A view of The Bath Golf Club, which was established in 1932. Courtesy of Bath Golf Club

The Bath Golf Club is planning to reduce its 18-hole course to nine holes, building townhouses on the freed-up land in an effort to make the nearly 100-year-old club profitable.

The club, built in 1932 as a nine-hole course, hasn’t been profitable since it expanded to 18 holes in the mid-1990s, according to managing member Sean McCarthy.

McCarthy, who started working at the club in 2012 as part of the maintenance crew, was part of a group that purchased the club in 2016 in a debt-for-equity deal.

“This is a way to preserve a nine-hole course for the future and at the same time pay obligations we have and make it a financially stable situation,” McCarthy said.

He said the number of townhouses and projected construction schedule are being worked out. The units would likely be priced at the market rate. He declined to disclose the project’s expected cost.

“There’s a continued housing shortage in Maine and this area in particular, and if we can add housing stability, that’s an added benefit,” he said. “We’re looking into all possibilities on the nature of the units we would be building.”


The club is expected to present its plan to the Bath City Council Wednesday night.

The course, which sits on 120 acres, has 247 members. It was designed by golf architect Wayne Stiles, who designed courses along the East Coast. The club has a restaurant and frequently hosts weddings. Each winter, trails are plowed for the public to cross-country ski and its hills are used for sledding.

“We try to allow as much community involvement as we can,” McCarthy said.

The club is managed by Resurrection Golf, who also operates courses in Orono and Wells.

McCarthy wrote a letter to club members about the plan.

“While The Bath Golf Club has been — and continues to be — a place I love, there are realities that have made themselves clear to me over the years. Despite tireless efforts and despite various rounds of capital infusions, making The Bath Golf Club consistently profitable has been a great challenge (and a challenge that prior managers and owners have faced as well). While I know many will feel that a different strategy or structure may have produced different results, I have seen the histories of several ownership groups, whose trajectories would end in bankruptcy or something approaching it. There is, though, one time period during which the course thrived and had manageable expenses: the time period when it was a nine-hole course.

“I understand that this may be a difficult idea for many to swallow. I, too, have grown up with and have come to love this property. While a tough decision, I believe this will create a profitable business that can stabilize the club for years to come, and can allow us to dedicate green space in Bath in perpetuity.

“My goal is absolutely not to tear down something that everyone, including myself, has come to love and cherish. Rather, it is to establish something sustainable for the long term, future-proofed and stable without the looming and repeated threat of insolvency.”

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