PHOTO BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN
King Rail Reserve Golf Course is scheduled to open April 1st.
By ANNE MARIE TOBIN
LYNNFIELD — King Rail Reserve Golf Course is finally off the endangered species list, according to head golf professional Donnie Lyons, who announced that the course will officially be open for play April 1. The course will open as a nine-hole, 2,500-yard layout, featuring the old Colonial Country Club’s original second through ninth holes, along with two newly configured holes.
“It will play to a par 34 with one par five, three par threes and five par fours,” Lyons said. “Unfortunately, we ran out of land, so the new ninth hole will play at only 85 yards or so, but we already have three or four leagues that signed up to play on a regular basis.
Lyons said he walked the course and found conditions to be fairly dry for this time of year, and he expects that once the course is cut on a regular basis, conditions – and traffic – will improve.
“The proximity to Route 128 should help drive up the number of rounds played, but I expect that we will cater to mostly seniors,” he said. “The mall may drive a few people to the course, but I think that this course will be geared to 150-yard hitters, who play for enjoyment and not for score. That player (doesn’t) want to play a longer 18-hole track like Sagamore, so we definitely cater to a different, more casual type golfer.”
The opening is the culmination of a plan put into place nearly ten years ago, when National Development purchased the golf course for its New Meadow Walk development, which is now named MarketStreet at Lynnfield. As part of its arrangement with the town, the developer agreed to donate 103 acres, consisting of seven holes, for a nine-hole municipal golf course. Three new greens were constructed, and two new holes were carved out of the existing seven to create a nine-hole layout. However, due to a worsening economy, the company’s development plans were put on hold.
“When the economy tanked, we went to Ted Tye (of National Development) and he said we could open the course, so we opened on May 10 in 2008,” Lyons said. “We had no carts, not even pull carts, and we also had no leagues. But we did have steady play.”
In October 2011, the course closed ostensibly for a two-year renovation that was supposed to be completed in 2014. That project was delayed for several reasons, and as a result, the town’s plans to open the course in 2015 were scrapped.
The pro shop staff currently operates out of a trailer until a permanent clubhouse is built.
“The trailer is already in and electricity will be in this week, but we have no cable or telephone, which is needed for credit cards,” Lyons said. “We have 25 carts, the same as at Reedy Meadow, and the rates will also be the same.”
Meanwhile, Reedy Meadow took advantage of a warm spell two weeks ago, and opened its doors to the public. When temperatures reached a high of 76 degrees that week, more than 80 golfers took to the links to enjoy the beautiful day.
Lynnfield resident Ryan Sheehan was able to get in a quick nine with former Lynnfield High School classmates Kevin Moresco and Matt Trainor.
“I wasn’t feeling that great, but realized how could I let such a great day go by,” Sheehan said while warming up on the practice putting green. “It’s probably as early as I have ever gotten out that I can remember. It may rain or snow in a day or two, but today is just too good a day not to get out and play golf.”
Lyons said plans are in the works for King Rail’s grand opening in early summer.
“We stand a much better chance of getting good weather and a good turnout if we wait until June or so,” he said. “We’ll have food and golf, maybe a cookout or something like that, so it will be a nice day for the town to celebrate the opening of the golf course after waiting so long.”