LOUISVILLE — A 1979 Massena Central High School graduate and PGA professional has returned home to become general manager and director of golf operations at the Massena Country Club, which is now being rebranded as “The River Course at Louisville Landing Recreation” following its transfer to the town of Louisville.
Perry French had been doing golf sales in Kentucky when he learned about the opportunity at the golf course.
“I come home every year for the last 40 years for summer vacation, to visit the family and enjoy the golf course,” he said.
Over the years, he has kept tabs on what was happening at the country club, most recently the struggles to keep the golf course open.
“I was in contact with board members from the golf course. I started to talk to the town of Louisville board last summer,” Mr. French said. “I had a good career working golf sales. I had a lot of good friends. It was just really time to come back home and kind of give back to the community in the place where I grew up.”
Golf has been his life. While in high school, Mr. French played on the golf team for four years, and as captain for the final two years. He also played hockey, but when it came time to choose a career path in high school, he took the road to a career in golfing and never looked back.
“The golf industry is huge,” he said.
But it hasn’t always been on an upward trend. Mr. French said the 1990s were a booming time for golf courses. But when 9-11 hit, “it was a pretty big setback for the golf industry. There hasn’t been much growth.”
But, then came COVID-19, and things started to pick up. Golf courses provided individuals with a recreational opportunity while maintaining social distancing and other COVID-related requirements.
“It was a silver lining for sure. I think it was enough of a year to make this transition. The club has been struggling with the number of players, but it just took on a new life last year. I think it’s going to be the same way going forward. I think they found the dynamic of getting out and socializing. I think there’s a newfound excitement about what’s ahead for the golf course. Hopefully this rebirth of golf will continue and help the course transition and be more successful,” he said.
Mr. French said they want to offer various activities that fit what the community wants.
“We’ll have programs in place that we’re going to try to introduce to the community to get people get involved, get families involved and get them to spend some time together and enjoy the game,” he said. “It’s an ongoing challenge for all facilities. You just have to keep the people engaged. Hopefully we’ll continue to grow and bring more people into the game.”
They plan to announce their schedule in March or the first of April at the latest. An introduction to golf will likely be among those activities.
“Come out and learn the game and find out about the game. It’s a fun game. It’s social, you can meet new people. The clubhouse is a great setting and host for a lot of private events. You just have to keep the people engaged,” he said.
They will also be supporting fundraisers.
“We’re making the course available to fundraising activities for those associations that want to get people together and help a cause. The charity aspect of golf is huge for all of the things it does. It brings people together,” Mr. French said.
He said, when talking about golf, people assume it’s too much money to participate.
“The fees we put this year are less than last year to get more people to come to the golf course,” he said.
It’s a dilemma to change the fees, but also have enough income to maintain the golf course.
“That’s going to be the challenge that we’re faced with,” Mr. French said.
The town website — louisvillenewyork.com — and town of Louisville’s Facebook page will list the 2021 season pass fee and daily rates, 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.