Golfers might call this a safe approach
Cape Cod Life / May 2016 / People & Businesses, Recreation & Activities
Writer: Matthew J. Gill / Photographer:
With a change in ownership, many club members now own equity in TGC in Falmouth
There are many fantastic golf courses on Cape Cod, the Islands and the South Shore, but there’s only one that goes by the name “The Golf Club.” Located in East Falmouth, TGC—as the club is now officially known—is a private, top-of-the-line golf-only club, meaning few distractions get in the way of the game. The course is not built around or connected to a housing development, for example, and few if any weddings are held at the facility. TGC is simply a golf club of the members, by the members and for the members.
Following a recent change in ownership, the statement above is even more appropriate. In late 2015, The Sacconnesset Golf Society LLC purchased the club from New Falmouth Woods LLC, who had opened the club in 2007. Despite the change, most of the faces around the club remain the same, and many members have now bought in to become equity owners. As of early April, some 75 of the club’s 150 members had become partners in the club, which is now led by a board of directors.
“The reception has been fabulous,” managing partner Gene Crowley says of the arrangement. “The timing is right; the ‘no debt’ is right.” No debt you say? With the substantial equity investment, TGC is now debt-free, a fiscal scenario many private golf clubs can only dream about. In recent years many private clubs around the country have gone under, but TGC’s longevity, financial standing, and committed membership may represent a safe bet for those looking to join.
An employee since 2008, membership manager Gwen Errhalt says the club was founded with three goals in mind: competition, tradition and camaraderie. “TGC was built for the pure golf experience,” Errhalt says. “It’s a real treat. Our members were so happy [with the club] they wanted to invest in it and see it continue.”
Errhalt emphasized that TGC’s members really love their golf. She says the membership also recognizes the importance of growing the game as well as the benefits of hosting charitable golf tournaments, which the club does throughout the year.
Hosting more competitive tournaments is also good for the game, and for the club’s visibility. Charles Passios, the club’s chief operating officer, notes that the Mass. Golf Association recently awarded TGC the hosting rights for both the 2016 Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championships and the 2017 Mass. Open Championships.
The new ownership group is completing some light course renovations for the 2016 season, with the goal of making some of the holes a little more player friendly. The clubhouse is also undergoing some enhancements, but Crowley says “nothing needs major surgery.”
Course architect Rees Jones, who has designed some 170 golf courses around the world, from Falmouth to Namibia, says everything about the TGC course is special. “In New England there’s a lot of rugged terrain,” says Jones, “and because of the change of terrain, every hole is distinctive.”
When the TGC course was constructed a decade ago, Jones says the greens, pockets and bunkers were built and shaped, but minimal work was done to reshape the site’s rugged terrain. Thus, the course features a lot of range in elevation, he says, and the fairways seem to fit perfectly within the landscape. “Every one of these holes is really ideal for golf,” Jones says. “It’s a classic design. It’s really what a lot of the old golf courses are like.”
Uniquely, the course offers five different tee boxes at all 18 holes to allow flexibility for various skill levels. Once off the tee, though, Jones says golfers will encounter countless challenges and nuances throughout the 72-par, 7,000-yard course; this is really a thinking golfer’s course. “Part of the fun of a good golf course is you have to make a lot of decisions,” says Crowley, “and this course has a lot of that.”
Jones describes it as “a manageable finesse course. I think it’s a wonderful place to play golf, and I think that’s why the group bought it, because they love it so much.” The club’s financial standing, he adds, is “a plus-plus for everybody.”
Speaking of “everybody,’ Passios says the club’s family memberships are now even more “family friendly” than before. One benefit afforded members, Passios says, is if a club member is hosting a visiting family member—say, a son or daughter at home for the weekend from college—they can play at the club for free provided they play with the member.
TGC also hosts golf camps for kids and has an active caddie program with many young people involved. The club also participates in several charitable efforts including sponsoring the TGC Fund, which supports local veterans and active military personnel who face significant personal challenges and financial needs. The club’s annual TGC for the Troops golf tournament will be held this year on Monday, June 27, with a free golf clinic and lunch for veterans and active military service members the previous day (June 26).
Finally, after playing a round, golfers can head to the club’s restaurant, TGC Grille by C Salt, which is overseen by head chef Jonathan Philips, the owner of C Salt Wine Bar & Grille on Falmouth’s Route 28. The restaurant is open to the public daily for lunch, and for dinner by reservation. The cuisine is a mix of modern American with some Asian and French influence, and popular appetizers include pork belly bites, crispy hoisin wings and tuna tartar.
TGC is located at 132 Falmouth Woods Road in East Falmouth. For more information, visit tgcgolf.com, or call 508-457-7200.
Matthew J. Gill is the editor of
Cape Cod LIFE magazine.
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