By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
For the Transcript
Winthrop Golf Club President Tom Lally isn’t exactly grief-stricken or worried, but he does acknowledge that Winthrop’s nine-hole club, like many golf clubs in the area, has seen its membership numbers decline over the past few seasons.
That is why the club is actively trying to attract new members for the first time in several years and has even dropped its initiation fee for new members as the club prepares to open its season on April 15.
“We have approximately 260 members,” said Lally. “We also have a handful of social members, and another 65 junior members, who are between the ages of 12 and their senior year in high school, but because of the economy and the state of the game in the region, we are accepting new members at this time.”
Lally said that the trend the last few years has shown that the popularity of the game itself is in a bit of a lull, and when coupled with the current economic climate, “people are finding it hard to afford being a member of a golf club or even finding the time to play golf altogether.”
He added that he doesn’t know of a golf club in the area that isn’t actively looking for new members right now.
“So, we’ve tried to be creative about finding ways to attract new members,” he said.
For one thing, the club has dropped it’s initiation fee for new members from $2,500 to $1,800 and that fee can be paid over the first three years of a new membership. Additionally, the initiation fee for “weekday” members, those who can play on weekdays or on weekends after 2 p.m., has been eliminated altogether, “until that member becomes a full member.”
As for the club itself, the amenities largely remain the same and consistent with what other clubs are offering.
The Club’s Pro Shop is now staffed for the season by Golf Pro Jim Bruce, who carries a full line of golf equipment and apparel and also offers lessons on an appointment basis. The Club also offers a full dining room, that typically is open to members only, “but we do encourage newcomers to try out the facilities, and we welcome those folks in the dining room as well,” said Lally.
The Clubhouse is open every day except Monday, beginning May 1, serving lunch and dinner.
The club is open to the public most Mondays, and on weeks when a holiday or other scheduled event closes the course to the public, another day is set aside for public hours. On most days tee times begin at 7:30 a.m. and the course remains open until dusk.
“We really need to bring in new members this year, because membership fees really are what sustains the course,” said Lally. “This is a difficult piece of property to maintain a golf course on, and we really need all the members we can get to keep the course in great shape.”
Anyone interested in finding out about Winthrop Golf Club memberships is encouraged to call the club 617-799-2816 or email at [email protected] The club also has a website that can provide information at www.winthropgolf.com.