Investments planned by the city of Quincy, Mass. in the nearly 100-year-old club include revamping the clubhouse, updating the parking lot, and adding a bocce court, horseshoe pit and tennis courts to a small park next door, which the city already owns.
The city of Quincy, Mass. won’t renew its 50-year lease with Furnace Brook Golf Club when it expires next year, but the rolling greens and small event space aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, The Patriot Ledger reported. Instead, the city is preparing to take over management of the nearly 100-year-old course and turn it into something “everyone in Quincy can enjoy.”
“My goal is to serve the people of Quincy with this,” Mayor Thomas Koch said February 26. “I’m aware it’s a valuable thing to a lot of people.”
The city’s relationship with the golf club started in 1971 when then-Mayor James McIntyre proposed a 50-year lease on the course. At the time, the club was unable to pay its 1970 property taxes—a $17,500 bill—and “saw no prospect of improvement in its financial future,” a 1979 Patriot Ledger article reads.
Under the lease, the club was to pay the city $1 per year for 50 years in lieu of taxes, The Patriot Ledger reported. At the end of that time—June of 2021—the land would be given to the city.
As the end of the lease approached, Koch told The Patriot Ledger he and his office spent time meeting with the club’s management to discuss the best course of action. It was ultimately decided the land will remain a golf course, but the city will take over its maintenance and management at the start of 2022.
Koch addressed club members earlier this year about the change, The Patriot Ledger reported.
“He’s willing to work with us to keep it open, which was a relief,” Jack McCue of North Quincy, a 21-year club member and Board of Governors member, said. “He presented a pretty good case about wanting it to keep it a golf course and people are now pretty confident that it’ll be OK.”
Dyan Bauman, the club’s office manager, said members’ nerves were running high ahead of the city’s announcement to keep the club open, most of them worried about losing a place they’ve grown accustomed to, The Patriot Ledger reported. The course has been known as the Furnace Brook Golf Club since 1938, when it changed over from the Stoney Brae Golf Club. Stoney Brae was built in 1923.
“People are pretty happy about the outcome of it all,” Bauman said. “We have an older crowd and some people who have been here quite a few years. For some older people and some groups of friends — this is their spot.”
Furnace Brook has just under 200 members right now, Bauman told The Patriot Ledger.
Koch says the city is in the preliminary phases of deciding how the course will be run. Publicly owned clubs must be open to everyone in the city, through pay-to-play associate memberships are allowed, The Patriot Ledger reported. The mayor also said it has not yet been decided how the financials will work, but that the upkeep and upgrades to the course will be handled through the city’s newly established natural resources department.
“At the very least, it has to pay for itself,” Koch said of utilizing membership fees. “Anything beyond that could go into a revolving fund to pay for upkeep, or even back into other recreation programs. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that.”
One of the city’s other golf courses—Presidents Golf Course—is also publicly owned. At the time of the negotiations for the Furnace Brook Golf Club lease, the 90-acre Wollaston Golf Club in North Quincy was for sale at a $3 million asking price, The Patriot Ledger reported. The Wollaston group refused McIntyre’s offer of a similar lease arrangement to that of Furnace Brook and that club—called Presidents Golf Course today—is now owned by and is a source of revenue for Norfolk County. There are also municipally owned golf courses in Scituate, Braintree and Hingham.
Under city ownership, Koch said he hopes to invest in the course, clubhouse and the small park next door, which Quincy already owns, The Patriot Ledger reported. He says a revamped clubhouse, updated parking lot and additions to the park—like a bocce course, horseshoe pit and tennis courts—have all been tossed around.
“The place needs some attention,” he said. “We will look at it in its entirety, engage the neighborhood and come up with a master plan. We also hope to engage a landscape architect for general repair of the course, specifically things like the irrigation system. We hope to not miss a beat.”
Rumors of development have circled the Furnace Brook Golf Club over the last several years as the end of the lease approached, but Koch told The Patriot Ledger it was always the plan to maintain the open space some way or another.
Potential development on the course was foreseen by Quincy board members back in the ’70s, The Patriot Ledger reported. In May of 1979, the Quincy Planning Board unanimously approved a zoning change for the land from residential A to open space. Then-Ward 1 Councilor Leo Kelly said at the time that the change was meant to “avoid those horrendous meetings inevitable in the future from pressure to build on the course.”