Braintree’s Municipal Golf Course this Sunday will break its 57-year tradition of having an alcohol-free facility, as organizers prepare to offer beer and wine for the first time to patrons.
The course has been legally dry since the town purchased the facility in 1955. However, the one-day wine and malt license will be used for the Braintree South Tournament, held annually at the golf course.
“It’s a tournament open to anybody. It’s just a regular tournament that they have once a year that is probably one of the two big events they host every year. Probably about 100 people [come] – most are regular golfers with a few new folks that haven’t played the golf course before, they usually come as guests,” said Daryn Brown, director of golf operations at the facility.
Organizers initially intended to make alcohol available at both golf tournaments occurring at the club this year, but the request for the first tournament, held in June, went in too late.
For this Sunday's event, organizers were able to request the license well in advance. The mayor, who must approve any alcohol license that occur on town-owned land, also signed off on the day.
Because the golf course’s food service vendor holds liquor licenses in other towns, the vendor was already certified to serve alcohol, which made the process of procuring a one-day license easier, Brown said.
According to Brown, the event will be a good chance to see if other one-day alcohol licenses should be requested in the future. But he added that the day is in no way a trial run for a longer-term license.
“The mayor is well aware that we’re one of a handful, literally handful, of 50 or so municipal or state-owned golf courses that doesn’t have a liquor license, and that has an impact on revenue. So it's something we’ve been looking at,” Brown said. “[But] there was never a discussion … that this was a trial, and that was never the intent or discussion I had with the mayor. It was, 'If you want a one-day license, I’ll sign off on it.' ”
According to Brown, if the course wanted to serve alcohol more regularly, it would stick to beer and wine, and most likely wouldn’t have to procure one of the town’s few available liquor licenses.
It’s possible that the course would look into procuring a seasonal license, which wouldn't count against the number of liquor licenses each town is given.
“We haven’t gotten that far. There are a lot of people who are open to it, I’m sure there are people against it, so we’ll se how that goes. It is interesting that that option is available,” Brown said. ”But right now, we’re just trying to get this one small tournament in.
"It’s created a lot of interest, certainly, but really it’s what all the other municipal golf courses in our area have been doing for decades. We’re late getting into the ability for beer and wine.”
In fact, because the course doesn't sell beer or wine, Braintree has lost 80 percent of outside outings and tournaments that used to be held in town.
“Most of the Braintree-based charitable tournaments that were once here have gone to golf courses in other towns. You can't hold it against groups that want to hold a tournament in a place they can have food afterwards and a beer…and it's tough to operate, you have to operate with one hand behind your back. You’d hate to say beer is that much a part of golf … but [it is] and we’re unable to offer that,” Brown said.
Although the lack of a liquor license has held back the course in many ways, business has been good this past summer, Brown said.
“We haven’t had those huge rain events, so that has helped us. And with the early start we had in March and with a relatively dry April, as far as Aprils go in New England, we’ve had a good year…compared to last year, and we feel pretty positive about it,” Brown said.
With luck, the next few months will be equally as dry and profitable.
“We’ll see how September goes, and October can be a good month, but last October was terrible,” Brown said. .