October 20, 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), Colin Walsh, Golf Course Superintendent, Jay Packett (Asst. Oper. Mgr.), Bill Meehan (Finance Committee liaison), Rob Harris (CCMGA), Sarah Robinson (19-Hole Women’s Assn.) and Donna Potts (9-HoleWomen’s Assn.).


THIS MEETING WAS HELD REMOTELY WITH AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDED. The meeting may be viewed at: http://video.brewster-ma.gov/CablecastPublicSite/show/4961?channel=1


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


Superintendent’s report:


  • Colin Walsh reported trouble with Pump No. 2 which will be taken care of later on this week. Other than that everything is going well.  Other repairs were noted.  The crew is getting the course ready for winter.  Plans are being made for next season.  John Kissida thanked Colin for clean-up on the driveway and the gardens.


Director’s report:


  • Mark O’Brien discussed the budget status report through September breaking down expenses by category.  Revenue reports were discussed.  Revenue comparisons January through September were almost the same as last year.  Play totals were up.  Budget projections were discussed and should show a surplus.  Fiscal year projections are up.  A “worst-case-scenario” was presented depending on the status of the pandemic.
  • FY22 budget preliminary starting point was presented. No capital expenses are included.
  • John Kissida asked if a contingency would be included. Mark O’Brien said a contingency should be discussed and included.  Jeff Odell asked about building the cash reserve which also needs to be included.  The capital plan will be discussed at the next meeting which Mark O’Brien has laid out for the next ten years and shows the retained earnings balance year-by-year going forward.
  • Rates: Mark O’Brien recommends all rates be kept the same for the 20-21 year and will be presented to the Selectboard in December.  Rates will be discussed at the November meeting.
  • Anne O’Connell asked why the rakes are not back in the bunkers. The state has said it’s OK to touch the flag sticks, but has not given a positive directive on bunker rakes.  The foam will be kept in the holes.
  • Dave Valcourt asked what the neighboring golf courses are doing as to their rates; Mark O’Brien understands they will be keeping their rates the same, Cranberry Valley has special rates for residents of various towns which will be eliminated over the next three years and will go back to regular rates.  Barnstable has recommended keeping their rates and greens fees the same.  Mark O’Brien will get rate information from the other courses before the next meeting.  He also suggested that if there are any questions regarding state regulations, they be directed to MA Golf, the lobbying arm for the golf industry.


Questions and comments from Associations and liaisons:


  • Bill Meehan indicated the various associations are very pleased with the way the golf course is running. Rob Harris is the new president of the CCMGA; they had a very successful year,  Memberships are down slightly to about 100 members, play has been phenomenal with 2-1/2 times more players weekly than usual.  Sara Robinson welcomed Colin Walsh and will have some questions in the latter part of the meeting.


Update on Captains Golf Course contribution to reduction of nitrogen in Pleasant Bay watershed:


  • Anne O’Connell reported this matter was discussed at the Selectboard meeting last night noting Captains was mentioned favorably on multiple occasions. Mark O’Brien had the opportunity to listen to the Selectboard meeting last night and has been involved with the Consultant, Horsley Whitten, represented by Mark Nelson, along with Chris Miller, Director of Natural Resources for the town and Ryan Bennett, the Town Planner.  This has been an ongoing effort that the town has been dealing with for a long time, and the golf course is an integral part of Brewster’s plan.  In its past practices the golf course has enabled the town to achieve a lot of the nitrogen goals that are required, and brought in the USGA Consulting Service.  Their consultant, Paul Jacobs, did a virtual review of the situation.  Tom Flynn and Dwight Wiggin provided him with information on past records, pictures, soil samples, etc. enabling him to give some recommendations.  On June 30 he came to the golf course and did a site review on order to look at the possibility of reducing the fairway areas that need maintaining, converting to rough the areas between the forward tee and the beginning of the fairway on certain holes in areas where appropriate.  Fertilizing practices will be changed to more frequent but smaller applications in order to reduce nitrogen, as opposed to broadly applying fertilizer once or twice a year.  This can be done without impacting the quality of play and will save the taxpayers millions of dollars.  Enhanced soil testing to study the leach rate of the fertilizers on the golf course was also discussed  They assume a 20 per cent leach rate and there’s a good chance that it’s less than that giving the town more credit towards achieving its goals. They are talking about possibly upgrading not replacing the main septic system by adding another component that would reduce the nitrogen that’s dispersed.  They assume the size of the septic system is equal to about 10 households which is an advantage in helping achieve the goals.  Any costs associated with these projects will be borne by the town, not the golf course.
  • Colin Walsh reported reducing the nitrogen rate to 2 pounds/thousand square feet is running very lean but it will work. He reported on the spring schedule using smaller doses without doing a blanket application.  Heavily trafficked areas may require a bigger dose.  Mark O’Brien views this as good news, promoting the golf course to non-golfers in town and benefitting the golfers.  Mark O’Brien suggested watching the Selectboard meeting from last night for informational purposes.  Discussion followed.
  • Sara Robinson expressed concern from the 18-holers regarding the reduced fairway areas. Discussion followed.


  • Revised refund policy:
  • There are two refund requests which fall under the category of a 2-year membership.


  • Jeff Odell made a motion, seconded by Carl Blanchard, to approve refunding Brad Bevers his resident early membership fee of $1,003.00   Motion passed 7-0.


  • Jeff Odell made a motion, seconded by Carl Blanchard, to approve refunding Frank Bridges his resident early membership fee of $1,003.00.  Motion passed 7-0.


  • Andrea Johnson made a motion, seconded by Jeff Odell, that the revised October 8 credit/refund policy be accepted. Motion passed 7-0.


  • Mark O’Brien will post this policy on the website.


  • Update on consultant report:


  • Mark O’Brien received everyone’s input and has incorporated it into the information he sent out.  Hopefully this report will be done by the end of January.


Update on irrigation study:


  • John Kissida reported on a meeting with Mark O’Brien, Andrea Johnson, and Colin Walsh. Mark O’Brien will incorporate everyone’s comments, send it out for review, check with Donna Kalnick regarding the necessary quotes and send it out sometime next week.


Update maintenance building study:


  • Carl Blanchard met with Mark O’Brien, Colin Walsh, Anne O’Connell and Dave Valcourt to discuss the RFP; it was decided to wait until the RFP and the consultant’s report are finalized and using any insights to help develop the RFP. Mark O’Brien indicated the timing for this was doable and will be sharing the final version with the people in their swim lanes.


Update on solar project:


  • Jeff Odell reported the Planning Board reached an impasse; four voting one abstaining, five is required. The current application was withdrawn without prejudice and refiled so all seven members can vote.  The same plan is to be resubmitted with updates, possibly to be approved in December.  There is an eight to ten-week delay.
  • Mark O’Brien reported the driving range project is moving forward and ready to go. Materials will be delivered at the end of this month, and the footings for the solar canopies should be poured by the first week of November.  When the canopies are being put up, the driving range will be shut down for about a month.  Discussion followed.




Topics the Chair did not reasonably anticipate:


  • Jay Packett reported that the pro shop sale through Columbus Day weekend brought in just shy of $11,000.00 and thanked the membership and staff for their support.
  • Mark O’Brien was able to provide tee times for a fundraiser for Freeman’s Grille. The weather was beautiful and the turn=out was great.  Thanks to Dave and Cheryl Villandry who organized this tournament.  Approximately $22,000 was raised. The girls from Andrea Johnson’s girls’ team were invaluable in their assistance to the Villandrys.
  • Wyn Morton thanked Jeff Odell for pointing out the article in MA Tourism publication listing The Captains as one of five notable courses in Massachusetts. Jen will convert this into a more in-depth article and will outsource it to one of her associates.
  • Mark O’Brien will be on vacation next week.


Future agenda items and meetings:


  • Report from Jerri Carlin regarding the Friends.
  • Rates
  • Capital plan
  • Approve calendar for next year
  • Outstanding minutes for approval


A motion to adjourn was made by John Kissida, seconded by Wyn Morton, and passed 7-0. The meeting was adjourned at 5:35 pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Dorothy Vesperman

Department Assistant



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.