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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tedesco Country Club opens new $11M clubhouse

Tedesco Country Club President Jim McCathern, center, hands over the keys of the new clubhouse to Cliff Boggis as Tom Iarrobino looks on Wednesday at the golf course. (Photo / Paula Muller)

MARBLEHEAD - Members of Tedesco Country Club endured nearly a season-and-a-half with clubhouse amenities relocated to trailers in the parking lot. Neighbors endured a season-and-a-half of construction. But the groups joined Wednesday night to admire the country club’s new $11 million clubhouse.

“We made a lot of noise, a lot of dust, for a while” said Club Administration Manager Ginny Burke at a neighbor’s Open House on Wednesday evening. “We wanted to give a thank you for bearing with us.”

Tedesco Country Club has straddled the Marblehead and Swampscott border — with its clubhouse in the former and part of its 18-hole golf course in the latter — since its incorporation in 1903, according to Clubhouse Manager Gregg Lindsay. The private club currently has 504 primary members, in addition to their spouses and children, said Burke. It is very exclusive: New members must be nominated by five current members and a membership with full golfing privileges — the most expensive of several levels of membership — currently costs $30,000 for an entry fee and annual dues of $5,500, Burke said.

Members and club officials have discussed a new clubhouse for a long time, several club officials said Wednesday night, and the new building reflects how members’ needs have changed since the previous clubhouse was constructed in the 1930s.

A function room with an outdoor patio is capable of hosting more than 200 people for weddings and events, said Burke. Expanded kitchen facilities enable the club to host functions and still serve members in the dining room at the same time, Lindsay said. There is a new fitness center. A soon-to-open room with “indoor hitting bays” that Chairman of the Grounds and member Tom Landry described as like a virtual-reality driving range, will offer feedback on members’ swings when the room is ready this fall. Landry and several other members noted that every member now has their own full-size locker. Meanwhile, the old formal dining room and Grill Room have been combined into a single, large dining area that can be dressed up or down as the situation requires, said Landry.

Not that the old clubhouse wasn’t loved.

“When you have a private membership, (a new building) takes a long time,” joked Burke.

“Everybody had a lot of good memories — it was a good old building,” said Tedesco Country Club President Jim McCathern. “It was a passionate debate but (the new building construction) did pass and the membership has united behind it and got excited about having the new clubhouse.”

And the most important aspect of the country club — the golf course — remains mostly the same. The new clubhouse and a new putting green required slight changes to the First and Third tee, but the course otherwise remains the same, said Grounds Manager Pete Hasak.

And both neighbors and members at the open house said they were impressed with the new building — even despite construction that relegated the Grill Room to a trailer and brought heavy machinery to the site and required blasting a bit of ledge.

“It was actually really fun to watch it come together,” said neighbor Joy Purdin.

“I think everybody feels like it was worth the wait,” said McCathern.