Ferncroft Country Club has a storied history. Completed in 1970 and originally called Topsfield County Club at Ferncroft Village, it took many steps for the Club to evolve to what it is today.
The idea of Ferncroft CC was conceived by developer Joe Mass in 1957, when he purchased the first parcel of land that was to be part of the Club. He envisioned a haven where people could enjoy the peace and privacy of the country while being close to the cultural and economic richness that Boston provided. Mass and his son were trustees for the property under National Venture Trust.
Mass brought in renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., along with his son Rees, who tagged along on what would prove to be the first job of his illustrious carrer. The Jones golf course was a large draw to the Club in its first years, as it still is today.
In 1972 the Club’s name changed from Topsfield to Ferncroft, and the main clubhouse was constructed. As the site of the 1973 and 1974 New England PGA Tournaments and host to other state and national championships, Ferncroft CC was prospering.
The Ferncroft CC owners developed a condominium building called Ferncroft Tower that opened in 1975; however, ownership of it and the Club changed in 1978 when the Bay State Investors Corporation purchased the Ferncroft CC, the Tower, and the almost-finished Ferncroft Inn from National Venture Trust. Bay State opened the Ferncroft Inn under the Radisson name that year.
Around this time Ferncroft CC emerged as the site of more exciting tournament golf – the Club hosted the NEPGA Championships from 1976-1978, the USGA Amateur qualifier, the PGA Club Pro qualifier, the NEPGA Pro-Press, NEPGA Pro-Am Championship, and two Governor’s Cups. In 1979 the NEPGA settled its headquarters in the Radisson Resort Ferncroft.
From 1980-1990 Ferncroft CC hosted the LPGA Boston Five Classic, a tournament that attracted all the top LPGA players and the largest attendance figures on the women’s tour most years. Near the top of North Shore Golf Magazine’s list of “The 10 Greatest Moments in North Shore Golf History” is Barb Mucha’s win of the 11th and final Boston Five LPGA Classic played at Ferncroft CC in 1990:
Mucha will be remembered not so much for her winning golf that summer week, but for being the last Boston Five winner and for being the only champion to take a celebratory leap into the pond fronting the 18th green. Best of all for the North Shore golf family, it enjoyed 11 weeks of Christmas in summer, 44 days of championship golf that were marred by only one hour of rain total, millions of dollars for the local economy, hundreds of thousands for Greater Boston charities and exciting play by the likes of future Hall of Famers Amy Alcott, Sandra Palmer and Donna Caponi, all Boston Five victors.
We had a great run with the tournament,” said long-time Boston Five chairman Bob Spiller. “An ideal site, wonderful support, perfect weather and fine champions.”
In 1983 ownership changed hands as Chase Manhattan purchased the property, then once more as Chase sold Ferncroft CC to the Flatley Company in 1984. Under this new owner the Club became the Tara Ferncroft CC, part of the Sheraton Tara Hotel & Resort. Flatley also renovated the Sheraton Tara and sold development rights to build townhouses and another condominium tower. The Flatley Company completed the par 3 executive course, renovated several tees, and built a new Member’s Room at the Club.
In 1997, the Flatley Company sold Ferncroft CC and the Sheraton Tara to Starwood Hotels. A group of investors that included Olympus Real Estate Partners and Arnold Palmer Enterprises purchased the Club and hotel from Starwood in 2003. After managing the hotel and Club for a year, the group sold both to Merit Hospitality in 2004. Merit installed a new golf irrigation system at Ferncroft CC before selling the hotel and Club to WPH Boston LLC in August 2005. In February 2006, WPH Boston LLC sold the Club alone to Affinity Management – the first owner to focus solely on the Club in Ferncroft CC history.
Affinity, excited that Ferncroft CC was finally freed from its ties to the hotel, concentrated on making many numerous renovations and upgrades to the Club’s course and facilities. In 2006 and 2007 over $2 million in restorations were completed, including:
- Completely renovating and reopening the previously dormant 19th Hole restaurant
- Building a new multi-section practice area with a driving range, a short game area, a chipping green, and a putting green
- Performing drainage work on 14 holes
- Repaving the cart paths
- Redoing the pool deck and interior
- Adding a new pool heater
- Constructing new cabanas
- Refurbishing poolside bathrooms
- Creating a new poolside snack bar and full-service beverage bar
- Building a sand play area by removing the volleyball courts
- Installing a fitness room filled with top-of-the-line equipment
- Restoring all eight tennis courts
Assembling a first-class management staff
Since 2008 Affinity has invested another $1.5 million in the Club. Dining room renovations were completed to accommodate continuing growth by more than doubling the Club's restaurant capacity. Target greens on the practice range were added to complement the new short game area, one acre grass tee and 175-foot synthetic turf tee.
Most recently, Affinity completed a major dredging project on the course's ponds and armored several greens along the way with stone walls to prevent erosion into the ponds.