By Brett Peruzzi, Contributing Writer
Westborough – A lot of golf balls have dropped into the nine holes of the Westborough Golf Club, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
A rich history
Founded in 1921 as the Westborough Country Club, the course was originally seven holes. It was expanded to nine holes by greenskeeper Bill Spence in 1935. Spence held the job for 40 years, from 1927 until 1967.
The town of Westborough purchased the 110-acre property in 1974, which includes 32 acres of conservation land with a walking trail. The club building, which also includes a restaurant, was originally a farmhouse. In 1995 an addition was added for a new pro shop and locker rooms. In 2018, the name of the club was officially changed to the Westborough Golf Club. The course is open to the public and is under the supervision of an operating committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen.
“Members are an important part of the course, but we encourage everyone in the community to come out and golf,” said Jennifer Kirkland, recreation director for the town. “This is a municipal course, and it is a real community asset. I hope we see a lot of first-time golfers or avid golfers that never knew they had this fantastic amenity in their backyard.” Kirkland also noted that the club is in the process of moving from gas powered to electric golf carts.
Transition to being fully municipally run
Kirkland noted that course operations are going to be run as a municipal department under the management of the Recreation Department. All staff will be hired as town employees, unlike in the past, when the work was contracted out.
Jack Negoshian, who has served as golf pro for 33 years, had planned to retire last year. But, Kirkland explained, after the search for his replacement came up short, Negoshian offered to come back for the 2021 season and help with the transition. During his long tenure, Negoshian has seen many changes at the club.
“At one time we had a limit of 300 adult memberships, totaling around 400 adult members, and a five-year waiting list,” Negoshian recalled. “Then we increased to 350 memberships. Now we only have 200 adult memberships for about 250 adult members.”
Negoshian is actually the second generation of his family to work at the club.
“Back in the 1960s and 1970s when my father was the pro and I was his assistant, the members were very active,” he reminisced. “They would meet under the tree by the eighth tee and go over all their matches, have dinner dances, and really enjoy themselves.”
Negoshian also recalled that Paul Harney, a professional golfer on the PGA tour who placed in the top ten six times in major tournaments, played an exhibition match at the course during the 1960s.
Attracting new members and the next generation of golfers
While the public is invited to play at the club, Negoshian explained that membership has several benefits.
“Members can get a tee time 10 days in advance,” he said. “And we have a very extensive tournament schedule, plus ladies and senior men’s leagues and sweeps every day of the week for members to join.”
“We will be running our youth clinics again over the summer to help encourage the next generation of golfers to start playing,” Kirkland added. “We have to see how things shake out with the pandemic. But we are hopeful that we will be able to run a few events this summer and fall. And that will include a celebration of the golf course’s 100th birthday.”