Renovated golf club is open for business
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.
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.