August 11, 2020

Commissioners Present: Anne O’Connell (Chair), Andrea Johnson (Vice-Chair), Carl Blanchard, John Kissida, Wyn Morton, Jeff Odell, and David Valcourt

 

Others Present: Mark O’Brien (Director of Operations), Jay Packett (Asst. Oper. Mgr.), Bill Meehan (Finance Committee liaison), Bill O’Brien (CCMGA), and Donna Potts (9-Holers Assn.).

 

THIS MEETING WAS HELD REMOTELY WITH AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDED. The meeting may be viewed at: http://video.brewster-ma.gov/CablecastPublicSite/show/4827?channel=1

 

Anne O’Connell called the meeting to order at 4:00 pm after reading remote meeting guidelines and procedures.

 

Director’s report:

 

  • Mark O’Brien expressed his thanks to the staff for their work during these most trying times. This is the time during the golf season when stress levels are normally high and the fact that the golf course has been extremely busy makes it even higher.   To add to this within the next week or two 25 per cent of the staff will be leaving creating a shortage in help and possibly some changes in services which will be dealt with as they arise.  He does not expect that revenues will be affected.  Steve Knowles is doing a great job jockeying the schedule.  Wynn Morton asked if the golf course is advertising for help; Mark O’Brien advised that there has been one response to the ads.
  • Jay Packett reported a record or the month of July with revenues up in every category except for the pro shop which is attributable to the lack of foot traffic. Discussion followed. It appears the revenues for August will also be up.
  • Mark O’Brien discussed the budget and capital expenses.
  • There was a question from Rob Harris as to whether the golf course has been impacted by Gov. Baker’s travel restrictions. Mark O’Brien said that current revenues are up not showing any kind of a drop-off.
  • Freemans Grille has a lease extension in place until 12/31/21. The current year’s lease has been adjusted to reflect current conditions.

 

  • The maintenance staff is continuing to do a great job keeping up. There is a moderate drought on Cape Cod and there are requirements when that kick in regarding water usage–the height of green cuts to reduce the need for watering, watering flower beds, etc.  Water usage is in good shape to stay within the permit.
  • Fall aeration is on schedule.
  • The use of cup lifters will be replaced with noodles.
  • Mark O’Brien recommends starting off-season membership on September 1 and raising last year’s fees by 5 per cent. .Jeff Odell suggested off-season memberships start the Tuesday or Wednesday after Labor Day.
  • Jeff Odell made a motion to accept the off-season membership rates as presented starting the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend at a 5 per cent increase in the rates of each category over the rates of last year. Seconded by John Kissida. Motion passed 7-0.
  • An email was received from Rob Harris: Was there consideration given to the fact that Freemans Grille is unable to use the pavilion for functions because of executive orders of the governor?  It seems to me that they are unable to utilize the full benefit of their lease.  Mark O’Brien replied that from the discussions held with Donna, Peter, Sean and himself he believes that the procurement laws do not allows the lease to be substantially changed to a further extent than what they did.  Sean has had further discussions with Donna and he does not believe that there has been any movement in that regard.

 

Concerns and questions about golf course operations:

 

  • There have been several emails received: the first one regarding the use of masks. Mark O’Brien reported that in the guidance as far as wearing masks at the course is people are required to wear a mask in the building; they are required to wear a mask on the putting green; they are required to wear a mask at the driving range.  They are not required to wear a mask if they can reasonably socially distance outdoors. There is no recommendation that people wear a mask other than in the areas mentioned.  There is signage in those areas.  He also indicated that this is very difficult to police.  It is not a requirement that people be told to wear a mask until they get to the first tee. He has not seen anyone come into the shop without a mask.  Since there are no coffee or lunch breaks. there are times when the staff needs to remove their masks: having coffee, etc. or eating lunch.  More than groups of three foursomes are not allowed; those are the types of groups that are difficult to manage.  There is signage on both sides of the putting green.  The number of holes has been reduced to control the number of people there. Wyn Morton suggested more holes might allow people to stay further apart.  Discussion followed.
  • The timing of the sprinkler system was explained..
  • Jay Packet talked about the divot issue, saying it is not going along as he anticipated and suggested another email blast could help. Jeff Odell suggested a group of volunteers might be helpful.

 

  • Questions and comments from Associations and liaisons:

 

  • An email was received from Don Patterson complimenting the use of masks and etiquette signs on the cart windshields. He suggested posts and ropes be used to keep carts on the paths. Mark O’Brien will discuss this with Tom Flynn and Dwight Wiggin.
  • Bill O’Brien thanked the staff and said the membership is pleased with the way things are going.
  • Bill Meehan commented on the condition of greens and on irrigation especially during a drought.

 

Refund requests:

 

  • There have been a few requests for refunds; one was from the gentleman who was turned down last time because he did not submit his request prior to the cut-off date of June 30. The second was from a gentleman who had an unfortunate accident recently and can’t play golf; both are aware of the refund policy.  Bill O’Brien indicated that one of these gentlemen did not join the golf course  until after the cut-off date. Discussion followed.
  • A motion was made by Dave Valcourt, seconded by John Kissida to defer each of these two requests and to revisit the refund and credit policy at the September 22 meeting. Motion passed 7-0.  Andrea Johnson will have a draft updating the refund and credit policy ready to be discussed at the next meeting.

 

Update on solar project:

 

  • The golf commission is scheduled to appear before the planning board tomorrow night. The planning board accepts questions before and after their meeting.

 

 

Superintendent search

 

  • John Kissida reported after interviewing five candidates, two recommendations, both of whom are superintendents at other courses, were sent to the manager’s office. The top picks are meeting this week with the maintenance staff, Peter Lombardi and Mark O’Brien for a final decision.  The town expects to have someone on board this fall in preparation for winter and spring.
  • Steve Mann is no longer on board as a consultant. Based on the scope of work it was mutually agreed it wasn’t necessary for him to continue. The person chosen as superintendent will be the consultant going forward.

 

Strategic planning process:

 

  • There will be a special meeting for golf commissioners only on September 1 at 4 p.m and will be televised. Wynn Morton is unable to be at the meeting; he and Anne O’Connell will meet before the meeting and Anne will act as his proxy.  Dave Valcourt presented upcoming plans. Discussion followed.

 

Approve Minutes:

 

  • A motion was made by Wynn Morton, seconded by John Kissida to approve the minutes of July 14 as amended. Motion approved 7-0.

 

 

Future agenda items and meetings:

 

  • Revised refund policy
  • Proposal from National Golf Foundaton
  • Introduction of greens superintendent

 

A motion to adjourn was made by Andrea Johnson,  seconded by John Kissida, and passed 7-0.

Meeting was adjourned at 5:33 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Dorothy Vesperman

Department Assistant

 

 

The Golf Course is closed on Thanksgiving Day. We wish you and your loved ones a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
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