Yards

Hammond Golf & Country Club
600 Golf Road
Hammond (Ontario) K0A 2A0
Tel: (613) 488-2277/488-2288
Fax: (613) 488-3254
Email: hammondgolf@videotron.ca

Web: www.hammondgolf.com

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