An old golf course gets new life with new managers
MARION — The Marion Golf Club is taking on a new life, as two summer residents are working to bring it under new management, improve the course for players, restore some of its historical appearance, and eventually build it into a new community space.
The course’s former manager, Bruce Carlson retired after 24 years of tending to the public, waterfront course. That was when Jeremiah Daly and Michael Kane decided to take over running the 116 year old club. The land is owned by a trust, but the two lease it to run a golf course there.
Daly grew up in Marion, golfing on the course, and now spends summers here when not working in Boston as a technology investor. Kane is his long-time friend, works in real estate and has been a Marion summer resident for ten years.
Since the course is open year-round and playable whenever there is not snow on the ground, the two seasonal residents depend on team members Will Daly and Kim Sousi, who run the club’s shop and operations (in Daly’s case), and Jeff Mello who handles the grounds and maintenance with the help of four part-time assistants.
Jeremiah says that Mello has “been incredible,” adding, “the course has really been improved” in the quality of its greens.
Constructed in 1904, it was the first course designed by famous golf architect George Thomas.
Jeremiah called the green a “piece of art that has been lying a little bit dormant,” and said he and Kane are working not only to “maintain it as community asset but also bring it back to its original intent and glory.”
To do that, they have done a fair amount of primary research, finding aerial photographs from 1934, a Golf Illustrated article from 1928 and additional photos from the 1950s and 60s.
The two intend to re-install many of the course’s original features, including clearing its unique stone walls off by removing the trees and shrubs that have grown up alongside them. They may also recreate some of the course’s historic sand bunkers.
With the Kittansett Club located just up the road, the new managers hope that some of the visitors to the better-known club will also want to play at the Marion Golf Club.
The golf course has done very well, even with coronavirus, Jeremiah said, because it is “one of the few activities that you can still do” easily while social distancing.
However, the virus has made it harder for the two new managers to build up community at the club as they have been unable to include some of the social elements around golf, like hanging out at the clubhouse.
Once it is safe to do so, they will look to “build a great golfer community locally,” Jeremiah said, adding, “it’s a great place for kids!”