The pump house sits between the Goddard Monument and the irrigation pond. ©2016 John R. Anderson

When the Town of Auburn took over the golf course on January 1st of last year, DPW Director Bill Coyle knew there was a lot of work to be done. A FEMA grant was funding a retention pond along the 5th hole to prevent rainwater from impacting Meadowbrook Road, and construction was underway, but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

The irrigation system was in tough shape, and startup funds replaced one pump, repaired the second well, and replaced the electrical service in the pump house which was largely rebuilt at the same time. This might seem overwhelming to a small staff, but newly hired Superintendent Pete Corio took it all in stride. With 32 years of golf course management behind him, Corio has encountered most maintenance challenges on the links.

Corio said the tees and greens were in decent shape when the town took over operations and now all are irrigated properly. He and groundskeeper Christopher Hanlan oversaw the installation of 800 feet of new irrigation lines in this process. The women’s tees were also rebuilt on holes 7 and 9.

The area around the irrigation pond was cleared and a fountain was installed to aerate the water and reduce algae. It looks

The golf carts were very popular this past season although many preferred foot power. ©2016 John R. Anderson

nice as well. Brush was removed and trees were trimmed throughout the course, and some of the fairways saw improvements to reduce wet areas and make them safer for carts and walkers. Fairways 2 and 5 were overseeded, and targeted irrigation will be installed in certain areas in the future.

While the outside improvements were ongoing, the DPW’s Facilities crew completely renovated the clubhouse interior and brought everything up to code. They also installed an expanded deck were guests can grab lunch or a snack. Auburn’s Director of Recreation and Culture Kristen Pappas moved her office to the clubhouse and serves as the manager. She is back at town hall for the winter but will return when the course can welcome its first golfers of the spring.

Pappas said, “There were a lot of great comments from people returning to the course, and we’ve been able to keep prices reasonable.” She experimented with prepared sandwiches during the weekend, and they always sold out. They are exploring other food options for the upcoming season, and the town will be applying for a beer and wine license after a successful trial period in September.

Town Manager Julie Jacobson said of the course, “We have a passion for it because it is a town facility. Rates will remain the same in 2017, reasonable and competitive.” She concluded, “Everyone’s rowing in the same boat and in the same direction.”

If you’re a golfer who hasn’t been to Pakachoag in a while or ever, 2017 is a great time to start. Discounted memberships end tomorrow at midnight.