The Whitinsville Golf Course by Don Gosselin
What makes this golf course so beautiful ? Is it because it has remained basically unchanged throughout the years? Is it because a scenic road, Fletcher Street, runs through it ? Or is it because of Donald Ross, who designed it, when it was constructed in 1923 and established in 1925 at 179 Fletcher Street by the Whitin Machine Works ? Or perhaps it is because of the fact that the par 4 ninth hole in 1998, as noted by the USGA (United States Golf Association), was designated as one of golf’s best dogleg rights ? Whatever your response is, may be a guarded secret for at the entrance to the Clubhouse is a sign showing, “ Now Accepting Applications For Membership”.
Originally intended for management employed by The Shop, this private course was not open to those of Armenian, French-Canadian, Irish and Polish descent. Discrimination existed during Pre-WWII days, as verified by those senior members who once played their rounds there while being employees of the Whitin Machine Works. Now, thankfully, membership is open to all. There are also many women who are members and there is no longer a “waiting list” to get in. There are several types of memberships: adult, associate, senior and restricted. Presently, an adult membership costs about $2,500.00 per year. The restricted membership allows one to play during the week at certain tee times and on the week-ends after 3 p.m.. According to the Club’s bylaws, the total membership is kept under 300. Incidentally, this golf course was purchased by the members from White Consolidated Industries in 1967 for a price tag of $150,000.00. There is additional land across Fletcher Street to the west that is also owned by the membership. A walking trail is located there along with some “open space” as well.
The Whitinsville Golf Course is staffed by Chris Hulme, the head Professional who also serves as the manager. The Club Secretary is Gary Murray, and the Course Grounds Superintendent is Dave Johnson. You may call them at 508-234-6210 (Pro Shop) as there is presently no Web Site, which they are hoping to develop in 2008.
Curtis Carr, a real gentleman and a past contributor to many golf tournaments over the years, had lived there prior to his death in an apartment upstairs during the 1980’s and 1990’s. His brother, Douglas Carr Sr. was also well known, besides having been a Mortician, who once lived in the former Gustavus Taft Mansion on Hill Street. Between the two of them, they won the Club Championship 17 times !
The Golf Club boasts about its fine dining room, which is used for public functions only if sponsored by a member. Many Northbridge High School Class Reunions have been held there. There is no full liquor license held by the membership presently.
Upon “dropping in” one day at the lounge, this writer met John O’Brien, Matt Zywien and George Leslie who had just finished their “round of 9” as guests. Members Paul Murray (Whitinsville‘s Postmaster) , Tony Antonucci, and Dick Bacon were also seen in the Clubhouse. There is an email account to send out information to the members about upcoming events, etc. One just has to fill out a slip and drop it off at the Pro Shop or into the handicap box. On the scorecard, for you golfers, is the Course Rating/Slope: White/Blue Tee--70.8/127 and Yellow/Red Tee--70.4/119. Among the best golfers from the members are “Artie” Fitzgerald and Johnny Blair.
In the past there had been discussion and a proposal as to whether to “add on another 9 holes”. But this was defeated in a vote by the membership. Their intention was to keep the “historical integrity and club layout as status quo”, while at the same time not adding to their costs of upkeep and regular maintenance.
(photos of Golf Course and Ladies: member-guest sign-up)
July 17, 2007
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