Kevin Osgood, founder of Sterling Golf Management based in Newton, Ma., came into the business as a golf superintendent.
“I worked all my life on golf courses in New England as I’m originally from New Hampshire. I started the company 25 years ago. I always loved my first profession and will always refer to myself as a golf course superintendent, but I was very ambitious and knew I could do a lot more and needed some new excitement. I knew how to run a business, so I stepped forward.”
Osgood’s first course was Newton Commonwealth Golf Course, where he was already working. “Massachusetts Chapter 31B bid laws were changing that would require municipal properties to be put out to public bid, including golf courses. My first step was to incorporate a business that denoted quality, so in 1993 Sterling Golf Management, Inc. was established and that allowed me to be one of the bidders for the management contract. I got the job!”
At the time Newton Commonwealth needed more operational efficiency and an improvement in the overall management of the course. Osgood saw an opportunity to improve customer service, cleanliness, improved food service and a higher quality, better stocked pro shop operation. Today, twenty-five years later. Sterling operates 10 public golf courses.
“My focus has been to stay close, therefore all our courses circle the Boston area, from the north, to the west and the south of the city, with one Brian Silva designed gem of a course called The Shattuck Golf Club in southwestern New Hampshire, just across the Massachusetts border. This stunning layout at the base of Mount Monadnock is the 43rd toughest course in Golf Digests 50 Toughest Courses in the United States.”
Years later Sterling still operates Newton Commonwealth, a Donald Ross designed layout just outside of Boston along with the player-friendly Norwood Country Club on the “auto mile” in Norwood.
To the north of the city Sterling operates Crystal Lake Golf Club, Unicorn Golf Club, Stoneham Oaks Golf Club, and to the west it operates Chelmsford Country Club and Maynard Golf Club along with providing maintenance to a nine-hole fully lighted short course in Norfolk, Ma. called Fore Kicks.
“The reason for us maintaining Fore Kicks is that the owner of the property was building an 85,000 square foot indoor soccer complex and he wanted to tie in golf with soccer. Just south of the city we operate the longest par-three course east of the Mississippi River named Rockland Golf Course.”
Osgood continued, “Fifteen years later our first venture in New Hampshire (The Shattuck) is shining and busy with happy golfers and glowing brides and grooms. Here we operate our largest wedding operation in the stunning Cathedral Ballroom overlooking the golf course with Mount Monadnock in the backdrop. It’s a championship layout and, as a target course, the best golfers in the area love to come `take the challenge’ from the rear tees, yet we have a user-friendly set of “White Birch Tees” that are designed to reduce some of the carries and hazards and allow that customer just looking to come out and enjoy the stunning beauty of the course to play an easier layout.”
Sterling Golf employs around 300 seasonal staff during the summer and employs around 40 people year-round. “Our mission statement now is to grow by one course a year, and we have started 2018 out through the acquisition of Crystal Lake Golf Course in Haverhill, Ma, a wonderful player-friendly Geoffrey Cornish designed course built in 1960. Growth of one course a year allows us to manage a pace of maintaining the quality of service and conditions we strive for at our existing facilities, but also continue the growth that keeps us excited.”