by Magda Dakin
SUTTON - Where can you get jumbo shrimp and oysters for a dollar? At the Blackstone National Golf Club and the National Grill! To celebrate 15 years of operation the National Grill is hosting one-dollar happy hour specials from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The restaurant's setting overlooking the 18th hole and the beautiful long distance views of the neighboring hills and valleys make for a leisurely happy hour. Outdoor patio seating and live music on the weekends also add to the ambiance of the place.
A look at the menu gives you a flavor of the friendly environment at the golf club and the dining experience. With names like Matt’s Pro Burger, Patty’s Veggie Delight, and Marnie's Classic BLT you get the idea that people matter here. In addition to naming entrees after the people who work here there are a few named after owner Michael Gordon's dogs. They are well behaved and appreciate a pat on the head if you see them nearby.
Patty Jackman, food and beverage manager, has been with the club for more than ten years. She's responsible for planning and executing functions held on the grounds, which include weddings, prom parties, graduations, showers, corporate and other events. The food is great, she says, and the view is awesome.
Marnie Havalotti is the club's sales associate, which includes coordinating the marketing, social media, community outreach, and the occasional stint as bartender.
Speaking of events, there is another whole menu of events for the golf club itself. Owner and President Michael C. Gordon is an avid golfer who had a vision “to bring high quality affordable golf to the local golfing community.” He has spent the last 15 years working this dream. “There have been ups and downs,” he says, but he is very proud of what he’s accomplished. In fact, GolfWeek magazine agrees with him as they named the Blackstone National Golf Club “one of the top ten best courses to play in 2014” in Massachusetts.
Market analysts say the golf industry was “in trouble” a few years back but is stabilizing now and with the uptick in seniors with disposable income it is holding its own. Gordon has weathered this storm and come out with an incredible product to share with his fellow golf lovers.
The public course covers 275 acres of lush hills and valleys. The well known and respected golf course designer Rees Jones designed and built the course, which took three years to complete. Jones's challenge was to design an authentic, yet playable, course for the public market. Listening to Gordon's dream and following the natural contours of the land he designed each hole to blend with the environment, embellishing natural elements while always being sensitive to environmental issues.
Although Blackstone National is a public course there are a limited number of members, 200, who primarily are paying for first dibs on tee times. Membership fees are very low comparatively speaking and there is generally a waiting list for them. “Making golf accessible to the average person and giving them a first class experience is very important to me,” says Gordon.
Matt Stephens, the general manager and golf director, likes what he does and even if he doesn’t get to play very often, he says he gets enjoyment out of seeing the players on the course and knowing they are having a great experience. When asked what makes Blackstone National special he indicates the professionally designed first class course, the constant positive feedback he gets about his staff and the community outreach programs. He especially likes the Blackstone National Golf Card for casual golfers, “It helps to make them feel at home here at BNGC.”
Patrick Beahn is the newest golf pro at Blackstone National, but this is his fourth year here. He agrees that the awesome course and availability to the community make this a great place to golf.
Jay Sneider, golf course superintendent, has done an incredible job maintaining the grounds, especially after the devastating drought of 2010 and the failure of two of the wells.
Blackstone National has a number of pricing options that will fit most any budget. There are special pricing events for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, The Frequent Golfers Card, Senior discounts, etc. which are described on the website. www.BNGC.net as well as their facebook page www.facebook.com/blackstonenationalgolfclub.
Blackstone National is a favorite location for corporate and business functions with the capacity to take groups as large as 140 golfers at one time. Five sets of tees tailors the course to the level of each individual player, making it enjoyable for everyone. Add to that four golf pros for lessons and assistance, state of the art golf carts with GPS and snack ordering capabilities, a ‘Shack’ and food cart to supply your refreshment needs when you’re not at the clubhouse, all to enhance your golfing experience.
Upcoming events include the Family Fun Day on June 22, which includes free golf, the first Blackstone Idol contest, specially priced family meals, sundae bar, prizes and much more. Reservations for tee times are required. 508 865-2111X3. In July the North American Golf Tour will have its regional 3-day event at Blackstone National.
The Blackstone National Golf Course and National Grill is a great place to spend a day, an afternoon or an evening. Whether you want to have a fun happy-hour cocktail, listen to the music, watch golfers, golf yourself, or just view the scenery you can do it all at Blackstone National, 227 Putnam Hill Rd., Sutton Mass, 508 865-2111.