Andrew Green, upon his death in 1903, left his estate of 549 acres to five nieces and nephews, who in turn sold the land to the City of Worcester, contributing $50,000 towards a purchase price of $104,000. This parcel of land would soon become Green Hill Park.
Green Family Estate. Course maintenance building is located in the old horse barn.
Golf was becoming one of the fastest growing sports in America and 16 years later in 1919 the City of Worcester leased Lincoln Country Club (formerly located on the sight of what is now Lincoln Village and Lincoln Plaza) as a test model for a municipal golf course. Having viewed municipal golf as a worthwhile endeavor the City began construction of Green Hill Municipal Golf Course in 1925. That same year the U.S. Open was played at nearby Worcester Country Club which was won by Willie Macfarlane in a playoff over Bobby Jones. One shot back was Francis Ouimet followed by Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen.
Busy that year was Willie Ogg, the original designer of Green Hill Golf Course. Ogg was a founding member of the P.G.A. of America who began his career as a club maker in Scotland for the St. Andrews Golf Company. This company was responsible, through its designer, Willie Ogg, for its Oggmented clubs, a very early method of producing a balanced set. Notable players to use these clubs were Densmore (Denny) Shute 1933 Open Champion, Gene Sarazen and Johnny Farrell. Ogg went on to win the 1924 Massachusetts Open and the 1924 New England P.G.A. Championship. He used his influence as vice president of the PGA of America to steer the first Ryder Club Matches to his home course of Worcester Country Club in 1927. During the same period Ogg completed the design and construction of The Country Club of Wilbraham which opened in 1927 as Stony Hill Country Club.
The Willie Ogg designed Green Hill G.C. would open 2 years later on April 1st 1929. Ogg, in a ceremonial opening 9 hole round held the first course record of 39 besting Green Hill’s first head golf professional Walter Cosgrove, P.G.A.
At age 19, Walter Cosgrove began serving as the head golf professional for the City. From 1926 to until Green Hill opened in 1929 most of this work was done at Lincoln Country club or at Cosgrove’s indoor schools or driving range. Cosgrove was an avid teacher of golf. Cosgrove’s students included Bruce Dobie P.G.A and Cosgrove’s most accomplished student Paul Harney. Harney had a great deal of success, winning 6 P.G.A. tour events, placing in the top-10 six times in major championships. His best finish in a major was 4th at the 1963 U.S. Open; however, he also finished in the top-8 four times at The Masters in the 1960s. Harney would be an inaugural inductee into the New England P.G.A. Hall of Fame and would be P.G.A. Professional of the Year in 1974.
The Cosgrove influence on local golf stretched beyond Walter and included his wife, who co-founded the Worcester County Women’s Golf Association in 1945, serving as its first president. In 1970 this post would be held by the Cosgrove’s daughter Ann. Cosgrove remained head professional until he passed away suddenly at age 59 in 1968 while receiving a sportsmanship award for his work in golf.
Ironically enough, 1968 marked the end of the Ogg designed course. After suffering devastating floods in the late 1960s, Green Hill G.C. was redesigned by William F. Mitchell. Mitchell was the countries most prolific golf course architect between 1960 and 1970 with over 150 original designs and 200 remodels. Some of his local courses include both New Seabury courses and Holden Hills. The Mitchell designed opened in 1968 and with the passing of Cosgrove the course hired Bruce Dobie as its second head golf professional.
Bruce Dobie had served as an assistant to Cosgrove and was a prolific player in his day winning the 1983 New England P.G.A. Championship. Dobie, like Cosgrove before him, mentored many young golfers including, Jack Gale P.G.A. who became President of the New England P.G.A., winner of New England P.G.A. (NEPGA) Teacher of the Year 1991 and NEPGA Professional of the Year in 1993. Paul Parajeckas P.G.A., who’s father served Green Hill as golf course grounds superintendent, an assistant professional to Dobie, would go on to win every major golf event in the New England P.G.A. including the NEPGA Championship in 2009. Parajekas was the recipient of the NEPGA Junior Golf Leader Award in 1992, won the year earlier by Dobie, and 2000 NEPGA Player of the Year. Parajekas would add an induction into the NEPGA Hall of Fame in 2012. Of his many golfing achievements Parajekas must be most proud of his Green Hill course record 62 shot in 1971.
In 1996 the course installed a wire to wire irrigation system greatly improving the conditions of the course. That year also marked the last year Bruce Dobie served as head golf professional.
In 1997 the City hired its third golf professional in Matthew Moison P.G.A. Like his two predecessors before him, Moison continues the tradition of growing the game of golf at Green Hill. Moison, the recipient of the NEPGA Junior Golf Leader Award in 2001, and named a top 50 kids teacher by US Kids Golf in 2007, annually host hundreds of area youth golfers for free instructional programming. In 2008 Green Hill embarked on creating a Master Plan for the course. By 2010 the plan was developed and Golf Architect Howard Maurer was brought in to design these changes. These changes include: a driving range, and new par 4 along with new bunker and tees. Construction is expected to begin during the 2013 season.
Since it opened in 1929 the City of Worcester and Green Hill G.C. has provided its citizens and area golfers some of the best golf around. Green Hill golf course has played host to Mass Golf Association, New England P.G.A. and U.S.G.A. events along with long standing commitments to the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts and Worcester County Women’s Golf Association. The history of the course reads as a who’s who in local and national golf. Its contributions and legacy will live on in the next generation of golfers to walk its lush fairways.