Neighbors of the recently renovated GreatHorse in Hampden, Mass., are concerned that their wells will run dry due to the golf course’s high water demand. In Albuquerque, N.M., golf courses are getting some drought relief brought on by an increase in rainfall.
The former Hampden (Mass.) Country Club has undergone a $45 million overhaul under owner Guy Antonacci, and hosted a “pre-grand opening” over Memorial Day weekend. Renovations have been ongoing since the club closed in July 2012, six months after being purchased at auction for $1.4 million.
Less than a year from completion, the renovation project is adding a 25,000-sq. ft. clubhouse, a 14,000-sq. ft. banquet facility, outdoor dining space, as well as redesigning the golf course. The private club has been closed for construction since July 2012.
A group of abutters is seeking to order the club to restore a 100-foot tree buffer along the perimeter of the golf course, arguing that a zoning bylaw requires the buffer in order to reduce the hazard of misdirected golf balls. Multiple 40-year-old trees have been removed from the buffer as part of an ongoing renovation and replaced with earthen berms, which residents argue is impacting property values.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection fined the club $115,860 for violating protected wetlands and waterways during construction last year. The club also agreed to restore all wetland areas that were altered as a result of the non-permitted project.