Ellinwood CC celebrating 90th anniversary

  • Tom Day’s scorecard when he shot a course record back in 1992, from Ellinwood Country Club STAFF PHOTO/ADAM HARGRAVES

  • Ellinwood Country Club’s bar area, which is part of the banquet hall and can house 50 people.  STAFF PHOTO/ADAM HARGRAVES

  • Tucker Ninteau, of Mahar, tees off at Ellinwood Country Club last season for the Mahar golf team.  FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Aerial view of Ellinwood Country Club in Athol.  FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/8/2019 12:06:03 PM

 Back in 1929, world famous golf course designer Donald Ross helped build nine holes in Athol, and Ellinwood Country Club was born.

Fast forward to 2019 and the now 18-hole course will celebrate its 90th year in business on the southern end of Pleasant Street.   

Glenn Mallet is the president and golfing coordinator at Ellinwood. 

“If you want an outing,” Mallett said. “Or you want to put on a tournament for a charitable organization call me up. I have one purpose, to help this golf course survive.”

Ellinwood is a par 71 and is known for its abundance of par 3 holes.

The original design changed in 1969 when nine more holes were added designed by Geoffrey Cornish.

The 18-holes are now interspersed between Cornish and Ross.

Ross is well-known for his slanted smaller greens, well encapsulated by sand. Cornish’s greens tend to be bigger and more flat.

“If you play our golf course,” Mallet said. “You know what holes Donald Ross built.” 

Mallet once was a caddie for Bob Menne, who played on the PGA Tour before retiring in 1997.

Menne is from Gardner and has a PGA Tour win at the Kemper Open in 1974. 

“He played up here, back in the the day we had an amateur tournament at our club,” Mallet said. “This committee would invite all the top amateur golfers from the Worcester County area. 

“I was probably 14 and he was 21 or 22 just thinking about being a pro. Eventually, he did.”

Ellinwood has about 150 current members, a number that had dwindled over the 90 years of business. 

Ellinwood is planning a party on as well as a fundraiser on April 12 to celebrate the beginning of the 2019 golf season as well as the 90th anniversary.  

“We are raising money for our projects,” Mallet said. “We are having $20,000 money raffle that night.”

It will be at Ellinwood’s banquet hall that dates back to its beginning. 

“That banquet hall was in the original building,” Mallet said. “It’s all rustic inside. Very beautiful.”

The banquet hall can entertain up to 175 people along with a bar area that can seat up to 50 people and the 19th hole (clubhouse) is there for snacks and beverages.

The 19th hole was built in the 1980s.

At Ellinwood’s yearly championships Charlie Baxter was a consistent winner, taking down the title 18 times from 1964 to 2011. 

Mary Harris was the champion 18 times as well from 1992 to 2015. Harris is also the current vice president of the country club.  

On the plaque in the 19th hole, the last husband and wife team of Chris and Kathy Gauvin won in 2001.   

Tom Day holds the course record, according to a framed picture in the 19th hole, with a 63.

Day eagled back-to-back holes on the front nine on his way to the record in July of 1992.

In 2018, Nelson LeadbetterJr. became the youngest club champion in the club’s history. 

The Mahar golf team plays at Ellinwood every fall. Tucker Ninteau is going into his senior season next year for the Senators.  

“It’s definitely a tough course,” Ninteau said. “Very narrow. It’s a course you need to play a few times before you can expect to do well on. Once you understand it, it’s a fun challenge.”

The Senators used to play their home matches at Petersham Country Club before it closed in 2013.

“When Petersham closed, it was either we moved to Ellinwood or we stopped having a team,” Ninteau said. “It’s very convenient for us to be able to play there. It’s easier to get practice in. They have always been friendly and open to us using their course. My golf has gotten a lot better because of how much I am allowed to play there.”

Ninteau’s best round at Ellinwood was an 81, which he shot last season for the Senators. 

The semi-private Ellinwood offers individual, family, weekday, senior, young adult, junior, college student, high school and corporate memberships.

Ellinwood can be reached at 978-249-7460 and at ellinwoodgolf.com.  

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