BOSTON, Mass – One of the perks in writing about golf is the opportunity to play and review the many fine courses in central and southeastern Massachusetts, something I hope to do more of in 2021!
When I first moved to my home south of Boston, I was delighted to find that the area had a number of outstanding public golf courses that offered both 9- and 18-hole opportunities. Particularly over the past three years, it seems that many of the lush fairways in our towns are being transformed into grassy lots for new home construction.
Willowdale Golf Course (Mansfield) was an executive-style course fun for golfers of all abilities that closed six years ago to accommodate 18 new homes. Highland Country Club (Attleboro) was a superb 9-hole private course, but it ran into financial trouble two years ago and forced to shut down. Locust Valley (Attleboro) was another 9-hole course that had a more blue-collar atmosphere and was a favorite of golfers in the Attleboro area, yet it ran into money problems and went out of business.
Now, Rehoboth Country club, a popular and demanding 18-hole public course designed by legendary architect Geoffrey Cornish, made the bleak announcement last week that they are selling at the end of this year. The good news is that Hillsdale Country Club is the new buyer and all indications are that it could remain open. John Ferreira, the current owner of Hillside Country Club, is the buyer of Rehoboth Country Club, and the transaction may take place on or about December 31, according to multiple sources.
Rehoboth opened for play in 1966 and earned a decent reputation for affordable no-frills golf. It plays 6,760-yards from the back tees and has gigantic greens that made it easy to three-putt. The closing of golf courses could not have come at a worse time. In a time of forced isolation, golf has become an outlet for safe exercise and a responsible way to socialize with our friends.
When we started to feel the terrible effects of Covid-19, golf rose up and became a sanctuary for people who wanted to participate in outdoor sports. Health experts tell us to keep a minimum of six feet from each other to avoid contracting the virus.
When I golf and tee off with three other player’s we all end up in a variety of different spots, never near each other. One was in the rough, one was in a fairway bunker, another in the woods and I was, surprisingly, in the fairway. The closest player to me was about 15 yards away.
Talk about your social distancing? On the tees we are spread out and on the putting greens anything within a three-foot radius of the cup is good. As it turned out rounds of golf were up about 10 percent over the prior year. So, despite the pandemic, 2020 can be remembered as a good year to golf and be happy!
So, can we slow down this trend of golf courses closing?
Yes. By supporting your local golf course’s, we can stop more golf courses from closing. Be well and keep it in the fairway!