GREAT BARRINGTON — The Egremont Country Club has decided to close for the 2020 season due to COVID-19 and the pending sale of the property in October to a buyer who will likely build a home there, according to one of the club's three owners.
Frank Mazzarelli, who also manages the club, said that restrictions on gatherings to curb the spread of the virus wipes out all the club's revenue sources for maintaining an 18-hole golf course on the 225-acre property.
"Once we decided to not maintain it, it’s no longer a course," he said, noting that all his usual wedding bookings and other banquets disappeared, for instance.
And given the pending sale, Mazzarelli said it made sense to shut down for good, though he had hoped for one last season of golf.
It is the third Berkshires golf course to close in the last year.
He declined to reveal the buyer, however, or details about the sale. But he said the buyer might "eventually build a house" there.
After working at a country club that was owned by his family in in Newburgh, N.Y., Mazzarelli and his brothers bought the Egremont course in 1976.
The family has tried to sell the property off Route 23 since 2007. In 2012 it was advertised and listed at $2.5 million, and in 2013 he said he and his partners were ready to move on.
Land and Farm currently shows the 225-acre property, with its banquet and other buildings, listed for $1.8 million by Lance Vermeulen Real Estate.
Last year, the club's purchase and sale agreement with a solar firm fell apart due to the expense of connecting the panels to the power grid. And the prospect of 10,000 panels there sparked fierce pushback from abutters.
Environmental permitting for the solar field would also be complex, since the property stretches into Egremont and a small part of Sheffield.
Mazzarelli said that revenue had begun to shrink over the last two decades, as it has across the country. The National Golf Foundation reported that 160 courses in the U.S. close each year, he added. Aging golfers and millennials that aren't playing the game are the main reason, along with the existence of too many courses. And he said winters are another disadvantage.
"I’m looking forward to my retirement," he said, noting that he and his wife will continue to play golf — somewhere else in the Berkshires.
Heather Bellow can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.
This story has been modified to add information from one of the owners .