By John Anderson
Although the temperature was cool on Friday for the Grand Re-Opening of Pakachoag Golf Course, the people in attendance were full of warmth and excitement. There was also a nice break in the weather since it didn’t rain for over 2 hours, and some blue was visible in the sky. To put things further in perspective, Auburn had a high of 59º three days ago, but the high was 74º when the course saw its first customers on March 9th.
Town Manager Julie Jacobson welcomed the guests and thanked the multitude of town employees who have contributed to the course’s improvements since the town regained management on January 1st. She also recognized the Advisory Committee that helped guide the process: Dave Roy (Chair), Ron Otterson (Vice Chair), and Dick Cote. Most of the improvements to the clubhouse, irrigation systems, and grounds have been completed by the Auburn DPW, and the facility looks great.
Senator Michael Moore reminded the audience that no funds have been borrowed to make the course improvements and it has been handled in “a fiscally responsible manner.” He and Representative Paul Frost then presented citations to the town. Selectman Chair Ken Holstrom, clad in retro golf attire, said a few words and was followed by Auburn Chamber President Carrie Cross who recognized the improvements as a boost to the local economy.
The featured speaker was Jim Remy, past president and Hall of Fame member of the PGA. Remy told the guests, “I got my start at a 9-hole golf course in Leominster.” “If you have a passion, it can also be your profession.” He said that golf is an inclusive sport and over $3.9 billion is raised for charities each year through golf tournaments. Remy added, “It’s the only sport where players call penalties on themselves.”
The final speaker was Rick Karbowski, a former PGA touring player and Golf Pro at the Auburn Driving Range. He is a 1973 graduate of Auburn High School and has fine memories of Pakachoag Golf Course. When he was 13 years old, his mother would drop him off at the course every day at 7:00AM in the summer. By the time he got picked up at 5:00PM he had 45 holes under his belt. “You have to be a long hitter to do well at this course.”
Karbowski then teed off at Hole #1 to officially start the season, and the ribbon cutting followed with Ron Otterson wielding the oversized scissors.
During the entire ceremony, there was a steady procession of golfers moving through the course, and this may be the real highlight of the day, the season, and this shining course. Area golfers should give this 9-hole course another look, especially if they were turned off in the past.