2020 Golf Thread

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
Think they are shutting it down?
I'm hearing a lot of rumors flying around. It would surprise me but not shock me if it was closed for good, but it certainly wasn't only because of COVID-19, that's for sure.

I'm just shocked they buy a whole new fleet of carts, hire an entire new staff, then close the doors. Who knows though.
 

thestardawg

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The family is somewhat dysfunctional. They really will have screwed the pooch if they are shutting down for good.

About 10 years ago my brother worked there in the mornings doing some of the greens as a part time job. The amount of folks on the course in maintenance was amazing. Last year there was about 1/5 of the maintenance crew. Not to mention the stripping of the waste bunkers on the Oaks, and the issues with the bunkering on the Pines. The courses are gems that havent received the love theys hould have in years.

Brother number 2 took over for brother number 1 last year, and it looked like things might change for the better. Expending what they did on the carts and staff indicated that they were in better shape economically than what might have been rumored, but that email sure didnt sound promising.
 

4 6 3 DP

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For courses that have collected dues already, hard to imagine they don't open the course this year and just argue they can't do F/B and run a skeleton operation. Otherwise they are giving a lot of refunds that I doubt they still have the money for.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
The family is somewhat dysfunctional. They really will have screwed the pooch if they are shutting down for good.

About 10 years ago my brother worked there in the mornings doing some of the greens as a part time job. The amount of folks on the course in maintenance was amazing. Last year there was about 1/5 of the maintenance crew. Not to mention the stripping of the waste bunkers on the Oaks, and the issues with the bunkering on the Pines. The courses are gems that havent received the love theys hould have in years.

Brother number 2 took over for brother number 1 last year, and it looked like things might change for the better. Expending what they did on the carts and staff indicated that they were in better shape economically than what might have been rumored, but that email sure didnt sound promising.
It would be a damn shame if it went under. This summary is pretty accurate from my understanding as well.

I’m hearing rumors of bank seizures so who knows, but I agree that spending what they did and sending out the communications they did makes no sense if they’re out of cash. Who knows though.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
For courses that have collected dues already, hard to imagine they don't open the course this year and just argue they can't do F/B and run a skeleton operation. Otherwise they are giving a lot of refunds that I doubt they still have the money for.
Can’t do that if there’s no grounds crew. They gassed everyone.
 

thestardawg

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I do not think there was a bank seizure. Snooping around online it seems like the main funding for International comes from their mother.

They cut the WHOLE grounds crew?
 

thestardawg

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It’s gone downhill since the father died
Unexpectedly but I never thought it would close this year. I spoke with membership last week and got
No indication anything was amiss. Had to be something sudden. Hopefully it will be purchased and kept
Open instead of becoming houses
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
The International is toast? Whoa.
A group of us might be coming your way.

This is pretty fucked up and sucks.

edit: I know in the grand scheme of everything going on it’s not a huge deal, just feels like a real kick in the dick today after a shitty day otherwise. Summer golf was the only thing giving me hope to look forward to at the moment, now that’s out. Feel real bad for the staff there too, that’s the most fucked up part.
 
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Doug Beerabelli

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To update on pins at my club. They are raising the cups 2 inches above the ground, so you can see the flag from afar, but you aren't putting putts in cup. If it hits the cup, it's in! They are moving pins around. And fwiw, I'm guessing course will be closed next few days due to weather/conditions.

I just shaved 6 strokes off my handicap.
 

thestardawg

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Guessing a big golf group will buy it out and make it better in the future.
My biggest concern would someone buys it to put in luxury homes. In my opinion it is the most beautiful looking club in the area and it’s a shame that that family couldn’t get their shit together i to keep the property going.

Now I’m trying to figure out where to go. Haven? Worcester? Pv? Charter? Wedge wood? Sterling? Anyone belong to any of these who can give me info.


The one thing that was a letdown for me having a five-year-old was no pool at the international so I suppose maybe I can rectify that with a new club
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
My biggest concern would someone buys it to put in luxury homes. In my opinion it is the most beautiful looking club in the area and it’s a shame that that family couldn’t get their shit together i to keep the property going.

Now I’m trying to figure out where to go. Haven? Worcester? Pv? Charter? Wedge wood? Sterling? Anyone belong to any of these who can give me info.


The one thing that was a letdown for me having a five-year-old was no pool at the international so I suppose maybe I can rectify that with a new club
So the deed there prohibits residential development (on the Oaks at least) so that's what has probably held up a sale to this point. It would be a damn shame for the courses to go away, they are awesome tracks. I'm holding out hope a management company swoops in and grabs it for cheap...but not optimistic in this current environment.

My buddies and I are looking into all options, probably limited to Sterling, Marlborough (ugh), or Wedgewood. The others are either too far (PV, Worcester, Nashawtuc) or too expensive (Haven), or too terrible (Charter Oak) especially with the unknown around getting our money back. If I had to guess it'll come down between Marlborough and Wedgewood just because they'll be the cheapest.

We're also waiting to get final details before doing anything as well.
 

thestardawg

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I wonder if the Pines has the same restriction. I mean, if you're buying the club you're buying it for the Pines even though the Oaks is a fantastic course THe Pines still had most of the play there, and the longest course/Tiger Tees designation is something almost any golfer knows about.

This all goes back to mismanagement. When it was owned by a corporation it was well run. When Weadock Sr owned it he spared no expense (Fazio got a million to design the Oaks, not to mention the millions of dollars to clear that land for a course) and people flocked to be members.

WHen he passed it was a slow trickle of stuff going away. The cut back on maintenance became obvious. I played there around 08 ish and there were so many people working on the course and keeping it up to snuff, then I played again around 12/13 and they had started to ignore the waste bunkers. When I joined last year there were no more waste bunkers anymore., which makes the Oaks less of a gem. Hole 5 on Oaks for instance is a great hole that was so enhanced by those waste bunkers. Same with 13. the cutbacks had become so bad that there was a revolt about 2-3 years ago and thats when the next brother took over. THe bunkers on both courses are problems with rocks and debris working there way to the top. My brother told me that was an issue 15 years ago but they were meticulous about removing them from the bunkers, but when you short staff that goes out the window.

The courses were still great tracks. What Im hearing about the possible closure are two things. Yes COVID-19 has cost them events and weddings that is costing them a fair amount of money. And yes, their restaurant was dead before the Statewide mandate. The other issue, and this was something that was mentioned to me by a colleague last year was that many of the older members (20-30 of them) who had paid the bonds to the club were getting sick of the leadership and were considering leaving the club and asking for their bond money back. That's 65K a pop from the days of the bond to join. You have 25 of those folks say they are out and you're trying to find almost 2 million dollars to pay them off.

I didnt realize Charter was crummy?

Do you know what they are asking for money wise at Haven? I believe Sterling is around 4k.

It will be interesting to see what happens now. I know when Sterling shut down and was bought out they were very close to losing the courses, as no one was doing maintenance on the courses. They were about two weeks from having to reseed and fix the entire course. If International doesnt have a deal in place with an agreement to maintain the course by June 1, both courses are going to be close to the point STerling reached.

Sterling went for 4.2 million at auction. International goes for? 10? 15? More if you can build housing. It needs some love though. The hotel is run down and the course needs love from the right owner.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
All excellent info and summary, I agree. I didn't know about the bond members, that makes sense, and good to know about Sterling too.

Charter is a very nice club, but the track/layout is terrible and I despise it. I'd go crazy playing there all the time.
 

FL4WL3SS

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Jul 31, 2006
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To update on pins at my club. They are raising the cups 2 inches above the ground, so you can see the flag from afar, but you aren't putting putts in cup. If it hits the cup, it's in! They are moving pins around. And fwiw, I'm guessing course will be closed next few days due to weather/conditions.

I just shaved 6 strokes off my handicap.
The superintendent at my club came up with a more realistic/better approach. I played yesterday with the raised cups and it wasn't terrible, but def not realistic. He sent an email today saying that he is going to cut the holes, but include some PVC pipe inside the whole so that half the ball sticks out. I haven't seen it yet, but at least we'll be able to hole out.

We're not allowed to touch the pins, though. Which is fine.
 

jercra

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Jul 31, 2006
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The superintendent at my club came up with a more realistic/better approach. I played yesterday with the raised cups and it wasn't terrible, but def not realistic. He sent an email today saying that he is going to cut the holes, but include some PVC pipe inside the whole so that half the ball sticks out. I haven't seen it yet, but at least we'll be able to hole out.

We're not allowed to touch the pins, though. Which is fine.
I thought you were on lockdown? Golf is my one way out of the house and it's snowing like a bastard here. I went from the best of (golf) times to the worst of (golf) times in less than a week.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
Here's the T&G article on IGC's closing. The Weadock family has some turbulent times ahead and has a lot of explaining to do. They charged all the members credit cards for renewals on March 10th I believe.

 

thestardawg

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Section 38, Row 13
I enjoy the fact that the last two days they have emailed membership after 5 so no one will call, and yesterdays email was simply, "we're not going to tell you anything"
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
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Feb 22, 2004
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Not sure what dues were but I'm guessing they billed over seven figures. That's a bad look a week before closing the doors. If they don't refund quickly it's a bleak look for them legally. The International had a fairly well off membership too... screwing over a bunch of wealthy, connected professionals when those folks have free time on their hands seems like a poor gambit. Let's see how it plays out for them!
 
I'm just back from playing my first COVID-19 golf today here in Scotland - just the first five holes at Dunbar, on my own, in a spare hour I had free this afternoon. Our course has removed all rakes, benches and ball-washers; the flags are to be kept in the holes, while the cups have just been turned upside down so that they're no deeper than the diameter of a golf ball. (The ball still goes into the hole, so it still feels like proper golf, but you can remove the ball from the hole without reaching down and into the cup.)

It felt pretty normal to be out there, for the most part...but I did feel a little bit paranoid at times (probably unreasonably so in places):
  • I'm sure the juncture where the pin hits the cup will have been touched by any number of people in trying to remove their balls from the hole; that was probably my most realistic fear.
  • On the par 3s, I always use the nub of a broken tee that's lying around, rather than wasting a full-size tee...and when I did that today, I realized that I had no way of knowing when it had last been touched by someone. So perhaps I'll need to abandon that practice for the moment.
  • Picking up my ball after marking it and then cleaning it in my towel felt weird and particularly unhygienic.
  • I even wondered whether it was a good idea to repair a fresh ball mark that wasn't my own; what if it had been created recently by a ball that had been in contact with someone's hands (or even mouth)?
On the other hand, I was fairly pleased to see that most people had been diligent in foot-raking the bunkers - not perfect, but as someone who usually gets quite annoyed when I find unraked bunkers, I was more than willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

FWIW, I got emails from both of my two clubs today about their COVID-19 responses. Both are keeping their clubhouses open for now, and at Machrihanish competitions are still carrying on as well for now, although at Dunbar competitions been suspended for the immediate future. Which kinda sucks; I was hoping to play in my first medal of the year in two weeks' time, but that isn't going to happen. And fair enough; I don't think I'd want to be the Competition Secretary, handling a bunch of scorecards to review the electronically submitted scores.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023

doldmoose34

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Doug Beerabelli

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Not sure what dues were but I'm guessing they billed over seven figures. That's a bad look a week before closing the doors. If they don't refund quickly it's a bleak look for them legally. The International had a fairly well off membership too... screwing over a bunch of wealthy, connected professionals when those folks have free time on their hands seems like a poor gambit. Let's see how it plays out for them!
That sucks. Hope the CC charge be challenged if within the 60 day time period.

Got out yesterday, weather was nice after 3 pm. CT did non essential business shut down, but I Hope club can do what it does for winter rules - which alllows peeps to play without need of staff on site. The restaurant will still be able to do takeout, I assume. Seems it won’t be good golf weather again until later next week.
 
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Doug Beerabelli

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The CSGA (CT) sent out the following sample letter that could be sent by members to Gov. LaMont:

“Dear Gov. Lamont,

Thank you for all you are doing to keep us safe during COVID19 pandemic.

I believe golf courses should be permitted to stay open if we follow all CDC guidelines and recommendations of social distancing. Golf courses are an important outlet promoting good, healthy behavior for thousands of people and a great opportunity for outdoor recreation during these difficult times. Golf courses have taken steps to protect employees and golfers from coming into contact with each other. For example, they have removed rakes, ball washers, required that the flagstick not be touched, removed water coolers, required no more that one person per cart, and have people making tee times and paying online to minimize contact with course staff. Recently California, Oregon and Michigan among other states have made sure that golf courses could continue to be played during this crisis with certain safeguards in place.

I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this request.”
 

mostman

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I’m trying real hard to do two true weeks of isolation here, but I’m going to need to get out there soon.

A friend of mine joined Sterling this year. Do we have any members there? Is it any good?

If we can actually golf again sometime soon, I’ll probably join as well. It’s 35 minutes from my house, which is probably 10 too many, but the price is good and I’ll be joining with a friend. Vesper is closer, but more money.
 

Riconway3155

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TFP brought me here from one of the Covid threads. Just FYI - My wife works at the Haven. If you can make it work expense wise, its gorgeous.

I golf maybe 6 times a year and am horrible, but I've been able to get on the course 3 times over the years thanks to her. Its easily the nicest course I've ever played. (I'm used to playing the Thompson Speedway, Pakachaog, and Green Hill type places so it's not like I am playing anything crazy)
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
So just curious--with no rakes in the bunkers, are the bunkers treated as ground under repair or do you actually try to play from the middle of a footprint?
We were playing winter rules yesterday so we tried to find a reasonable spot in the bunker and smooth things out with our feet after. It was a true hazard!

I’m trying real hard to do two true weeks of isolation here, but I’m going to need to get out there soon.

A friend of mine joined Sterling this year. Do we have any members there? Is it any good?

If we can actually golf again sometime soon, I’ll probably join as well. It’s 35 minutes from my house, which is probably 10 too many, but the price is good and I’ll be joining with a friend. Vesper is closer, but more money.
Ha - Sterling is where I played yesterday. I discovered my 2nd cousin is the GM there and he hooked a group of us from The International up with a round to see if we liked the track.

The conditions were really nice for March, especially the greens. I just didn’t love the course enough and it’s 25 mins away which is too far for me. I love to pop over during the week to hit balls and chip and putt and that’s too far a drive to do that I think. I’m also spoiled because IGC was 13 mins from my house.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
TFP brought me here from one of the Covid threads. Just FYI - My wife works at the Haven. If you can make it work expense wise, its gorgeous.

I golf maybe 6 times a year and am horrible, but I've been able to get on the course 3 times over the years thanks to her. Its easily the nicest course I've ever played. (I'm used to playing the Thompson Speedway, Pakachaog, and Green Hill type places so it's not like I am playing anything crazy)
The Haven is very nice, for sure. I have a couple buddies who are members there and have played it a few times. I’m definitely considering it, but it’ll probably be a next year thing.

I’m gonna check out Wedgewood in Stow when the weather improves, and it’ll probably come down to their or putting my tail between my legs and going back to Marlborough (ugh).
 

mostman

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We were playing winter rules yesterday so we tried to find a reasonable spot in the bunker and smooth things out with our feet after. It was a true hazard!


Ha - Sterling is where I played yesterday. I discovered my 2nd cousin is the GM there and he hooked a group of us from The International up with a round to see if we liked the track.

The conditions were really nice for March, especially the greens. I just didn’t love the course enough and it’s 25 mins away which is too far for me. I love to pop over during the week to hit balls and chip and putt and that’s too far a drive to do that I think. I’m also spoiled because IGC was 13 mins from my house.
Yep - that sounds like the exact internal conversation I'm having with myself. 35 minutes is too long for the multiple times a week I would want to go work on the short game. Not sure what I'm going to do yet.
 
So just curious--with no rakes in the bunkers, are the bunkers treated as ground under repair or do you actually try to play from the middle of a footprint?
When I played a few days ago here in Scotland, I hit into a couple of bunkers and played it as it lay. I'd managed to dodge the footprints, but generally speaking they had been pretty well smoothed over.

I think Scottish bunkers are generally penal enough, but in America, it'd be interesting to see what would happen if everyone stopped raking bunkers and they became actual hazards. (Probably a terrible idea for the average high handicapper who finds it tough enough to get out of bunkers in the first place...but for pros and low handicappers, that has some attractions, particularly in thinking about fairway bunkers and how easy they are to play out of relative to thick rough.)
 

Deathofthebambino

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Really sorry to hear about the International. I used to play there 2-3x a year for various reasons. I hit a hole in one on the 17th at the Oaks during our annual Calcutta. For those interested, I've played Wedgewood dozens of times, and with the International closing, I imagine it'll be good for them. Haven't played Wedgewood in a bunch of years, but the one thing I will say is that it's fucking hard. Greens used to be lightning, but the clubhouse, pool are all excellent and membership seemed good.

Rumor is Andover is opening with restrictions next week (assuming we don't get too much snow tomorrow). My guess is the same as others here are describing, no pro shop, no restaraunt (although they announced take out immediately, so I guess they can continue to collect their monthly assessment for food). All dues were paid in early March, so not opening will certainly cause some issues. The pool/tennis is a separate club, with separate dues, and we've already paid those too (about 3k/year). They don't open until Memorial Day anyway, so still some time left to figure that out.

I really need to play golf, but I'm not a walker and never will be so hopefully, they'll allow carts even if we have to pay double cart fees.
 
And I played 18 this morning by myself in about two-and-a-half hours at Dunbar - plenty of traffic on the course behind me, but I had almost no waits at all. Played through one fourball on the 2nd and a twosome on the 14th, and that was it. After missing short putts at 16 and 17, I came to the 18th needing a par to break 80: I half-chunked my second shot, hit a lengthy bump-and-run at least 20 feet past the hole...and drained the putt for 79. That was worth a fist pump.

At various points around the course, including in front of several tees, someone had painted lines to remind everyone how far two meters is - i.e., the distance you're supposed to keep from your fellow golfers throughout the round. This was not being terribly well observed; as I walked off the 14th green, there was a fourball leaving the 8th tee that was walking side by side so closely together that all four of them were probably within two meters of each other. If that's how people are going to behave, then I'm all in favor of shutting down the course - and indeed all courses - for a while. (Human beings are generally social creatures, and it's really hard to keep that sort of distance when you're with your friends unless that is a constant, conscious priority.)
 

Doug Beerabelli

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Looks like my course is staying open for now - basically using winter golf model for use when there are no employees on site. Course maintenance is allowed to continue under the state’s recent restrictions. All of this is to be done under social distancing criteria.

I’ve only been golfing with family, so we’ve kept up with these requirements, and I’ll do so aggressively if I golf with other members. Weather will likely limit play the next week or so. They did shut down the restaurant - I’m guessing not enough takeout action to justify the costs.
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
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Feb 22, 2004
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The Paris of the 80s
Golf courses in MA officially closed through April 7th.

Not sure I agree with outdoor sports where people are in close contact but not exactly worth the fight right now.

If my club doesn't start waiving the monthly dining minimum soon I may write that aggressive letter I've been stewing over for years.
 

Doug Beerabelli

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That’s too bad about MA.

Ours in Connecticut got the official OK to stay open. With the club pro allowed to be there (1 employee only) for set up of single person cart use. All buildings closed except access to two bathrooms on outside wall of building, which is separated by locked doors from rest of facility.

Hoping this lasts.
 

TFP

Dope
Dope
Dec 10, 2007
18,023
Courses are allowed to have maintenance crew keeping up the course, and I'm hearing that some private courses are letting members walk on and still play under the honor system with no transactions/pro shop interaction. Interesting approach if so. This includes a course nearby where a good buddy of mine is a member too. Gonna try to get out there for a round, unless they've changed course since I talked to him last night.

I mentioned this earlier but I played Sterling CC last weekend as a prospective member, got a chance to check out the track. Interesting layout, seemed really nice, but not a track I'd want to play all the time. Had a very Shaker Hills vibe, it was somewhere I'd love to play as a guest but not be my home course. The facilities are all brand new and gorgeous though, and if I lived a little closer I'd certainly consider it.

On the update with The International, an email came out yesterday reversing course and blaming everything on the pandemic (in direct contradiction to what they told their employees last week), but clearly stating they plan to open this season. I'm guessing they either found a buyer/investor or they are banking on a loan from the stimulus package. Regardless, the communication has been awful and created more stress and confusion on its own.

Holding out hope I get at least one more go at the Oaks. I need to ace the 13th hole once in my life.
 
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jercra

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Colorado got the full lockdown starting this morning. It's currently scheduled to end on 4/11 but I expect that to get extended. So far there's been no exception for golf but I'm hopeful that they realize there's it's counterproductive to shut down an industry that encourages exercise and requires 0 contact. I played yesterday. Pay by phone, range balls included and on the range. No rakes. Flags literally bolted into the hole with special inserts that made the ball not drop in. For some reason they were allowing 2 people per cart. The regulations should mandate no carts except for those who would qualify for blue flags. With those regulations I can stay further away from people than going for a walk in the park in my neighborhood. I get that it's low priority, but it's a mechanism for hundreds of thousands of people statewide to get some exercise and sunshine, both of which are important to physical and mental health.