Falmouth Golf Course Rehabilitation

Location:  630 Carriage Shop Road
Applicant: Town of Falmouth
Grant: $229,283 and $50,000
Year/Article: November 2014, A42 and November 2015, A36

In 2003 Falmouth purchased the 240-acre Country Club and Golf Course on Carriage Shop Road in East Falmouth for a total cost of $15.8 million. The purchase preserved valuable open space, a recreational facility for all ages, and eliminated the possibility of redevelopment of the property with as many as 300 housing units. A golf bond provided $6.5 million, $3 million was structured as part of the Cape Cod Land Bank debt to be paid from the Community Preservation Fund through 2035, The 300 Committee contributed $3 million, and the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment contributed $3.3 million. The operation of the club and golf course were contracted to a professional golf club operator. The golf bond is being repaid from golf course revenues and, under the agreement with the club operator, the Town will begin receiving a portion of revenues when they reach a certain threshold.

The country club and golf course provide more than a recreational facility for Falmouth residents and guests. It also provides open space, wildlife, and plant habitat protection. The club is located next to cranberry bogs and includes an important inland water body known as Bournes Brook. The river broadens before the 14th green and flows into the pump house, where it provides water for irrigation. The habitat serves and protects deer, coyote, fox, turtles, fish, hawks, osprey, blue heron, redwing blackbirds, bluebirds, swallows, flickers, ducks, muskrats, and rabbits, among others. Both the Town and the operator place considerable value on environmental stewardship. In the first ten years of operation as a town facility, the Club was awarded Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary Certification, one of three such clubs in Massachusetts. It also received a certificate for Wildlife and Habitat Management and for environmental planning.

The golf course is attractive to players of all ages – who play an average 42,000 rounds each year – without adding a burden to Falmouth taxpayers. Golf is free to juniors and the Falmouth Recreation Department provides golf lessons at the club. The course is home for men’s and women’s high school golf programs. The flat terrain and nine-hole option make the course especially viable for seniors and supports several senior groups. The club also serves as a venue for community outings and fundraisers for Falmouth organizations and institutions, such as the Chamber of Commerce, churches, nonprofits and businesses.

In 2014 the Town approached the Community Preservation Committee requesting $800,000 to pay for replacement of the old, fully depreciated irrigation system serving the Talon 9-Hole Course and nine holes of the Championship Course at Falmouth Country Club. Other capital improvements brought the total project cost to almost $2 million, the balance of which would be provided through club operations with the possible exception of parking lot repairs, to be provided by the Town. Replacing the deteriorated irrigation system with a new state-of-the-art, more efficient and effective, would reduce the consumption of electricity and water use and run-off. It would better manage soil moisture and reduce the need for use of plant protectants and fertility aids. Equally important, it would improve the quality of the course, enhancing aesthetics, playability, and revenues.

The CPFund provided $229,283 in 2014 and an additional $50,000 in 2015. By then the cost of replacing the irrigation system was expected to be closer to $1.2 million. Town Meeting matched the CPFund grant of $229,283 in 2014 and appropriated an additional $500,000 in November 2015 for a total of $1 million. Under its contract with the operator, the Town must have the total amount committed by April of 2018.

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