Fellow Members of Captains!

It is hard to believe that summer weather and the annual tourist surge on the Cape are in our rearview mirror! As the Captains’ Fall season begins, so will the migration of our Cape Cod golfing snowbirds seeking warmer weather and softer greens. For us year-rounders who remain, we look forward to crisp mornings with breath-taking foliage, an occasional invocation of “the leaf rule”, and more open tee times. In this edition of the State of Captains, your golf commission would like to take the opportunity to reflect on this past season, share with you the planned course work over the next few months, and finally provide you awareness of some of our headwinds and challenges that lie ahead in future seasons.

Before getting started, it is appropriate to mention several recent transitions on the golf commission. Anne O’Connell ended her tenure as the commission’s chair, passing the leadership duties to Andrea Johnson, previously our Vice-Chair. We extend our most sincere appreciation and thanks to Anne for her leadership and energy over the past several years. Anne will continue service as a commission member. We enthusiastically welcome Andrea as the commission’s new chair, as well as John Kissida now serving as the Vice-Chair. In addition to the commission leadership transitions, two commissioners have recently completed their service, and two new commissioners have been brought on board. Jeff Odell tirelessly served on the commission for 14 years. He will always be remembered for being our institutional memory and most recently for spearheading the solar projects and practice range improvements. Wyn Morton who was the energy and intellect behind our website and advertising efforts has also completed his service on the commission after two 3-year terms. We cannot thank both Jeff and Wyn enough for their enduring contributions and tireless commitment to make Captains the premier public course on Cape Cod. We welcome our newest additions to the golf commission, Jay Paggi and most recently Jim Juras. Both Jay and Jim bring with them a wealth of golf course-relevant experience, eagerness to serve, and a love of the game.

2023 Assessment

“The State of Captains” remains strong and is getting stronger! In FY 2023, our first year as an enterprise fund, Captains successfully executed its budget, continued sustainment of a strong membership, and maintained exceptional playing conditions, while understaffed and supporting near record play totals over 36 holes.

Captains has enjoyed a very busy year! As of the end of September, Captains has recorded 76,508 rounds for the 2023 golf season despite frequent weekend rains and is slightly ahead of last year’s play. Our Director of Golf, Jay Packett, noted that during past years, the Labor Day holiday would often mark a decrease in play, as visiting golfers returned home. Surprisingly, this year’s Labor Day holiday saw over 2300 rounds played during the 4-day holiday with between 560-570 rounds per day! Jay remarked, with a weary but prideful face, that “This was a good problem to have.” Our successful season certainly benefitted from kind weather, however, it clearly has been the tireless efforts of our golf superintendent, Colin Walsh, supported by his outstanding maintenance and groundskeeping staffs who deserve our appreciation and accolades.

Season memberships in all categories have remained at near capacity, with our current membership at 1161 golfers. Cape Cod Men’s Golf Association (CCMGA) President Rob Harris reported that “the CCMGA popularity endures, boasting 167 CCMGA members and a wait list for Wednesday block times in 21 of the 22 events this year”! After a year-long freeze on new Non-Resident (NR) memberships, 25 new NR golfers became Captains members. We maintained last season’s daily tee time allocation strategy of 50% member tee times on 1 course and 25% member tee times on the 2nd course. Feedback from our men’s and women’s golf associations indicated that although there were some member closeouts experienced, these were for the most part equitably and satisfactorily managed. Again, it is strongly recommended that players expand their requested tee time windows, especially by 4-day a week players, in order to avoid being closed out for a tee time.

Our initial year financials as an enterprise fund were solid as we closed FY 2023 with revenues of $5,168,350 against our FY 2023 budget of $4,254,133 for retained earnings of $914,217. Too see the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget, please Click Here.

Capital Planning Updates and Preview of the 2024 Golf Season

After years of postponed expenditures and deferred maintenance, Captains continues to reinvest its available funds in replacing aging and inadequate infrastructure and equipment. The golf commission has been working with the town administration to develop a 10 year capital plan for Captains. Our plan currently estimates costs of more than $15 million over the next 10-year period and will ultimately require bonding for the major projects. Some of the key pieces of work contained in the 10-year plan include: construction of new equipment maintenance facilities, clubhouse maintenance, continued systemic replacement of aged turf maintenance equipment (mowers, aerators etc.); renovation of Captains Port and Starboard course irrigation water source, supply, and distribution systems to include pump station protection with irrigation water supply enhancements; and finally cart path and tee repairs.
At Special Town Meeting on 13 November, the Golf Department will be seeking funding approval for those capital improvements mentioned above that are earmarked for FY 2024. These include funds to replace critical turf maintenance equipment, reconditioning the main course irrigation well (current well is the original), and initiating a pump house feasibility study for irrigation water source and supply given its age, criticality, and history of flooding. Also included will be a request for maintenance facility design funding as well as additional funds due to cost increases for the replacement of all doors and windows at the Captains Clubhouse. A detailed view of the upcoming special Town Meeting requests on November 13th is available through the Town of Brewster’s WEBSITE LINK. Although the Golf Department’s total request will be considerable, all necessary funds for these projects will come from a combination of retained earnings and from the capital stabilization fund first established in 2022. No taxpayer dollars will be used for any of the Golf Department’s expenditures.

In House Projects to Save Money and Improve Play continued throughout the past year. This past winter Colin, his team and the DPW did much of the prep work necessary before asphalt could be installed in the Spring, saving about 50% of the cost and allowing more cart paths to be improved. This is scheduled to continue through Fall/Winter 23-24.
We all recognize that our tee boxes need leveling. Progress in this area has been hampered by increasing costs and equipment availability. Regardless, Colin has a plan to level several tee boxes this winter. Note the recent addition of a new red tee on #6 Port and more recently the renovation of the white tee on Port #14 and red tee on Starboard #6.

Teaching and growing the Game at Captains has never enjoyed a better coach-mentor team than Pat Fannon, Keith Gagnon, and Jon Mohan. Golf lesson appointments have been booked solid through the season. Best to look ahead and book early for next year…we highly recommend as Christmas presents! Youth golf programs have also been extremely well attended. Our Captains golf instruction team share a keen eye, personable approach, and endless patience that have truly brought Captains golf instruction to a new level.

Resurgence of the Pro Shop has also been a bright spot at Captains this year. Expanded inventories, that include items not previously stocked along with better selections for both men and women have produced record sales revenues and high customer satisfaction. For awareness, the occasional unavailability of high demand items such as Titleist golf balls, is not due to insufficient ordering by Captains but a result of supplier quota allocation rules.

Off Season Memberships are now available for Brewster residents for play October-March. Both unrestricted and twilight memberships are available. Although this initiative has historically brought in only a small number of new memberships, Captains will benefit from a modest revenue increase, that would otherwise be missed during the off-season period.

Friends of Captains President, Peggy McEvoy’s contagious enthusiasm and tireless leadership have enabled her and her exceptional group of dedicated volunteers, to make huge impacts on Captains golf experience and attractiveness. Such initiatives include new range markers on practice range, putting green clock, refurbished bag drop rack, golf library, and even bird houses. Volunteers have spent countless hours fixing fairway divots, repairing ball marks on greens, resurrecting imbedded range balls, and providing several plantings of flowers and shrubs to beautify Captains entryway and throughout both courses. Our thanks and appreciation go out to Friends of Captains, as we are so lucky to have such a supportive band of dedicated volunteers!

Freeman’s Grill, rated the #1 restaurant in Brewster by TripAdvisor, continues its tradition of excellence in this, its 6th year at Captains. Owner Sean Sullivan, ably assisted by managers Sam O’Connor and Max Fallon, has established a tradition at Freeman’s Grill of great food and exceptional service, that draws rave reviews from both golfers and non-golfers alike. Captains is very fortunate to have Freemans Grill with Sean and his team as a partner.

Supporting Brewster’s Green Vision continues to focus the ongoing work of course superintendent, Colin Walsh, and his team, in reducing the application of fertilizers on the course without negatively impacting play. Just this month our long-awaited GPS guided sprayers arrived that will significantly enable more precise and efficient product application. These forward-thinking initiatives will continue to positively impact Brewster’s nitrogen mitigation efforts and help protect the Pleasant Bay watershed. This is a great news story and highly likely to result in future savings for the Town.

Thank you for all your support,
Brewster Golf Commission

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Wednesday, July 17th, 2024

The Golf Courses are open, and carts are available.

18-hole carts are available up to the 3:00pm starting time.

9-hole golf carts are available up to the 5:00pm starting time.

Drinking water is available at filling stations by the clubhouse. 

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