HARWICH — Golfers at Cranberry Valley Golf Course seem to be very pleased with the services provided at the municipal course, judging from results of an annual survey.
Director of Golf Roman Greer started the annual survey when he came to the course three years ago to find out from the members “what we do correctly and what we need to correct.” He said the survey is designed to gauge find members' needs and is conducted around the Fourth of July, when the most members are in town, the course is in its best condition and the golfing demand is at its highest. The survey drew 147 responses this year.
Members provide a lot of feedback on course needs and policies. For example, Greer cited the tee time availability responses. Last year members were concerned they were not getting enough access to the course. So Greer added member times and access to unsold non-member times and installed a “block tee time” policy which replaced the former “every other tee time” policy.
“That was the biggest positive response,” Greer said of those changes.
The condition of the golf carts is also a concern of the golfing community, he said. The course is in the fourth year of a five-year contract with the carts, and the course in the midst of putting a bid package together for a new cart barn. Town meeting approved $1.2 million for the project and bids are due at the end of the month. He said with favorable weather conditions the new cart barn should be completed by April 1.
After the five-year contract for the existing carts is completed next year, the course will move away from gas carts and solar equipment will be installed to charge new electric carts. “Electric carts will be a better experience for the golfers,” Greer added.
As part of the cart barn construction project, the entrance to the course will be changed, making the area in front of the clubhouse a pedestrian walkway and a drop-off area for golf bags. There will be a new turnaround a little further west of the present loop and there will be solar lighting added to the parking lot.
The survey assists in the decision-making process at the course, Greer said. A previous survey raised issues about the condition of the cart paths on the course, and those conditions have been addressed and earned a satisfactory rating, he said.
This year's survey indicated some concern about the condition of the bunkers, which Greer said are reaching the end of the life cycle and need work. That's an area identified as for in need of attention. Issues were also raised about the speed of greens, which Greer attributes to the wet spring this year.
Greer had praise for the condition of the municipal course, stating regionally Cranberry Valley is known for its excellent conditions, and that starts with superintendent Shawn Fernandez, whom he called the “best superintendent on the Cape.”
The survey even weighs in on the food service provided in the clubhouse. Greer said the Hot Stove received a very high rating from the membership last year and the numbers went up this year. “It's a very professional operation and we hope it lasts a long time,” Greer said.
“His (Greer's) efforts to support and nurture the Hot Stove at Cranberry Valley have produced one of the finer restaurants I have encountered at area golf courses,” Jack Connolly, president of the Cranberry Valley Men's Golf Association, said.
Customer satisfaction is a focal point of the operation and each spring starts with a customer service training session for pro shop staff, rangers and starters. That is paying off at the course, Greer added.
“There has been a remarkable change in the two years since Roman has taken over the reins at Cranberry Valley,” Connolly said. “There is a definite and noticeable focus on the customer and member experience. Roman is always willing to listen to and deal with member and customer issues. He has focused on pace of play at the course and it has made a difference. He has instituted a number of changes with the Chelsea tee time scheduling system to make it easier and more equitable to schedule tee times. He is an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by Marge Mello, president of the Women's Golf Association, who cited Greer and his staff's “professionalism and focus on making each member experience positive and supportive. Roman is always available to respond to questions or concerns and we feel that he truly cares about supporting women's golf at Cranberry Valley. Roman has created an overall culture at Cranberry Valley that is engaging, friendly, personal and responsive.”
Greer has been working to bring junior golfers to the course, which helps to feed membership numbers down the road. He said the junior exposure response has been very good from middle school and high school golfers. He also volunteers with the school teams.
Monomoy Regional High School golf coach John Anderson said, “As the head of the Monomoy varsity boys golf team in the fall and the varsity girls golf team in the spring, it has been my teams' privilege to utilize the awesome facilities at Cranberry Valley. Between the outstanding staff and generous members of Cranberry Valley, our entire team is so grateful to be members of the Cranberry Valley Golfing Community.”
Greer is even bring technology to the course through the use of a free Cranberry Valley app and providing starters with iPads so when golfers see a problem on the course, they call use their cell phone to call it in and address the issue in more timely manner.