WESTBOROUGH – The small, dimpled ball soared from Turkey Hill and landed firmly on the side of Fox Hill. Any of the original wild inhabitants have been replaced over the last century by humans equally wild―about golf.
Thomas Rice, the first settler in Westborough, originally owned this site (now 121 West Main Street) and built his farmhouse here. In 1725 he sold his property to Lieutenant Edward Baker, a highly respected town leader who served as a member of the first school committee, as a selectman, and as town clerk from 1726-1760.
In the early 1870s, the original Thomas Rice House was moved to 115 West Main Street. Moses Pollard built a farmhouse on the property in 1871.
The newly created Westborough Country Club bought the Pollard estate and large farmhouse in April 1921.The club built a complete recreation facility, featuring croquet, badminton, clay tennis courts, and a golf course. Later other sports were added, such as cross-country skiing and tobogganing.
In 1945 Bay State Abrasives bought the golf course as an amenity for its employees and permitted some of the general public to join. Dresser Industries bought Bay State in 1971, and in 1974 sold the country club of 108 acres, including 34 acres of conservation land, to the town of Westborough. The cost was $418,000.
Jack Negoshian worked as Westborough’s golf pro from 1988 until his retirement in 2021. He had been the assistant to his father Malcolm, who served as the pro in the 1960s and 1970s.
Negoshian shared some of the history of the course. “When the Westborough Country Club was founded in 1921, it was originally seven holes and was owned privately,” he explained. ”It was expanded to nine holes by greenskeeper Bill Spence in 1935, when he added the current third and fourth holes.” Spence served as greenskeeper for 40 years, from 1927-1967.
At the height of golf’s popularity in the late 1980s, the Westborough Country Club boasted about 430 members, including spouses and juniors. If you wanted to join, there was a five-year waiting list.
However, memberships began to decline in 2010, resulting in a low of 200 in 2018. After the increased interest in outdoor sports during the Covid pandemic, and added categories for young adults and seniors, the Westborough Golf Club now numbers nearly 300 members.
In 2018 the name officially changed to the Westborough Golf Club. It is operated by the Westborough Recreation Department with a golf manager and a golf course superintendent and staff under independent contract.
“In the early days, golfers would carry or pull their golf bags,” Negoshian noted. “There are no flat lies on the course—it’s always uphill, downhill, or sidehill.”
“Young boys first got involved in golf as caddies and learned the game that way,” he continued. “They also watched their parents play. With golf carts introduced in 1968, caddies weren’t needed anymore. Today the improved electric carts are very quiet, and
that’s an advantage to the players and the environment.”
To build youths’ interest and skills in golf, the Recreation Department offers varied summer programs. At Westborough High golf has become more and more popular. The Girls Golf and the Rangers Boys Golf teams practice and compete at the Westborough Golf Club very successfully.
“Mike Hightower has been the superintendent for 20 years and keeps the course in great shape,” said Negoshian, who plays golf there almost daily. “It was rare to have a golf course in a small town in the 1920s, and it still is a real benefit to the town.”