CHELMSFORD -- The old, dilapidated and potentially unsafe clubhouse finally has been replaced. And golfers at the Chelmsford Country Club say they couldn't be happier with the bright and clean clubhouse that has taken its place.
A portion of the old building was in such poor shape -- roof supports weren't properly spaced for weight loads -- that the building could have actually shifted in heavy winds. The clubhouse was not stable because it wasn't designed or constructed correctly when it was expanded from a home, engineers said after inspecting the structure in 2012. Wood was decaying in multiple locations.
Chelmsford had a few options for the town-owned course: replacing the rear addition with a deck, demolishing and rebuilding the entire structure, or rebuilding the deck and renovating the whole building.
The old addition was demolished in December 2012, with the back portion of the building covered with a tarp for the following season. The clubhouse was then redone over last winter and reopened at the start of the 2014 season, and has made a great impression on golfers and management.
"I couldn't have asked for more," said Gail Kruglak, a Town Meeting member who was appointed to advise the town's Permanent Building Committee to help oversee the project.
On Saturday, as a women's league wrapped up its play for the morning and sat down for lunch, many said they were surprised by the totality of the renovations. The back addition was rebuilt, but the whole structure was redone.
"I was surprised all along the way," Kruglak said.
Carrie Lynch, a member of the women's league, said she's heard nothing but positive reviews.
"Oh, my gosh, it's so clean. It's so friendly," Lynch said.
Management at the course is pleased with the changes, too. Kevin Osgood, the president of Sterling Golf Management, which oversees the nine-hole course, called the changes "wonderful" and said the renovations have been well-received by everyone who goes through the building.
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"They did a fantastic job," pro shop worker Tom Kelley said. "It's pretty amazing."
Sterling Golf had previously said it would lose thousands of dollars in revenue without a clubhouse, and now that it has a brand new one, the whole building has been fixed up. Another change that has gotten rave reviews is that the course for the first time is using a caterer, Lowell-based Events All In One. Landscaping around the first tee has also been overhauled.
Sterling Golf Management, which has run the course since 1996, also runs courses in Maynard, Newton, Norwood and Jaffrey, N.H., and is in the process of adding Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover.
Chelmsford took over the course by eminent domain in 1995. In 2011, the town created a fund for the course so that it will rely on its own revenue, and not taxpayer funds, to pay for operations.
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