Kevin Osgood, Founder and President of Sterling Golf Management based in Newton, Ma., came into the business as a golf course superintendent in 1980. He’s still working that side of the steadily growing company, as well as various at other administrative and employee training duties.
“I started a golf course management company 28 years ago,” said Osgood, “because I always loved my profession, the game, the golf business, understood what the golfer wants, could assist properties with improvements and knew how to run a business. I stepped forward.”
Osgood is Past-President of the New England Golf Course Owner’s Association, Past-President & the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New England and has been on the MGA Board of Directors, as well as the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund.
After beginning with one course, Newton Commonwealth Golf Course, where Osgood once served as Head Superintendent, the company has expanded to include Norwood Country Club and Practice Center, Crystal Lake Golf Club in Haverhill, Rockland Golf Club (the second longest 18-hole Par-3 course in the U.S.), and nine-hole courses Unicorn Golf Club & Stoneham Oaks Golf Club in Stoneham, Chelmsford Country Club, and Maynard Golf Club. It also provides maintenance services for a nine-hole fully-lighted short course in Norfolk called-Fore Kicks.
Jay Miller, a past golf course owner in California, golf course owner of the year in California, and a recipient of the National Golf Course of the Year Award, serves as the company’s Director of Golf Course Operations.
Miller, like Osgood, is upbeat about the company and golf in general. “We were up in rounds about 38 percent across the board last year and our gross revenue was up and that is without banquets, catering and food and beverage sales.”
Because many activities that shut down last year have started up again, especially adult and youth sports, Miller anticipates that rounds at Sterling Golf courses will be down by between 10 to 16 percent this summer. But that’s still far beyond the pre-COVID-19 pandemic numbers when golf was in a bit of a holding pattern.
“Our nine-hole courses are doing particularly well,” said Miller. “Many people who worked at home last year found that they could easily sneak out for a couple of hours and play some golf. We see that trend continuing in 2021. Overall revenue should increase this year because banquets, catering and the restaurants are up and running again.”
Miller said, “We saw a lot of young people in their 20s and 30s playing last year, the millennials, and I think that will continue to be a plus for the industry a whole. They may not play by the rules all the time and listen to music on the course, but they have fun and always post photos on Facebook and Instagram. And they stop in and have a cheeseburger and beer afterwards. We are also seeing a spike in our lessons for youngsters and beginners, especially women. Our league play is also strong.”
Miller said Sterling Golf will bring new fleets of golf carts on line this year, although the carts were on back order early in the season because of a slowdown in the supply chain.
Sterling Golf is also deeply committed to growing the game among juniors. “We are the leading golf company in New England for Mass Golf’s Youth on Course program rounds. Youngsters six to 18 can play on our courses at certain times for only five dollars (after an initial $15 registration fee). These youngsters are our future customers. Our PGA Junior Leagues and junior camps are sold out.”
Miller points to several factors for Sterling Golf’s success. “We have a great staff, from our general managers through all our positions. We are customer service-oriented and Kevin Osgood and the Osgood family have created stability for our employees. They are loyal to their employees and the employees return that loyalty. Hardly anybody leaves the company once they are on board.”