Northampton Country Club Latest Course to Hit the Auction Block
FEEDING HILLS, Mass (WGGB) — A beautiful day all across Western Massachusetts.
That’s what greeted local golfers on Tuesday, who were out in force enjoying the spring like weather.
Course that were opened on Tuesday were busy. But the overall health of the Western Mass golf community is definitely a point of contention these days.
The latest golf club to hit the auction block is the Northampton Country Club. On Thursday March 8, the course will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Northampton is just another in a long list of local golf clubs that failed to survive this touch economy.
“The course is great,” said Ed Boardman of East Granby, Connecticut. “We’ve been trying to play every month, which we’ve been able to do. So we figured February would be rough, but we’re been out here. It’s terrific.”
Ask any golfer and they’ll tell you that any day spent on the golf course is a good day. Tuesday afternoon at Oak Ridge in Feeding Hills the sun was shining, and the golfers were playing.
Players making the trip from Vermont to the north, and Connecticut to the south. Unlike a lot of local courses that were forced to close over the winter, Oak Ridge keeps puttering along. Surviving with its simple secret to success.
“The proximity near Connecticut and Massachusetts helps us out,” said Oak Ridge PGA Professional Eric Nelson. “We get people from everywhere and we try to keep this reasonable with the price and just try to provide a good experience for everyone.”
“It’s always open this course here, Oakridge,” said Bob Fair from West Hartford. “It’s always in good shape so we play here all through December and January. It’s only a 25 minute ride from West Hartford and easy to get here.”
But Oak Ridge has been the exception. This winter clubs like Hampden and Crestview, Hickory Ridge and now Northampton have closed.
Western Massachusetts golfers have always been blessed with numerous options to play golf. When the economy was good they all did well. When money tightened only the strongest survived.
Dean Helm is the General Manager of the Country Club of Wilbraham. Wilbraham has benefited from courses like Hampden that closed. Helm said he was optimistic for the future of golf clubs in the area.
“I sense optimism,” said Helm. “I think with the economy the wheels are trying to turn. People are feeling a little more confident and comfortable financially. They’re playing more golf, or at least they’re looking forward to playing more golf. This winter really got people excited I think for the Upcoming season.”
As courses debate their futures the players continue to enjoy the game and the numerous options that still remain for the game of golf.
And just for the record, we’re not alone in the current golf swoon. The same things are happening to the south in Connecticut.
“There’s some pressure on them. West Hartford has a bunch of privates and publics, and they all seem to be open. But I know some of them are stressed on the membership. The muni-courses obviously they’d stay open but they’re supported by the towns. But some of the privately owned public courses are struggling a little bit.”
As for the future of the golf clubs that have hit the skids locally, Hampden has been bought by a local owner who plans on making significant changes to the club.
And local buyers are also rumored to be eying both Hickory Ridge and Northampton when it goes up for auction in a couple of weeks.