Crumpin-Fox Club ranked best public golf course in state

  • Crumpin-Fox Club in Bernardston was ranked the best public golf course in Massachusetts by New England Golf Monthly.

  • Crumpin-Fox Club in Bernardston was ranked the best public golf course in Massachusetts by New England Golf Monthly. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

For the Gazette
Published: 9/10/2017 8:28:25 PM

BERNARDSTON — John Jackson, Crumpin-Fox Club’s director of golf, dreams that one day, the course will once again be one of the top 100 golf courses in the country.

A new accomplishment could be evidence that the course on Parmenter Road in the Franklin County town of Bernardston is well on its way to that goal. The Crumpin-Fox Club was recently ranked as the best public course in Massachusetts in New England Golf Monthly’s 2017 Best in Golf Awards.

The awards were determined using an online survey of New England Golf Monthly subscribers; global, national and regional level award lists; and a panel of judges in the golf industry, according to a New England Golf Monthly press release. The 2017 voting was one of the largest voting years to date, the release states.

New England Golf Monthly ranked New England’s best public courses, private courses, instructors, practice facilities and indoor golf centers from 1 to 25, and the best nine-hole public courses and executive public courses from 1 to 10. In all of New England, the Crumpin-Fox Club was ranked as the third best public course, falling below the Lake of Isles North Course in Connecticut and Newport National in Rhode Island. But in Massachusetts, the course came out on top.

“We’re super proud of getting this recognition,” Jackson said. “Having the No. 1 course in our backyard is pretty fun.”

Over the past year, the Crumpin-Fox Club’s owners have invested approximately $1 million in renovating the property, hoping to re-elevate it to top-100 status. Renovations involved installing a new deck off the clubhouse, adding sod to improve areas around the greens, adding new golf cart paths, installing a pavilion, and replacing the fleet of gas-powered golf carts with electric carts that feature GPS.

The course offered an open house in June showcasing the improvements, and Jackson said it’s humbling to have received the ranking so soon after “implementing the new Crumpin-Fox.”

“It’s so good for Franklin County and western Mass in general,” he said of the ranking. “Every business can benefit from having a sort of powerhouse like that in the region.”

Jackson said the Crumpin-Fox Club hasn’t received a similar award since 2010, the last time it was deemed the No. 1 public access course in Massachusetts by Golfweek. It also earned that ranking in 2002 and 2006.

As a way of thanking its patrons, Jackson said the Crumpin-Fox Club is reducing the price for Franklin County residents to play 18 holes of golf, with a cart, from $55 to $45 for the rest of the golf season, with no weekday time restrictions. Through the junior program, kids ages 12 and under also play for free.

“We had to come up with some way to thank people for making this happen,” he said. “For us it was obviously the residents who we needed to thank.”

However, the golf club has been criticized for raising membership rates, which it did last winter for the first time since 2010 to help finance renovations.

While membership packages vary and factor in discounts for longtime members and seniors, Jackson used the young professional package as an example. The package increased from $1,570 to $2,000, he said, though the course also added unlimited driving range access into all membership packages with the rate hike, something that was an optional add-on before.

Jackson said the 200-acre course currently has about 130 members, with 40 not renewing their memberships this year.

Still, Jackson said the course has remained busy, including with nonmembers who play sporadically. Through offering rounds to Franklin County residents for $45, he hopes to make golf more accessible to locals.

“We still feel like we’re offering very fair prices,” he said. “You won’t find a lot of courses that are less than $45, let alone one that’s the best public course in Massachusetts.”


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