Ren­o­vated golf club is open for busi­ness

Springfield Sun - - LIVING - By Gary Puleo gpuleo@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @Mus­tangman48 on Twit­ter

WORCES­TER >> Pic­ture the movie “We Bought a Zoo,” then re­place the zoo with a nine-hole golf course and you have a pretty good idea of the cozy but chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion Lance Asher has found him­self in.

Asher re­places Matt Da­mon’s char­ac­ter in our sce­nario, and like Ben­jamin Mee, feels jus­ti­fi­ably ju­bi­lant about his pur­chase, which saved the 60 rolling acres of Worces­ter Golf Course from the hands of a de­vel­oper.

But, as a non-golfer, the sea­soned en­tre­pre­neur, who has been in the trash haul­ing, flo­ral shop and car wash busi­ness, ad­mit­ted to feel­ing like a fish out of wa­ter by his new ven­ture at times as well.

“Friends make fun of me for do­ing this,” noted Asher, as golfers steadily took ad­van­tage of a sunny Tues­day af­ter­noon by hit­ting the greens.

“But I’m happy to keep this green and make it an as­set for the com­mu­nity,” he added. “Every­body that comes here is just tick­led to death be­cause it’s go­ing to stay a golf course … and it is a pub­lic course. There aren’t many of those around any­more. All these golf cour­ses are clos­ing ev­ery­where but we’re try­ing to break that trend around here.”

Asher and his wife, Cindy, be­came the new own­ers of the 20-year-old golf club founded by Mike Malone back in Fe­bru­ary when it was an­nounced that the prop­erty would be sold through an on­line auc­tion.

“We had an of­fer in be­fore the bid. I didn’t go through the bid­ding process, and I don’t think there were any bid­ders so it never re­ally got to that on­line stage. It’s hard to sell a prop­erty like this at an auc­tion be­cause you can’t get fi­nanc­ing. I know ev­ery­one in Worces­ter was wor­ried that a de­vel­oper would get it so I’m just glad we ended up with it,” said Asher, whose first or­der of busi­ness as the new owner was to hire Lin­field­based Pro­fes­sional Sports Turf Man­age­ment to help get the dra­mat­i­cally run­down course, which had been closed since last Novem­ber, back in shape.

“They had stopped work­ing on it, and when you stop work­ing on a golf course it re­ally goes down­hill fast. But now the course is look­ing great,” he noted. “We did a lot of work, spent a lot of money. We re­did all the greens, the fair­ways … tons and tons of grass seeds, aer­a­tion, edg­ing, a trac­tor trailer load of sand from the Jersey shore.”

With even the most avid player’s leisure time be­ing more lim­ited these days, Asher pointed out that op­er­at­ing a smaller, nine-hole course would be an as­set in the world of golf­ing.

“It’s one of the best things we have go­ing for us, that it is a nine-hole golf course and you can play in two hours and go back to work or what­ever you want to do. Arnold Palmer had said that the nine-hole cour­ses was where the in­dus­try was go­ing,” said Asher, who touted the avail­abil­ity of Worces­ter Golf Club’s prac­tice greens, which he said not many cour­ses of­fered any­more.

“The short course works out well for lunch golfers,” noted Cindy Asher, who said that the cou­ple is look­ing for a restau­rant to take up res­i­dence in the club­house and cater func­tions at the mas­sive up­stairs ban­quet hall.

For now, the fam­ily op­er­a­tion — which in­cludes daugh­ter Kait­lyn — will be­gin serv­ing sand­wiches, burg­ers and sal­ads at the end of May.

“We took food man­age­ment cour­ses, so we are able to serve food,” said Cindy Asher, sit­ting in the fully op­er­a­tional club­house bar.

Golfers can find more in­for­ma­tion, book tee times and sched­ule lessons with LPGE teach­ing pro­fes­sional Diane Rama on their web­site, Worces­ter­golf­club. com.

Tee times can also be sched­uled on the pop­u­lar golf­ing app Golfnow.

“Ba­si­cally, it’s pretty in­ex­pen­sive golf­ing for a fam­ily here,” Asher said. “That’s the di­rec­tion we’re go­ing in. We just want ev­ery­one to know that the golf course is im­proved and back open.”

Worces­ter Golf Club is lo­cated at 1600 Green Hill Road, Worces­ter.

The phone num­ber is 610-222-0200.

GARY PULEO — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Lance and Cindy Asher with daugh­ter Kait­lyn and fam­ily pooch Josie take in some sun on the newly re­fur­bished Worces­ter Golf Club greens on Tues­day, May 16, 2017.

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