Below par? Golf panel wants upgrades to H. Smith Richardson clubhouse
Published 5:24 am, Thursday, September 24, 2015
The Board of Selectmen began considering the request for a building committee charge recently, but took no action. The selectmen postponed a decision until they review a feasibility study and the Town Facilities Commission’s recommendations.
“We’re pretty much stalled in the process until that happens,” Golf Commission member Ryan Scully told the selectmen. Should the selectmen establish a charge and a building committee for the project, Ryan said, it is hoped that at least one or two members from the Golf Commission and TFC would be included as members.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Scully said. “They’re definitely excited about it.”
According to Peter Grace, the course’s golf pro, the Smith Richardson building that houses a restaurant, snack bar, locker rooms and the pro shop, was built in 1972. “It’s very outdated,” he told the selectmen. There are problems, he said, with the heating system, there are mice, flies and water leaks. “It’s just very outdated,” Grace said. “Whether we renovate or knock it down, I guess that’s up to the building committee. Something has to be done to it.”
Upgrades, particularly to the heating system and single pane windows, could allow the restaurant to remain open year-round, bringing more revenue through increased rental payments from Brennan’s Shebeen.
First Selectman Michael Tetreau said compared to other municipal golf courses in the area, “This is one of the least improved and poorest facilities.”
TFC member Tom DeMartino said the existing clubhouse “has reached the end of its useful life,” adding that some of the conditions at the clubhouse are “embarrassing.”
He said one option that has been considered is adding a second-floor dining area to the single-story building, overlooking the greens.
Selectman Kevin Kiley said the town has been investing money over the last few years to upgrade the course itself. “I see this as the next step,” he said.
But some golfers at the course Friday don’t seem to think any upgrades are necessary.
Patrick Pollard is at the golf course a couple of times a month. The existing clubhouse, he said, “works for me.”
“I don’t think it would be a wise use of money,” said Shawn Russell, who usually comes to the golf course once a week, with John Garfield. Garfield said he thinks the the facility is “all right” and in decent shape.