Commissioners Present: Rob Harris (Chair), Jim Ehrhart (Vice-Chair), Cindy Bingham, Anne O'Connell, Ed Pavlu, Jeff Odell, and Marc Fontaine.
Others Present: Mark O'Brien (Director of Golf Operations), Judy McCarthy (Women’s 18-Hole Assn.), Sharon Marotti (Women’s 9-Hole Assn.) and Jerri Carlin (Friends of the Captains), Herb Montgomery (FinCom liaison), and many others in the audience.
This meeting was held at the Town Hall and was televised. The video of the meeting may be viewed at: http://view.earthchannel.com/PlayerFlex.aspx?PGD=brewsterma&eID=558
Call to Order: Rob Harris called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.
- Jerri Carlin reported that the Friends of the Captains ran the closest to the pin contest for the Brewster in Bloom weekend. The raised approximately $1,400 in total. Of this $1,000 went to the scholarship fund administered by the Brewster Chamber of Commerce with the balance of the monies after expenses going to the Friends of the Captains. The Friends next project is purchasing and installing enclosures for the water coolers. They will not be going forward with the rain shelters as it was felt there could be some problems associated with them. The purchase of the patio chairs and tables is complete.
- Sharon Marotti reported that the 9-Hole Women’s Association currently has 89 members, 13 of which are social members, and 4 on the disabled list, leaving 72 active members.
Correspondence and Suggestion Box:
- Anne O’Connell received a suggestion from Jane Donoghue regarding the divot mix bottles not always being full. This has been an ongoing issue. Anne stated that they were fine today and Mark O’Brien stated that he and the other managers will stay on top of the rangers and cart men to keep them filled. In the suggestion it was asked if we could have the rangers carry spare divot mix bottles and a spare water jug. Mark O’Brien stated he would institute that once we had full staff on board.
- There was a suggestion from a member asking why a member could not have a non-member play with him in the Couples Championship. Mark O’Brien replied that this is a member only tournament and is a benefit of being a member.
- Anne O’Connell had a couple of people ask why the soda machine at the Port 10th tee was not working. Mark O’Brien replied that he would talk to them about getting that running again.
Superintendent’s Report (Pete Ervin):
Pete Ervin was not able to attend the meeting. He prepared the following report that was read by Mark O’Brien:
Golf Commission Report for May 12, 2014
· Aeration at Harwich and Dennis went well and were completed successfully May 6th. Our greens have healed nicely and will be in good shape heading into this weekend’s Member/Member tournament. Growth regulators to limit clipping yields have been applied as well as early rounds of insecticide and fungicides.
· A slow released Fertilizer with crabgrass control has been applied to tees, rough’s, fairways and bunkers and will be “kicking in” as temperatures continue to rise and capsules begin to break down. These products were applied “in-house” by our maintenance staff and they did a great job!
· Most of the Stump holes and construction damage from winter tree work have been cleaned up, loamed and seeded and we are watching anxiously for germination in these areas. Most notably around the 6th Starboard green, right of 8 Starboard green and behind 8 and 18 Port greens. As well as others throughout.
· The driving range has been aerated seeded and fertilized as well so the turf on the range tee should be improving from here forward.
· The first Crane flies were observed here on Friday May 2nd and have been flying around for the past two weeks. Insecticidal controls are being applied this week. As university research continues to develop, this “new” golf course pest has been the subject of many conversations with my peers and university reports. Our strategy will be preventative/systemic in nature. That means that as overwintering insects have emerged from the ground in the past few weeks, they have been laying eggs. These eggs take 10-14 days to hatch. As these eggs hatch they need to feed and are in the weakest “grub” stage of development and should be at their most vulnerable. A combination insecticide is being applied to Fairways, Greens and Tees during this week and should provide systemic control. As the young larvae hatch and nibble on treated plants in the coming weeks, they should ingest the chemical and die, thus reducing the amount of damage from thinning turf during the season and lowering populations for the fall and second generation. We will be monitoring this pest closely and adjusting as the season continues if need be.
I am looking forward to seeing you all in the weeks to come and answering any questions you may have. Please feel free to stop me and ask anything you like. Thank you.
- Anne O’Connell asked if Pete could look at the path from 11 Port green to 12 Port tee that goes through the woods for walkers. It is all dirt and if it gets wet it could be hazardous.
- Marc Fontaine added that Pete has been doing a great job with the traps, edging them and putting in better sand and he should be commended.
- Rob Harris added that the maintenance staff as a whole has been doing a great job and they have been very courteous around the golfers.
Director of Operations Report (Mark O’Brien):
· Mark O’Brien reported on the financials for April. The weather was awful. The play totals for both member and non-member play were the worst ever. As compared to last year, green fees were down by $11,000, cart fees were down by $7,000, and pro shop sales were down by $12,000. We did have some savings in wages and our general expenses for the month were down. However, we do have a $13,000 repair to the pump drive that will be paid next month. Membership revenue was up for the month, but we are still down by $27,000 for the calendar year and $18,000 for the fiscal year. Mark O’Brien stated that he feels people are staying in Florida longer due to the poor weather and as the weather improves the membership revenue will begin to catch up.
· Marc Fontaine noted that although the total membership revenue is down, the non-resident membership is up and he feels this is very encouraging, especially considering the aggressive push the other courses are making for non-resident memberships.
· Mark O’Brien stated that he feels the Twilight membership program for both residents and non-residents has been a success. He is noticing that many people signing up for this category were members five or six years ago and had stopped playing, but are now coming back for this lower fee.
Golf Commission Policy Regarding Block Times:
- Rob Harris introduced the background to this topic by explaining that at the December meeting when the schedule for the year was being adopted that the Commission request from the Women’s 18-Hole and Women’s 9-Hole Associations letters justifying their reasons for having a handicap restriction for joining their associations. The Men’s Association has no such restriction. Both of the women’s associations submitted letters explaining their positions which have been distributed to the Commission (see attached). Rob then invited any representatives of the associations to speak before the Commission discussed the matter.
- Sharon Marotti, President of the Women’s 9-Hole Association, reported that they surveyed their members and that ¾ were in favor of keeping the handicap restriction.
- Judy McCarthy, President of the Women’s 18-Hole Association reported that they surveyed their membership as well and they had a 92% response rate. Of those that responded 94% were in favor of keeping the handicap restriction. She also noted that their association does a lot of volunteer work for the course and holds events that raise money for charity. She also noted that 1/3 of their membership are non-resident members paying the highest rate. Rob Harris asked her how many members there are in the association and she responded 64.
- Jim Ehrhart asked why we are bringing up this subject when there doesn’t seem to be any real issue with the policy. Rob Harris replied that speaking for himself; he believes the associations’ handicap restriction policy goes against the spirit of a municipal course in that it excludes some people from participating. In addition, he noted that the husband of a woman expressed a complaint to Ed Pavlu that she could not participate in the Women’s 9-Hole Association block time because her handicap was too high.
- Ed Pavlu confirmed that the complaint was made and apparently after the fact the woman learned that she was grandfathered and could join the association. However, he did say that he agrees with Rob in that the association block tee times are a privilege and that all members should be allowed to participate regardless of their handicap.
- Jim Ehrhart said he doesn’t think we should be trying to fix a problem that really doesn’t exist, considering there are only one or two people that we know of that have a problem with the policy.
- Jeff Odell said that he agrees with Ed Pavlu in that part of our charter is to provide recreation for Brewster residents and that telling people they cannot participate in a block time that is granted by the Golf Commission is not right.
- Cindy Bingham stated that the associations are separate entities from the golf course. She also stated that the Women’s 18-Hole Association was the first block time granted by the Golf Commission in 1985 and that as far back as the records show (back to 1990) there was always a handicap restriction of 36. She does not think it is right to tell the associations that they have to change their bylaws or else the Commission will take away the block times. In addition she stated that the policy has been vetted by town council and is lawful. (See attached legal opinion).
- Rob Harris asked Mark O’Brien for his opinion. Mark stated that he feels the associations are a valuable asset to the course and as such all members should be allowed to participate in them.
- Marc Fontaine suggested that we try to find a way to work with the few people who are affected by the handicap restriction.
- Anne O’Connell said that it would be a big mistake to eliminate the association block times as it would have a detrimental impact on membership revenues.
- Ed Pavlu said he just wanted to have a fair policy. He did not have the intention of eliminating block times.
- Public comments:
- Sharon Marrotti asked if slow play penalty points would be assessed to all players in a slow group, which would be a problem if high handicappers were allowed to play. Mark O’Brien reported that no slow play penalties have been issued so far this year and that the staff has a lot of discretion in issuing those penalties.
- Ed Lewis said that women can join the association if they don’t meet the handicap requirement, they just can’t play in the events. He said the women’s associations at the Captains are the best on Cape Cod.
- Sandy Delnickas said the women’s associations are well run and that she chose to join Captains as a non-resident member because of the Women’s 18-Hole Association.
- Pauline Anderson echoed Sandy Delnickas’ comments.
- Lorraine Harvey said that she was a high handicapper that worked hard to lower her handicap so she could participate in the association. She supports the handicap restriction.
- Orin Segall asked Cindy Bingham what the requirement was to join the Cape Cod Women’s Golf League. Cindy said it was 24.5.
- Jean Holm said she joined as a Twilight member and wanted to play in the Women’s 9-Hole Association so she upgraded to a Morning membership and established a handicap. She said it was not that hard to get the handicap and if she could not meet the requirement she would have stayed a Twilight member.
- Melanie Gallagher said she is a Charter Non-resident member (29 years a member) and the associations are an important part of Captains and the handicap restriction has always been in place and should not be changed now.
- Barbara Long said she has also been a member since 1985 and echoed Melanie Gallagher’s comments.
- Pat O’Keefe stated that she is a non-resident member that joined Captains because of the Women’s 18-Hole Association. She said the policy should not be changed and doesn’t think it’s right that these types of issues regarding the association block times come up every year.
- Marc Fontaine suggested creating a beginner’s league. Mark O’Brien doubted that there would be enough interest of beginners that wanted to play in a competition to support a league.
- Jim Ehrhart reiterated his opposition to this policy, but said it should be voted on today once and for all.
- Rob Harris stated that he felt the handicap restriction was discriminatory to the elderly whose skills have diminished as they have aged.
- Joanne Liberles stated that the discrimination question has been asked and answered by town counsel.
- Judy McCarthy reiterated that women can join as social members even if they do not participate in the tournaments and that a number of women do this. She also warned that we would lose a number of members if the policy were implemented eliminating the handicap requirement.
- Jo O’Connell said that the 9-Hole Association has a mentoring program and there has never been an issue before regarding the handicap policy. They work hard on pace of play and lifting the restriction could hurt that.
- Rob Harris made a motion that effective January 1, 2015, the Golf Commission would grant block times only to associations that do not restrict participation based on handicap. Marc Fontaine seconded the motion. Discussion followed:
- Cindy Bingham said that if this policy is approved it is essentially blackmail or extortion in that if the associations do not change their policy, then they will lose their block time. Rob Harris told Cindy Bingham that that comment was out of order, and asked if she was actually accusing the Chair of extortion. She said yes by that statement you made.
- Jim Ehrhart again voiced his opposition.
- Ed Pavlu asked if we could get more information about who was out there that may wish to play in the associations but currently cannot.
- Jeff Odell felt it was premature to vote on this now.
- Anne O’Connell called the question.
- The vote on the motion was 1 in favor (Rob Harris) and 6 against. The motion failed.
- Mark O’Brien requested to meet with the associations to find out in more detail what their programs are for handling people that do not meet the handicap requirements. He will follow up.
- Cindy Bingham wanted our marketing person to make a report to the Commission regarding past and future marketing programs. Mark O’Brien will be meeting with the marketing representative and have her meet with the commission or have a report prepared for the next commission meeting.
- Jeff Odell asked about the status of the family tees for the Port Course and he was told that they are done.
- Jeff Odell asked about benches at the range. Mark O’Brien replied that there will be three or four benches at the back of the tee box.
- Cindy Bingham stated that the building is need of some repair in regard to rotten wood and painting.
- Cindy Bingham said that she feels that we should have the course re-rated and the forward tees should be rated for men. Mark O’Brien said he would contact MGA.
- Mark O’Brien submitted a request from Elizabeth Gorrigan to have a bench donated in memory of John Gorrigan, one of our former employees. Cindy Bingham felt that the benches should be more functional. Anne O’Connell made a motion to approve the bench, seconded by Jim Ehrhart. Discussion. Ed Lewis cautioned having benches for people who were not members. Cindy Bingham made a motion to indefinitely postpone the motion, seconded by Rob Harris. This motion was approved unanimously. Jim Ehrhart asked if Mark O’Brien would provide the Commission with a copy of the bench policy.
- Mark O’Brien presented a request for a refund of a Morning membership for medical reasons. The person played three times and the appropriate green fees would have amounted to $155 so the refund would be for $595. Jim Ehrhart made a motion to approve the refund, seconded by Anne O’Connell. The motion was approved unanimously.
- Mark O’Brien presented a request from a non-resident member to pro rate his membership because he is not able to join until June. No action was taken.
Approval of past meeting minutes:
- Anne O’Connell made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 15, 2014 as amended by Cindy Bingham, seconded by Marc Fontaine. Motion approved 6 in favor with one abstention (Jim Ehrhart).
Jim Ehrhart made a motion, seconded by Anne O’Connell to adjourn the meeting. The motion was approved unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
Mark O’Brien, Director of Operations
18-Hle Wmen’s Associatin
April 16, 2014
Brewster Golf Commission:
“The Brewster Golf Commission is requesting that the associations present a letter to the Golf Commission by Wednesday, April 30, 2014 stating the justification for the handicap requirement for members to be able to participate in the block times granted by the Golf Commission.”*
*from a letter sent to the Women’s Associations dated Feb. 19, 2014
This is in response to your Feb. 19, 2014 letter. The right of the associations to establish ability requirements for participation in their block times was reviewed and approved by the Town Counsel in Dec. 2009. Further, she found no barrier to the Golf Commission’s approving block tee times for such association play, which it has done annually.
The Captains Women’s Associations have had a maximum index/handicap member-ship eligibility by-law for the past 25 years. It has motivated players to improve their skills and lower their handicaps in order to belong to the Associations. Pace of play is a major priority for the Women’s Associations as well as the Captains. Typically, faster players are those with lower handicaps.
The 18-Hole Women’s Association provides a substantial financial contribution to the Captains Golf Course and the Town of Brewster. In 2013, all but one of our (resident) members paid the extra $100 premium to remain eligible to play in the Association’s early morning block time. Our new non-resident golfers and many of our current non-resident members cite the Association and its weekly play as the major reason that they choose to belong to the Captains. This is especially noteworthy given the lower non-resident membership rates offered by nearby municipal courses. These are strong indicators of the value our membership places on the Association and its block time.
Town Counsel stated that “The fact that the independent associations are playing at the Captains Golf Course, and their block times have been approved by the Golf Com-mission, does not require them to open their block times to all annual members of the Captains Golf Course. Nor does it prevent them from imposing ability requirements for those block times.” We ask that the Golf Commission consider this legal opinion when they discuss Association ability requirements and block times.
Judy McCarthy, President
18-Hole Women’s Association
April 14, 2014
To: Captain’s Golf Course Golf Commission
Re: Justification for Handicap Requirement
The Captain’s Golf Course Women’s 9 Hole Association has had a handicap requirement of 27 or lower after 10 rounds of golf for new players since 2010. Prior to that, the requirement was 30 or lower for new players after 5 rounds of golf. The handicap requirement was lowered in 2010 because, at the time, our League was having a problem with maintaining the pace of play. At times the pace of play was not fast enough to facilitate clearing the back 9 in time for the front 9 players who were making the turn to the back 9.
Despite a lot of juggling of slower players, we still had gaps in play caused, in large part, by the slow play and inexperience of some of the newer members.
Since the lowering of the handicap requirement, our pace of play has increased tremendously.
We do not think it is unreasonable to request that our new players have some familiarity with both the technical aspects of golf, as well as the rules of play. To that end, we feel that by playing a minimum of 10 rounds of golf to achieve a 27 or below handicap will demonstrate that both of these things are accomplished. Prior to achieving this, we do provide mentors who will be happy to go out and play with a potential member on non-league days to enable her to get in her 10 rounds of golf.
Further, in light of the new Chelsea point system, it appears that if one
player within a group holds up the entire group, all of the individuals in that group could be penalized with 2 points. We feel this could unfairly impact players, who through no fault of their own, could be slowed down by an inexperienced player.
We do monitor our own pace of play throughout the season, and if it appears any player is consistently holding back a foursome, the problem is addressed with the individual player. We might point out that once a player has become a member of the 9 Hole Association, we do not require them to maintain that handicap. We feel that a familiarity with the game of golf as well as the proper procedures and rules are enough to enable us to maintain the pace of play required by the course.
Captain’s Golf Course Women’s 9 Hole Association