May 14, 2013

Commissioners Present: Cindy Bingham (Chair), Jim Ehrhart (Vice Chair), Lori Arnold, Marc Fontaine, Anne O'Connell, Jeff Odell, Ed Pavlu


Others Present: Mark O'Brien (Director of Golf Operations), Steve Mann (Superintendent), Herb Montgomery (FinCom Liaison), Rob Harris (CCMGA)


Call to Order: Cindy Bingham called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, 2013.


A motion to approve the minutes of April 9, 2013 was made by Jim Ehrhart, seconded by Jeff Odell, motion passed 6-0-1 (Cindy Bingham abstained).


It was noted that Jim Foley's name was omitted from the list of attendees at the April 23, 2013 meeting. A motion to approve the amended minutes of April 23, 2013 was made by Jim Ehrhart, seconded by Jeff Odell, motion passed 7-0-0.


Public Comment: Rob Harris reported that the CCMGA (Captains Course Men's Golf Association) now has more than 200 members this year.  This is an increase over the number of members last year.  In addition, the CCMGA will be sponsoring a new event this year called The Captains Cup.  This “Ryder Cup”-style event will be held on June 21-23.  On Friday, June 21, there will be a pairings party where the player will be divided into two “countries” called Port and Starboard.  The golf will be held on the weekend afternoons.  Food will be provided on all three days.


Jeff Odell reported that the Friends of the Captains has paid an additional $5358 for the rest of the furniture for the outside seating.  The Women's Association contributed $500 towards the cost of “family tee markers” for the course.  The Friends are holding a “Welcome Back Snowbirds” tournament on Sunday, June 9.


Suggestion Box: Anne O'Connell received a question from Judy Miller asking about “the boxes for broken tees” on the course.  Steve Mann said that he still has some in inventory and those could be put out.  Other boxes were damaged last year and are being repaired by Cape Cod Tech.


Mike Austin sent a suggestion via email ( with several suggestions.  One suggestion was to allow Early ($850) and Non-Resident ($1500) members to call into the tee time reservation system earlier than everyone else.  Mark O'Brien said that Chelsea Systems, our software provider for the reservation system, said that this is indeed possible to implement.  Mark O'Brien said that he was not in favor of the suggestion as it was a huge advantage to call in early. Jeff Odell said that all of the “good” tee times would be used up by the early callers, even those times after 9:00am.  Jim Ehrhart said that he did not support this either. Cindy Bingham pointed out that currently everyone is competing equally for all of the times by calling in at 6pm. Mark O'Brien reported that we are currently filling most times up to 11pm, and this would greatly reduce the availability for the other members. Anne O'Connell said that Mike Austin's proposal was based on a way to get people to pay the additional fee for the additional benefit. Jeff Odell pointed out the new “weekend replay” special that was recently implemented to encourage daily fee players to play on Saturday AND Sunday.  Marc Fontaine stated that it was nice to know that Chelsea can implement this advance call-in period for future reference, and that people would probably pay an additional premium for this right.  There was agreement that we could not change something like this mid-year and it could only be considered as part of a total plan in the future.  Anne O'Connell will reply to Mike Austin.


Superintendent's Report: Golf Course is in good shape.


Steve Mann reported that aerification of both course was completed in a timely and efficient manner.  The process was completed in record time with our own staff.  There were no equipment breakdowns during the process.  In the Fall, an inter-municipal agreement with Harwich and Dennis will be in place for sharing equipment and labor.


The European Crane Fly continues to be a menace to the course.  It eats all parts of the grass.  Each female produces 300 eggs and there are estimated to be over 100,000 insects.


Summer help is starting soon in the maintenance areas.


Steve Mann thanked the Brewster Police Department for the donation of several shrubberies that they were removing.  Some of them have been placed on parts of the course already.


There was a problem with the irrigation system where around 15 of the remote satellite controllers were set into a “permanent hold” state.  This caused several parts of the course to not be watered even though the software was showing that it was being watered.  This was corrected before any damage to the turf occurred.


Jim Ehrhart asked the the “Tobin Bench” on 3-Port be straighten.


Director of Golf Operations Report: Mark O'Brien


Bob Magnuson requested that we accept a bench in memory of Steve Erickson to be placed on the course.  The cost would be borne by Bob Magnuson and Friends of Steve.  The inscription to read…


In Memory of Stephen C “Steve” Erickson

Dec 1, 1938 – Sep 27, 2012

Patriot, Conservationist, Golfer, Gentleman, and Friend

Hole In One

Port Number 5

August 2, 2005


A motion was made to allow a granite bench in memory of Steve Erickson to be placed on 5-Port. Motion by Jim Ehrhart, second by Jeff Odell. Motion passed 7-0-0.


Bill Mageean requested a refund of his 2013 Membership fees.  After deducting the daily fee cost of the two rounds he had played so far, the refund amounts to $670.  A motion was made to grant the refund by Marc Fontaine, seconded by Anne O'Connell, passed 7-0-0.


Herb Montgomery was introduced as the new Finance Committee Liaison to the Golf Commission.



Membership Data through April 30, 2013





Early ($850)




Morning ($750)




Twilight ($399)




Adult Resident Totals




Charter ($1300)




Non-Resident ($1500)




Resident Junior ($175)




N-R Juniors ($250)









Jim Ehrhart asked what towns the additional Non-resident members are from.  Mark O'Brien did not know at the meeting. Jim Ehrhart asked for that information to be provided to the commissioners.  Mark O'Brien wants to do a survey of all new members at the end of June when the membership season is winding down.


Mark O'Brien presented the financial information for April, Calendar YTD, and Fiscal YTD. The weather in April was not very good for golf with temperatures in the high 40s to low 50s for most of the month.  The last weekend was better with sunny skies and around 60 degrees. There were 1,899 daily fee rounds compared to 2,031 last April.  The beginning of May has also seen better weather and play.  Pro shop revenues for April were up over 50% year-over-year ($22K vs $14.6K).


A revised FY13 budget was prepared a few months ago during the budget process for FY14.  The FY13 is within a few hundred dollars of those revised projections.  Hopefully, we can outperform in May and June.


Cindy Bingham noted that the weather off-Cape was nicer than the weather on the Cape during April and this hurt revenues.


Marc Fontaine asked when we will set the tee time allocation ratios for members.  Cindy Bingham answered that we will set that in June.  For the past two years, the member ratio has been 50% on one course and 12.5% on the second course throughout the summer.


Herb Montgomery, the new FinCom Liaison, asked why the $45,000 entry on the long-range budget worksheet did not appear in FY14 and beyond.  Mark O'Brien explained that these monies were the result in the one-time sale of some land at the edge of the golf course to a developer.


Herb Montgomery asked about the item on the financial statements entitled “Less Anticipated Indirect Costs” which is currently $365,782.50 in FY13 through April 30, 2013.  Mark O'Brien said this was fringe benefits, health insurance, and liability insurance.  Herb Montgomery asked why we had used up everything in the revised budget ($366,000) already with two months to go.  Mark O'Brien explained that “liability insurance” had a separate line item of approximately $55,000, so that there was still enough money in the budget to get to the end of FY13.  He also noted that the unemployment should be less than budgeted ($60K actual vs. $70 budget).


Mark O'Brien mentioned that we have 102 players for this weekend's Member/Member Club tournament.


The driving range vehicle is not operating because of a faulty transmission.  He is looking to lease a vehicle temporarily until a permanent solution is found.


We have several new staff members this year.  Mark is currently training these new employees.


Lori Arnold asked about the Open House event during Brewster in Bloom weekend.  Mark O'Brien answered that we had big crowds.  It was reported that there was a large group of people at the driving range with people waiting in line for a spot on the range.  Representatives from Nike and Callaway were at the range demonstrating their new offerings.  Approximately 35 people we at the putting and chipping clinics held by Head Professionals Jay Packett and Steve Knowles.  The Putting Contest was also well attended.


A Member Orientation meeting was also held that day and drew more people than in the past (about 20 people).  There were a few people at the meeting that were not members, and we got some people (1-3?) to join as a result of the meeting.  Anne O'Connell reported that the Women's 9-Hole Association picked up a couple of new members with at least one as a results of the meeting.


Mark O'Brien reported that Marcy, our Public Relations Representative, is organizing a “Media Day” event for be held on June 21.  Golf and lunch for 8-10 media people is being set up to gain additional exposure for the course in the press.  We have been making regular press releases and publish “The Captains Corner” golf tips in The Cape Codder.  The Back Nine Cafe recently received an excellent review from The Cape Cod Times.  Mary Stengel will be presenting a comprehensive advertising plan in a couple of weeks.


Cindy Bingham asked if we could do some “Saturday Workshops”.  She reported that some area courses have been offering free clinics that are drawing 50-60 people for each event.  Mark O'Brien replied that staffing these events on weekends would be a difficult challenge.  Cindy suggested that the event could be timed to coincide with a shift change.


Jim Ehrhart asked if we had had any luck with recent incentives, such as the “weekend replay” offer.  Mark O'Brien said that is too early to tell so far as the program just started.


Cindy Bingham asked if we could print out coupons on the back of our receipts or after the receipt.  Mark O'Brien said that we currently handing out pre-printed coupons on Saturday to people.  Cindy Bingham asked if Sunday still had unused tee times because the tee sheet looked full.  Mark O'Brien explained that members are filling in the unused tee times at 8pm on Saturday night, but that there are still daily fee tee times that could be sold.


Jim Ehrhart asked about having the Golf Cart Attendant policing people that are sneaking onto the course after the pro shop closes.  There was much discussion about the problems, but Mark felt that it would not help generate any revenue.  Mark said that he would instruct the Attendant to monitor the situation.


Cindy Bingham asked that all Commissioners start researching golf rates for next year.  She asked that everyone “do their homework” now as everything always seems so rushed when we begin looking at rates. Jeff Odell stated that our PR firm should be coordinating their efforts with our rate announcement, hopefully before Christmas so that people could give golf gifts.


Jeff Odell reported that the Brewster Sign By-Law failed to pass at the Spring Town Meeting. He reported that after the recent excellent review of The Back Nine Cafe, people have had trouble finding the restaurant because they has been denied a sign by the Building Department.  The Town's position is that The Captains Golf Course and The Back Nine Cafe are a single business. Mark O'Brien stated that he is not against a separate sign for the restaurant, however, it is The Back Nine Cafe's job to appeal the decision.  Jim Ehrhart suggested that we might be entitled to a second sign at the other driveway because of our frontage and that if the restaurant would pay for the sign, then we could install it.


Marc Fontaine asked about the new development being built in Harwich near 7-Starboard.  Mark O'Brien spoke with Bill Marsh today.  Mr. Marsh indicted that he wanted to be a “good neighbor” and suggested that he meet with Mark O'Brien, Charles Sumner (Town Administrator), and a member of Golf Commission.  Jim Ehrhart volunteered to be at the meeting.


Mark O'Brien stated that there are new “Out-Of-Bounds” (white) stakes on the course as a result of this development.  There are stake behind 4-Port green, 5-Starboard green, and left of 6-Starboard Tee Box.  The most obvious white stakes are located along the left side of 7-Starboard all the way from the tee to the top of the hill.


At 5:13, a motion to adjourn was made by Jim Ehrhart, seconded by Lori Arnold, passed 7-0-0.


Next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. at The Captains Golf Course conference room.


Respectfully Submitted,

Rob Harris

The Pro Shop is closed to the public until further notice. Face coverings must be worn at all times on the Captains Golf Course property. 18-Hole riding carts are restricted to those with a 12:00 tee time or earlier and 9-Hole riding carts are restricted to those with a 1:57 tee time or earlier. The driving range is closed until further notice and the Freemans Grill is closed for the season. RENTAL CLUBS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. Non-Member tee times may be reserved up to two days in advance. Reservations are required for all play - WALK-ONS ARE NOT PERMITTED.