Golf Course Spotlight: Blue Hill CC

By
A view of Great Blue Hill from the 12th hole (Blue Hill CC photo)

A view of Great Blue Hill from the 12th hole (Blue Hill CC photo)

Editor’s note: The following is the last in a series of profiles on Canton’s golf courses. The series wraps up with a look at Blue Hill Country Club, an upscale private club and 27-hole golf course located on Pecunit Street.

With its historic and stunning golf course, upscale amenities, and championship pedigree, Canton’s Blue Hill Country Club on Pecunit Street stands apart among local private golf clubs.

Featuring an 18-hole masterpiece designed by noted golf course architect Skip Wogan and another nine-hole challenger course designed by his son Phil Wogan, the club is the only one in the state to have ever hosted a PGA Championship (1956) and one of only two in Massachusetts to have hosted a major of any kind in the last 90 years.

Fast forward to the present day, and Blue Hill is still “without question,” according to club president Jim Marano, one of the best around and “absolutely” still worthy of hosting another major championship.

“It is an across-the-board consensus,” declared Marano in a recent interview, “not only among our members, but among guests and among professionals who come to play here, that our course is one of the best in the state.”

Yet even the elite country clubs have their own wish lists and areas in need of improvement, and it is precisely for this reason that the members made the bold decision to sell their entire stake in the 90-year-old club and shift to a “non-equity” model under the leadership of a professional owner/operator.

Turning to Texas-based Fairway Advisors, one of the leading golf course brokerage firms in the United States, Blue Hill embarked on a national marketing campaign and ultimately found a willing and eager buyer in Concert Golf Partners out of Newport Beach, California.

Led by industry veteran Peter Nanula, former owner of Arnold Palmer Golf Management, Concert Golf specializes in all-cash acquisitions of upscale private clubs and prides itself on financing major improvements without incurring any long-term debt.

“We look all over the country for large-scale private clubs that have a quality golf course and quality facilities, but they may have a capital need and so that’s where we can help,” explained Nanula, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees from nearby Harvard University.

Concert’s current portfolio consists of 11 private clubs, including the historic Country Club at Woodmore in Washington, DC, and the majestic Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City. Nanula said all 11 of their clubs are profitable and all are funding continuous capital projects, and he has similarly high expectations for Blue Hill Country Club.

“It’s a perfect fit,” he said of the Canton club, which served as a regular stop on the LPGA tour from 1991-97. “The golf course is a real gem — not too many golf courses have hosted one of the four majors. You’ve got to have a terrific course to do that.”

Nanula said Concert will take it up a few notches over the next 12-24 months by investing heavily in clubhouse improvements while also improving the overall member experience. Meanwhile, members will no longer pay for debt service or any capital assessments, and the dues for full golf members as well as several other categories of membership will be significantly reduced.

Blue Hill CC opened its new pool in 2011.

Blue Hill CC opened its new pool in 2011.

“This is a win-win for both the members at Blue Hill and for Concert Golf,” raved Marano. “This is what they do; they are coming in here and they are getting a gem of a course, and with the capital expenditures they are going to make Blue Hill better than it’s ever been. At the same time the members are going to wind up getting a better club at no cost to them.”

Marano said the club received “tremendous interest” from prospective buyers across the country; however, a number of them wanted to develop the property whereas Concert was intent on operating the club and preserving all 27 holes — a top priority of the Blue Hill membership.

Marano said Concert has also agreed to improve and expand the club’s driving range and practice facility, improve the maintenance area, renovate the restaurant area and function facility, and install a new bar.

As for the two golf courses on the 200-acre property, both were restored in 2003 by renowned designer Ron Prichard and remain in excellent shape more than a decade later.

Marano described the 18-hole championship course, which is 6,646 yards from the back tees, as very challenging yet fair. “The first four holes are going to be the most difficult four starting holes that you’re going to find, and our greens run true and are fast,” he said. “And I would tell you there are a lot of bunkers on our course, so get your sand game ready.”

The par-35 challenger course, meanwhile, is in equally good condition and is a “phenomenal asset” to the club, according to Marano. Opened in 1961, the nine-hole course is comparable to the main course and presents its own unique challenges, including a 453-yard sixth hole that is the longest par-4 on the property.

In addition to the golf courses, Blue Hill Country Club also offers a range of other amenities, including tennis courts and a resort-style heated swimming pool that was built in 2011. The club also boasts newly remodeled locker rooms and a split-level clubhouse with a function hall and a variety of dining options.

Taken as a whole, Nanula said the club met every one of Concert Golf’s strict criteria and will surely fit right in with the other clubs in its portfolio.

“I’m super excited just to be in New England at a storied old club,” he said. “Blue Hill has just got so much potential, and our whole team is really excited to get to work.”

For more information about Blue Hill Country Club, visit www.bluehillcc.com.

Previous Golf Course Spotlights:

Milton-Hoosic Club

Brookmeadow Country Club

Wampatuck Country Club

Ponkapoag Golf Course

Share This Post

Short URL: http://www.thecantoncitizen.com/?p=31062

avatar Posted by on Oct 8 2015. Filed under Featured Content.
Canton Citizen Absolute Landscaping

Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google
Log in | Copyright Canton Citizen 2011