Massena native returns as country club’s new GM

The town of Louisville has acquired the Massena Country Club with plans to operate it as a public golf course. The agreement has been signed and the assets transferred from Massena Country Club, Inc. to the town for what will be called The River Course at Louisville Landing Recreation. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

LOUISVILLE — The town of Louisville has acquired the Massena Country Club with plans to operate it as a public golf course.

The agreement has been signed and the assets transferred from Massena Country Club Inc. to the town for what will be called The River Course at Louisville Landing Recreation.

“It’s a recreational facility. We really didn’t want to see it closed,” Town Supervisor Larry Legault said.

The land is owned by the New York Power Authority, but the buildings will be owned by the town.

Mr. Legault said they’ve been in negotiations for the town to take over the country club.

“We had reached out to the town and village of Massena to see if they wanted to be involved in this endeavor. We tried to set up a meeting with the Power Authority to discuss the transition, but we were never able to set up a meeting,” he said.

He said the country club’s Board of Directors turned over the assets and $85,000 to the town as part of the deal.

The agreement is for the town to take over day-to-day operations and management of the golf course, and the town will operate it as a public golf course with zero taxpayers dollars being used for any costs related to the golf course.

“We didn’t assume the debt. We assumed the assets. We in turn have hired a general manager, Perry French, to work with the town. We put a budget together. We feel very good that we’re going to be able to make this work. There will no taxpayer money used to run the golf course. We actually think there’s going to be additional revenue at the end of the season that we’ll be able to invest back into the golf course,” Mr. Legault said.

The property is being rebranded as The River Course at Louisville Landing Recreation to honor the historical site of Louisville Landing, which was lost when the area was flooded during the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“We’re not looking to be just a golf course. We’re looking at having a recreational facility year-round. We’re looking at other opportunities during the summer and winter months,” he said.

For instance, he said, a walking trail already extends to Whalen Park, and that could be extended out to the Massena Intake “and hopefully on to Barnhart Island.”

Along with the agreement to take over the country club, the Louisville Town Board has Mr. French, a PGA professional, to serve as general manager and director of golf operations.

“We’ve already hired someone who has already been working behind the scenes,” Mr. Legault said.

Mr. French, a Massena native and Massena Central High School graduate, brings many years of industry experience with him.

“He is excited to return home to reconnect with the north country community and bring his expertise back to the course where he grew up playing high school and junior golf,” according to a press release from the town.

Mr. French is planning to host local fundraisers, competitive golf events for all skill levels, and family and junior golf programming, and there are additional plans for year-round use of the golf course which will be announced later in the season.

The town website — louisvillenewyork.com — and town of Louisville’s Facebook page will list the 2021 season pass fee and daily rates by March 1, and season golf passes will be available then, with several options to choose from, discounted pricing for early payments, and reduced golf fees for seniors, juniors and military personnel.

Mr. French will also offer a fully-stocked golf pro shop and operate the clubhouse food and beverage services, both of which will be open to the public.

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(2) comments

Joseph Savoca

I wonder how the town can take over day-to-day operations and management and hire someone without the use of taxpayer money.

Charlie McGrath

It happened so fast with little communication to the people. No hearings were scheduled as far as I am aware. No one has made money at the country club in the last thirty years. I would be interested to review the feasibility study to see the financial projections. There should have been one. Probably not. It's all taxpayer money whether it's from a water district or a golf course. It is my understanding that the machinery is shot and needs to be replaced. Golf course equipment is expensive. We're in now.

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