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NORTON, Massachusetts – As Mass Golf continues to prepare for the 2021 season, the excitement around the return of the always-popular Member Days is ramping up with the initial release of this year’s schedule.
Since its inception in 2010, Mass Golf’s Member Days have been open to anybody with a USGA/GHIN Handicap Index through Mass Golf and allows those individuals the opportunity to play a round at some of the most exclusive clubs throughout the state. These courses range from seaside gems to championship tests and everything in between.
The Member Days season is scheduled to begin Monday, May 3 at The Club at New Seabury (Mashpee), followed by Member Days at Indian Pond Country Club (Kingston), Foxborough Country Club, and Willowbend (Mashpee) on the next three Mondays, respectively.
Registration for all Member Days is carried out through an online lottery system, which will open for all scheduled events on March 4. Those who enter the lottery can reserve between 1-4 spots if they are selected.
Regardless of skill, gross and net divisions for men and women are set up, giving everybody a level playing field. This also provides participants an opportunity to meet fellow Mass Golf Members from around the state.
“It’s a nice combination of competitive golf with friendly people,” said Mike Zona, who has played in several Member Day events over the past decade. Zona, a longtime member of George Wright Golf Course in Boston, usually participates in Member Days with his playing partner, James Welsh, a retiree from the Boston Fire Department.
“It’s been a great service that Mass Golf has provided for us public golfers,” Zona added.
The Member Day schedule has two new sites this year: Nashawtuc Country Club (Concord) and Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover. Nashawtuc has hosted several prominent Championship events in the past, including the PGA Champions Tour’s Bank of America Championship.
Plymouth Country Club is also on the schedule. Though not a new location for Member Days, Plymouth CC is the site of this year’s Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship,
“The goal is to try to hit as many areas and regions as we can and switch up the courses to keep it interesting to our members and keep it fresh,” said Patrick Fannon, Manager of Member Events & Services for Mass Golf. “The popularity of golf boomed last year, and our goal is to retain the golfers who took it up last year.”
Several Member Day events were canceled and postponed last year due to COVID-19. Among them was the unique double Member Day in Williamstown, starting at Waubeeka Golf Links and concluding the next day at Taconic Golf Club, one of the top public and collegiate courses in the nation.
“That’s a must if you get in,” Zona said.
Sally DeGan, president of the LPGA Amateur Golf Association, says she does her best to recruit different women to tag along when she wins a lottery to gain entry for four in a Member Day event. DeGan has an email list of players she’s met from various golf outings and tries to distribute Member Day opportunities to as many players as possible.
“The moment I get picked I send out an email blast of who wants to play,” DeGan said. “Within 10 minutes those three spots are filled.”
“It’s really the best-kept secret,” DeGan added. “It’s a professionally-run, low-stress day, and I think it’s a fun way for people to participate in Mass Golf events that don’t necessarily have single-digit handicaps.”
Terry Durkin has played in several Member Days over the years, and after playing in a women’s league at Marlborough Country Club she decided to join the club this past fall. Durkin said playing in Member Days not only got her interested in joining a private club, but it also helped prepare her for competing in Mass Golf Women’s Championships and Tournaments.
“I’m fairly new to competition, so Member Days were a way to play with other great golfers,” said Durkin, who also has a membership at Sagamore Spring Golf Club (Lynnfield). “It was a great stepping stone for me to try some of the tournaments. It’s still low-key, but you get the experience of playing some different courses.”
Even when she’s doesn’t win a Member Day lottery, “I like following along to see how others are doing,” she said.
Other clubs that will be hosting Member Days include: Thorny Lea Golf Club (Brockton), Ferncroft Country Club (Middleton), Walpole Country Club, Wedgewood Pines Country Club (Stow), Ipswich Country Club, Cohasee Country Club (Southbridge), The Acoaxet Club (Westport), and Haverhill Country Club.
The cost for each event is $90 and includes greens fees, cart, and access to the range prior to the start of the event.
For the latest information and schedule for Member Days, visit MassGolf.org, scroll under the “PLAY” tab at the top of the screen, and click “Member Days”.