Page 22 - BusinessWest April 27, 2020
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Jesse Menachem says the closing of golf courses impacts much more than daily
greens fees. It also affects everything from tournaments to food and beverage sales to merchandise and equipment
“A golf course is almost like a public park,” said Antillio Cardaropoli, owner of Twin Hills Country Club in Long- meadow, a private club. “People can go out for a walk, and when you’re playing golf, the most people you have togeth- er is four, and they’re usually going in different directions on the course. This [ban] makes no sense to me.”
Perez agreed.
“I have 120 acres here — it’s very, very, very easy to maintain separa- tion and keep six feet apart on the golf course,” he said. “I truly don’t under-
stand why there’s even a discussion about it; there should be no debate about this whatsoever.”
To add insult to injury, if that’s the appropriate phrase, most other states, including neighboring Connecticut, have deemed that golf is essential. Well, they’re allowing the courses to open, let’s put it that way. And many in the Bay State are crossing over the line to play, said Cardaropoli.
Overall, the pandemic has impacted every facet of the golf business, said Jesse Menachem, president of the Mas- sachusetts Golf Assoc., adding that this is a long list. It includes greens fees and cart rentals, obviously, but also fund- raising tournaments, leagues, food and beverages (a huge component of every club’s revenue stream), those ban- quets, retail (if people aren’t playing, they’re not buying clubs, balls, and new shoes), and more.
“Depending on how long this goes ... if we cannot allow for golf opera- tions to exist for another four, six, or eight weeks, that’s going to put courses in a very tough position,” said Men-
“It’s a huge golf outing — 140 players — and prime- rib dinner, the whole
nine yards; when you add everything up, the golf,
the bar, the snack bar, the dinner ... it’s a huge day. That’s gone; that’s been wiped out, and I can’t make it up.”
achem in early April, noting that the golf industry creates 25,000 jobs and is a $2.7 billion business. “This is prime time, not just for daily access, but for acquiring golfers and getting new members for private clubs.”
The best hope for course own-
ers and managers is that, as the state begins to turn its economy back on
— and that won’t happen before May 4 — golf courses will be on the list of businesses that can begin operating, with restrictions, to be sure. If that’s the case, courses will have lost several important weeks of on-course revenue and who knows how many weeks or months of banquet and food and bev- erage revenue.
“That’s certainly not ideal,” said Perez, “but we can cope with that.”
However, if courses can’t reopen on May 4 or soon thereafter, then what has been a challenging time for the golf
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