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Options abound for Northfield golf course


Northfield Golf Club clubhouse. Recorder/Paul Franz

Northfield Golf Club clubhouse. Recorder/Paul Franz

NORTHFIELD — A pub and restaurant, renewed ice skating pond, hiking trails and a bed-and-breakfast are all possibilities for the future of the Northfield Golf Club if a prospective new owner closes the deal on the 153-acre property.

Edward Snow Jr., of Leyden, entered into a purchase agreement with the Northfield Mount Hermon School for the nine-hole golf course and adjacent wetlands in October. Snow said he hopes the transaction will be completed by the end of January.

Though Snow’s company, Snow & Sons Tree & Land-scaping, has run and maintained the golf course since 2011, the course is being purchased by Snow and his family, not by the business.

Snow, along with his wife and daughter, had an informal meeting with Northfield residents interested in the property Tuesday.

“We’re here because we want to know what you want, what Northfield wants, for the property,” said Snow.

When the course went up for sale this spring, a group of residents organized to see what they could do to preserve the property and keep the 52-acre wetland protected, and save the nine-hole golf course from development.

Snow assured them Tuesday that he intends to keep the property largely as is, with no plans to develop the wetlands, to add a “back nine” or otherwise to change the course layout.

Members of the group, as well as residents participating in the ongoing master plan, have also said they’d like to see a pub in town, and felt the course would be an ideal setting for the establishment.

Snow agreed.

“We’d love to have a restaurant and pub, and have it be Northfield’s place to go, not just a place to be for golfers,” Snow said, adding that it would be included in a new clubhouse.

He also hopes to increase parking on the property, for golfers and hikers alike.

Resi-dents asked Snow if he planned to use environmentally sensitive landscaping practices on the golf course, which is part of the Connecticut River watershed.

“We’re careful about what we use (on the grounds),” Snow replied, adding that protecting the local watershed is important to him and his family.

He said he would also like to see the course provide its own water for irrigation. It’s currently supplied by the NMH-owned East Northfield Water Co., though Snow hopes to install wells or find another sustainable water source.

“There’s water all around the property, and we should be using it to water the course,” he said.

Many asked Snow to consider ways to showcase the history of the property, including former neighbors the Northfield Inn and Chateau, torn down decades ago.

Though the sale is pending, Snow has already started to improve the property.

Work has begun on “Bonnie Blink,” also known as the Dickerson House, a Victorian structure on the north end of the course. The Snows hope to turn it back into the bed-and-breakfast it once was.

“Our vision is to have five bedrooms, with a couple of common areas,” said Snow’s daughter, Shelby Snow, who would live in and manage the bed-and-breakfast. “There’s a lot to be done inside and out in order to meet the building code. It’s a three-year plan.”

They’ve begun clearing brush around the house, and plan to repair the building from the outside in. Ed Snow said the structure itself is in excellent shape.

Snow has also resumed maintenance on trails in the 52-acre wetlands portion of the property, after they went unmaintained for several years. He said he would like to increase public access to the trails, as long as liability won’t be an issue.

He said he’d also like to encourage off-season uses of the property, such as sledding and cross-country skiing.

Snow said he wants to hear more Northfield residents’ opinions on the future of the golf course. He may be reached at northfieldgolfcourse@gmail.com

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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