Stow Acres is Future Focused… May 29, 2013

One of many pastoral views of Stow Acres’ 328 acres of open space.
Courtesy photo

By Nancy Arsenault

While the economy has caused ownership changes or turned golf courses into housing developments, Stow Acres Country Club, Stow’s oldest and largest golf course, is still considered one of the premiere public golf facilities in the area.

Boasting two 18-hole courses, North and South, the North course was selected as one of America’s 50 best public courses by Golf Digest in the 1980s and 1990s. The U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship was hosted there in 1995, only the second time ever in New England. From 2003-2006, Stow Acres hosted the Monday qualifier for the PGA’s Deutsche Bank Championship held at the Tournament Players Club Boston and continues to be the site of major tournaments.

The Club has had essentially the same ownership since 1986 when Walter Lankau and Roger Kane took over the business from the Paige brothers. In 2002, Lankau became sole owner and is directing the club to its approaching 100-year anniversary. The 328 acre parcel is zoned residential and could potentially become the site of the town’s largest subdivision if ever sold to developers, and while any sale activity is denied by ownership, Lankau has met with Stow town officials concerning the future of this vast tract of land.

Planning Board minutes describe a joint effort from October thru December of 2012, between Lankau and members of the Planning Board, Board of Selectmen, Open Space Committee, Community Preservation Committee and Conservation Committee to explore the possibility of the town purchasing the development rights to the property. While Lankau was not intending to sell to anyone at the time, Planning Board Coordinator Karen Kelleher said on Mondaythat Lankau hoped the town could assist him with future planning considerations, one of which could include this option involving the town and development rights or working with him on zoning issues. If the town did purchase these rights, development of the property could be controlled and formed into a vision that is most compatible with the future plans for the town, said Kelleher.

For now, Kelleher is confident that Stow Acres is focused completely on golf and continuing to support a thriving golf business on the property.  The golf school at Stow Acres is part of Lankau’s forward thinking approach, growing the game at all levels. Six certified teaching pros offer lessons and instruction, with the school also operating the expansive driving range and practice area on Randall Road, running alongside the course. Golfers from all over New England come to Stow Acres for multi-day lesson programs which Stow Acres sees as a way to grow the game, build participation and nurture an affinity to this local course.

During the season, Stow Acres is reaching out to the local community with a number of programs they hope will bring Stow residents and their families onto the course. Instituted a few years ago, Family Fun Night is continuing this season, offering families a chance to golf together at a greatly reduced price. The program begins every Sunday at 4pm,  when parents and their children all play from the “Family Tees” on the South Course, one of the only times golfers have the option to play just 9-holes at the course.

There is also a  strong ladies league made up of many local players and Wednesdays are designated as ladies day between 11-2:30.  Seniors and Juniors receive discounted rates on the north and south course during designated hours.