A Massachusetts city bought a golf club and is converting it to a muni — complete with a major renovation


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QUINCY, Mass. – Furnace Brook Golf Club will open for the first time under city ownership on April 1, part of a plan to provide “affordable, local golf” to the city’s residents. The club will turn 100 years old next year and Quincy officials have plans to build a new clubhouse and make other improvements to the course.

Fees for Quincy residents at the 44-acre course will be $45 for 18 holes on weekdays and $55 on weekends, the same fees charged at county-owned Presidents Golf Course. Nonresidents will be charged an extra $10, which is still less than the fees were before the city takeover. By comparison, it costs $150 to play 18 holes in the summer at private Quincy golf club Granite Links.

Carts are $20 for 18 holes and $15 for 9 holes.

The city will also allow golfers to book a tee time online, up to 48 hours in advance, at furnacebrookgolfcourse.com. The website is expected to go live in the coming days. Limited and junior memberships are still available. Family and unlimited memberships are full but a waiting list is being compiled for the 2023 season, officials said.

“We’re really trying to open this up to the public. For 50 years it’s been a semi-private course, but if you talk to people, very few have really had the opportunity to take advantage of it,” Commissioner of Natural Resources Dave Murphy said Friday. “We’re going to run camps and clinics, have the middle and high school teams play out of there, and we’re really focused on not just existing golfers but people who have always wanted to play but haven’t had the chance.”

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Fours Restaurant Group, which runs the sports bar in downtown Quincy, has been awarded the contract for food and beverage service at the clubhouse. That operation is expected to open at Furnace Brook in early April.

“They know this business inside and out and they offer a quality product,” Murphy said. “It’s going to be something that complements the golf course and The Fours is a great partner to us.”

PGA golf professional Tom Ellis, who worked at Granite Links, will be running day-to-day operations.

In December, Quincy officials presented a draft plan to residents for an estimated $7.4 million clubhouse renovation that would replace the existing building. The plan outlines space for a bar and grill, a large deck, a pro shop, locker rooms and a golf simulator.

“The current clubhouse is basically a converted house that was built in 1926. It doesn’t meet a lot of the standards required for a public building,” Murphy said at a meeting last year.

The existing maintenance building also needs work. Murphy described it as “basically a lean-to.” A new irrigation system was installed this winter.

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Work on the irrigation system at the Furnace Brook Golf Club on Friday, March 25, 2022. (Greg Derr/The Patriot-Ledger)

The city’s relationship with the golf club started in 1971, when then-Mayor James McIntyre proposed a 50-year lease on the course. At the time, the club was unable to pay its 1970 property taxes – a $17,500 bill – and “saw no prospect of improvement in its financial future,” a 1979 Patriot Ledger article states.

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Under the lease, the club was to pay the city $1 per year for 50 years in lieu of taxes. At the end of that time – June 2021 – the land would be given to the city. As the end of the lease approached, Koch said he and his staff spent time meeting with the club’s management to discuss the best course of action. It was decided the land will remain a golf course, but the city took over its maintenance and management in January.

The course has been known as the Furnace Brook Golf Club since 1938, when the name changed from the Stoney Brae Golf Club. Stoney Brae was built in 1923.

“We are excited to add this recreational opportunity to our inventory of parks and open spaces,” said Mayor Thomas Koch said in a statement. “Our plan is to provide affordable, local golf for our residents and in the process introduce many more residents to the game of golf. This is a beautiful parcel of open space and we are glad to keep it as such for generations to come.”

The fiscal 2022 city budget included $400,00 for golf course operations, with the idea that membership, fees and cart rentals will cover the annual operating costs going forward. This appropriation included $41,500 to hire a course superintendent, $32,500 for a golf pro, $26,000 for a part-time administrative assistant and $42,500 for seasonal help.

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Once up and running, Murphy said there is “no doubt” that the course will pay for itself through membership fees, fees and cart rentals.

Reach Mary Whitfill at mwhitfill@patriotledger.com.

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