Check out our write up in the Southbridge News
John and Terry Palmer Purchase 150 acre Laurel Hill Farm on Holland Rd. Fiskdale, Ma. They raise cattle, and the farm produced about 1500 bails of hay a year. In the years that followed John worked as a stone and brick mason, while tending the farm.
John with the help of his 2 older sons Marc and Joe, his younger sons Ward and Kevin and his brother-in-law Arthur, began work on the golf course on weekends. John worked weekdays as a mason. The only piece of equipment they had was a small "previously owned" John Deere tractor. The architect hired for the design on the course was Philip Logan.
Hemlock Ridge Golf Course opened its 9-hole course for walking golfers only. All operations for the course were conducted from the barn at the homestead. The only parking was on the front lawn. Many of the original Hemlockers remember seeing John and family haying along fairways 4 and 6 during those early ears in order to further open up the fairways.
In addition to the John Deere tractor a used (and in need of repair) gang mover and a used greens mower were added to the equipment.
The course was named Hemlock Ridge instead of the original name of Laurel Hill for two reasons.
- John didn't think golfers would want to pay where the notorious mountain laurel could capture the golf balls
- there was already a course named Laurel
the first experienced
golf cart was purchased (used of course)
the adjacent 50-acre farm was purchased. This will be the future home of an additional 9 holes.
Clubhouse completed. After four years of part time work the Palmer family finally finished the clubhouse, which was constructed of native hemlock, and fieldstone. John was one of the last to obtain a permit to construct a building out of native hemlock. A beer and wine permit were then obtained.
John turned the helm of the course over to his 4 sons - Marc, Joe, Ward and Kevin
The additional 9 holes are under construction using the traditional Palmer method - part time. NEW equipment has been added; some equipment fabricated out of bits and pieces. Stay tuned for the date of opening of total 18 holes. The Palmers are clearing land each year - but still have several of the future fairways to complete.