“When you show up at the Bay Club, you just feel special. And that’s really nice. Everyone working there knows your name, and they are all steeped in the tradition of personal service. The Bay Club is just an incredibly classy, casual, and accommodating place.”
Jim Craig, the All-American goalie for Boston University who stopped 39 shots against the Soviet Union’s “unbeatable” hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics’ “Miracle on Ice,” has been a longtime member of the Bay Club and a low-handicap golfer.
When I interviewed him for a “Celebrity Golfer” column two years ago, Jim raved about the Bay Club and how much he appreciated the championship golf course and his overall experience there. When we talked recently, he reiterated what makes the Club exceptional.
Jim said, “One of the best things is that the original vision of the founders back in 2004—to ensure a pleasurable country club lifestyle for everyone—has been carried out. The Bay Club has a diverse group of members who pursue various activities here. Not all the members play golf. In fact, if you were to ask any five members what they enjoy most about the Club, you could get five completely different answers.”
The Bay Club Community The Bay Club is a campus-style, member-owned private club in a community of custom homes. Encompassing 625 acres with an additional 238 acres of adjacent conservation land, the Bay Club is located among old forests on the South Coast of Massachusetts in the seaside town of Mattapoisett on Buzzards Bay. The area is renowned for its deepwater harbor that allows for sailing, cruising, kayaking, and fishing. Appropriately, the logo of the Bay Club is a seahorse holding crossed golf clubs in its tail.
Just off I-195 on the road to Cape Cod and one hour south of Boston and a half hour east of Providence, the community consists of six residential villages of up to 189 home sites that occupy 225 acres. The remaining acreage is reserved for the country club and open space.
Membership is by invitation through an application process, including sponsorship by two current members. Members do not have to own or build a home within the Bay Club, and, conversely, homeowners may or may not choose to be members of the Club. The Club currently has 220 golf members and 80 social members, who have access to all amenities except golf. The goal is 275 and 100.
Golf dues are $12,750 for a family membership and $9,050 for an individual and $6,375 for a family social membership and $5,775 for an individual. A $35,000 refundable deposit is required of all golf members, with non-refundable initiation fees of $12,500 and $9,375 for family and individual social members, respectively.
The Bay Club offers either 2- and 3-bedroom single-family homes or the purchase of a home site on which to build a custom home with one of the Preferred Builders. Home sites range in size from 1/3 to 1+ acre with prices starting at $187,000 to $395,000 depending on size, location, and proximity to the golf course. The Preserve is the newest village at the Club, a Nantucket style-development of homes from 1,850 to 2,840 square feet. The Club will soon be building its first attached housing community, consisting of 10 two-family townhome units. All Bay Club property owners are members of the community-wide homeowners’ association.
Brad Faxon’s Championship Golf Course
The centerpiece of the gated community is the golf course, an immaculately conditioned, par-71 layout with bentgrass greens and fairways. A classic New England parkland design with the six sets of tees allows for play of 7008 yards from the tips to 5080 yards from the forwards. The perfectly maintained greens usually stimp at 10 or 10.5 for the members but can roll out to 12 or more for tournament play.
The Bay Club is only one of two Massachusetts’ courses to receive Audubon International’s Certified Silver Signature Sanctuary status for sustaining natural environmental habitat and wildlife conservation through efficient water, chemical, and energy use. Superintendent Jon O’Connor is the man responsible for maintaining the course’s pristine conditions and the Audubon’s Sanctuary status.
PGA Tour professional Brad Faxon, a favorite New England local son from Rhode Island, who partnered with golf course architect Brad Booth, was told in 2002, before a shovel had touched any of the 625 acres, to “Route the course as you see fit.”
As Director of Golf and PGA professional Greg Yeomans, who has been at the Club since it opened in 2004, related, “What was intriguing for Brad was that he had all this land, where he could scout the terrain, get the elevation points, imagine the possibilities, and then fashion the 18 holes from a blank canvas.
“What Brad created was an extremely playable, member-friendly layout with a challenging variety of holes in which not one is like another. Yes, the greens are fast, but they are relatively flat, although very large. We have about 80 bunkers that are strategically placed but are not penal to the average-skill-level player. We really don’t have any forced carries over water. The water hazards are more of a visual aspect and don’t come into play.
It’s all about lateral hazards, where nine holes have red stakes either behind the green or off to the side.
Just as importantly, from the back tees, the course is a great test when we host a quality event like the PGA Pro-Assistant Championship, which we have done for the last nine years, or the Mass Am or Mass Open or US Senior Open qualifiers. Bay Club members take great pride in sharing their course with outside tournaments and organizations like the USGA, NEPGA, MGA, WGAM, and AJGA. We also take great pride in cultivating our own juniors, an endeavor that has been growing steadily each year.”
Outstanding Practice Facilities
Jim Craig, who launched his own company in 2007, Gold Medal Strategies, and became a motivational speaker stressing how to attain peak performance in life or business, made me promise that I would write about the Bay Club’s practice facilities, which he said are “incredible.” Well, Jim, if as a golfer you want to attain peak performance by working on your game, yes, the Club’s practice facilities are a great place to visit.
There is an expansive 310-yard double-ended range, with the far end of the range reserved for lessons. Synthetic turf is available so if bad weather or unplayable turf hampers practice, members can still hit balls. There is a chipping area and a large putting green. A monstrous Himalayas putting green with mountains of slope, modeled after the one at St. Andrews, has been built behind the main range. This green brings families, juniors, and members together for fun competitions and contests.
At the back of the range and out of sight from the front end is the two-acre Short Game Area. A two-tiered green has five pins on it with three practice bunkers nearby. Players can practice every type of shot they want from 100 yards in.
During the winter, the Club opens up its three indoor hitting bays, its 40 foot putting carpet, and its chipping mat. A Trackman-type simulator can be used in the hitting bays to record clubhead speed, ball direction, and swing path stats. The professional staff is on hand to give lessons as well. In addition, the pros sponsor three trips each winter: two golf schools in Florida, one for men and the other for women; a mixed golf trip to Casa de Campo and the “Teeth of the Dog” course in the DR.
The Sports and Activities Center
If the golf course is the centerpiece, the Club’s Sports and Activities Center is unique among other private clubs along the South Coast. In this building, members are offered state-of-the-art training facilities, fitness instruction, conditioning and exercise programs under the guidance of the full-time fitness director, Dave Maloney. Dave is also a certified Titleist Performance Institute instructor, which means he shows the members how the human body functions in relation to their golf swings. Thus, Dave works closely with the teaching/coaching/and clinic efforts of Greg Yeomans and head professional John Paesani.
The Center also has a large demonstration kitchen with meeting space where monthly cooking demonstrations and classes are conducted by Executive Chef Jim Mercer or visiting chefs. In addition the room is used by members for private parties, cultural activities, lectures, and clubs.
Adjacent to the Center is the aquatics area. The pool complex has a junior Olympic-sized pool with five lap lanes and a child-friendly entry. Life guards and pool-side food and beverage services are available during the summer. Also available in summer for the children is Club Seahorse, which, depending on the child’s age, provides activities, games, swimming, golf, tennis, fitness, and nutrition programs.
The Club also has racquet sports with four Har-Tru Hydro tennis courts, two with lights for night play, and two platform tennis courts, both with lights as well. A full schedule of casual and competitive events is offered throughout the season as well as clinics and private lessons provided by Director of Tennis Chris Shannon and his staff.
The Dining Experience
I had lunch at the Golf House Restaurant on the patio near the first tee with Richard Spearbeck, the Food and Beverage Manager, just after he had attended to the Ladies’ Day luncheon. The women had had a lovely day for golf and were most enthusiastic about their teams’ performances. They savored Chef Jim Mercer’s entrees as the winners were announced.
Richard said, “I really enjoy working in a venue that’s been generated with the campus atmosphere that we have at the Bay Club, from the Summer Shack at the pool to the restaurant here to the Halfway Café off the ninth green, where we can cater private member parties. Jim’s international theme dinners are remarkable, and he is constantly sharing his ‘cooking secrets’ with the membership, especially at the demonstration kitchen in the Activities Center. Jim and I have the chance to create all sorts of food and drink specialties, depending upon the function and the location of the event.
“For example, the Summer Shack is mainly for the children, but we are trying to integrate it into a venue for mothers and grandmothers who around dinner time might like a glass of wine and an appetizing cheese board. We’ve added a cookout by the pool that we’ll do monthly during the summer. And we’ve got the 4th of July celebration on our schedule, which is a huge family night for food, drink, and fireworks.
“Jim is a multi-talented chef who can prepare the most delicious family-style meals, and he pairs his entrees with some delightful wines. He uses the freshest produce on the South Coast from Eva’s Garden in nearby Dartmouth to make his ‘Eva’s Salad’ and his veggie dishes. Plus, we order as much food as possible from our local vendors, especially our fish, which comes to us right off the boat. If the truth be known, the Golf House is one of the best restaurants in the area.”
Learn More about the Bay Club
The Bay Club is one of New England’s premier golf and residential communities. For more information about the Bay Club, access the website at www.bayclubmatt.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To reach Dave Andrews, the Director of Sales and Membership, to set up a tour of the property, call him at 508-207-9232.
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