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Updated: January 10, 2022 / Best of Business 2022

Best of Business 2022: Events & Venues

Nick Rossoll (left) and Aaron Walker, assistant golf pros at Worcester Country Club

Tracing its history to the founding of the Worcester Golf Club in 1900, the Worcester Country Club is now a nearly 500-member facility with a waitlist to join and a renowned course designed by the famed Donald Ross. 

“It’s hard to look past the golf course,” said Andy Lane, head golf professional at WCC.

WCC is ranked No. 12 in the state of Massachusetts, according to Golf Digest. The previous year, Lane said, it was 17th.

“It’s pretty much unheard of in terms of making that much of a leap,” he said.

WCC boasts a series of amenities not directly linked to golfing, aimed at making the club a place where the whole family can kick back and relax. This includes a pool and recreation complex with a lap pool, adventure pool, tennis court, and spacious patio, as well as a clubhouse with a library, bar, bowling alley, and other gathering spaces.

The family-oriented nature of the place is, for some, one of its biggest draws.

“That is very much one of the things that attracted me to the job,” said Lane, who grew up north of Boston.

But even so, at WCC, it always comes back to golf. So much so that President William Howard Taft struck the first drive at its opening dedication in 1914, shortly after leaving office, according to club history.

Over the years, the club went on to host a series of major golfing events, including the 1925 Men’s U.S. Open, the inaugural 1927 Ryder Cup, and the 1960 Women’s U.S. Open. It’s also become a known host for local championships, and a place for young golfers to learn about the sport.

And indeed, golf remains at the forefront and heart of what WCC is all about, with members eager to hit the course again and again, said Lane, who added the layout is both fun and fair.

He credited Adam Moore, the club’s golf course superintendent, with keeping it in top shape.

“It’s a special piece of property for sure,” Lane said.

-- Story written by Monica Benevides

* denotes repeat winner

Best Venue for an Employee Outing

Apex Entertainment*

Location: Marlborough,
Top executives: Chief Operating Officer Marcus Kemblowski & Director of Operations George Aronstein
Opened: December 2017
Employees: 115

Apex Entertainment is a family entertainment destination with 100,000 square feet of attractions such as multi-level indoor go-karts, 30 bowling lanes, arcade, laser tag, and sports simulators. Its meeting space accommodates any type of event. Among those events in 2021 was the Apex 5k Fun Run in September, raising funds for The New England Center for Children & The Hole in The Wall Gang Camp.

Notable runners-up: Polar Park, Kimball Farm

Best Venue for a Business Meeting

Beechwood Hotel*

Location: Worcester,
Top executive: Sayed Saleh, asset manager and managing director
Founded: 1989
Employees: 100

The Beechwood offers a fully customizable experience for each meeting, featuring the latest AV technology, 5G internet speed, and its award-winning cuisine. Its setup allows for safe and socially distant meetings, complying with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines for safety, with a wall of French doors opening up to a large patio for fresh air flow.

Notable runners-up: AC Hotel by Marriott Worcester, Apex Center

Best Venue for a Corporate Event

Beechwood Hotel*

Location: Worcester,
Top executive: Sayed Saleh, asset manager and managing director
Founded: 1989
Employees: 100

Amidst the new normal of the coronavirus pandemic, the Beechwood has used the opportunity to redesign corporate event strategies, bringing innovative ideas to fruition, suggest creative and comprehensive solutions, and find ways to showcase what makes each event unique, while adhering to the highest of safety standards.

Notable runners-up: Polar Park, Apex Center

Best Public Golf Club for A Corporate Outing

Cyprian Keyes Golf Club*

Location: Boylston,
Top executive: General Manager David Frem
Founded: 1997

Cyprian Keyes, celebrating its 25th anniversary on Aug. 11, offers an 18-hole championship course, a 9-hole par-3 course, five function rooms, and customized outings for all our clients. In 2021, the club established new standards in course conditioning and introduced more people to golf through its par-3 course and group lessons than ever before.

Best Public Golf Course

Green Hill Municipal G.C.*

Location: Worcester,
Top executive: Matthew Moison, director of golf
Founded: 1929

As a public course, Green Hill offers some of the most affordable golf in Central Massachusetts, with green fees as low as $17. The facility offers a variety of golf events, leagues, and sweeps, and the course actively seeks to host personal and business events.

Notable runners-up: Wachusett Country Club, Cyprian Keyes Golf Club

Best Private Golf Club for A Corporate Outing

Worcester Country Club

Location: Worcester,
Top executive: Troy Sprister, general manager and chief operating officer.
Founded: 1900

Originally founded as the Worcester Golf Club, the club relocated in 1913 and worked with architect Donald Ross on the design and construction of the 70-par golf course, which opened in 1914. The clubhouse includes a variety of amenities for corporate outings, including a bowling alley, boardroom, Ryder Cup Room, and Tee Room.

Notable runner-up: Pleasant Valley Country Club

Best New Real Estate Development

Polar Park*

Location: Worcester,
Owner & developer: City of Worcester
Leasee: Worcester Red Sox
Leasee website:
Top executive: Dan Rea, executive vice president and general manager for business & real estate
Founded: 2021
Employees: 45 full time and 300 part time/seasonal

The collaboration between the City of Worcester, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Worcester Red Sox helped make the $160-million Polar Park a reality. In their inaugural season in 2021, the WooSox finished sixth in the country in attendance out of 120 Minor League Baseball teams – despite a shortened schedule and capacity limits – as 360,000+ fans attended games. The WooSox received Minor League Baseball’s CommUNITY Cup as the top community-minded team in MiLB.

Best Nonprofit Fundraiser Event

UMass Cancer Walk and Run

Location: Worcester,
Benefiting organization: UMass Chan Medical School
Top executive: Michael Collins, chancellor of UMass Chan Medical School
Event manager: Julie Bowditch, manager of community fundraising
Amount raised in 2021: $700,000

The event benefits adult and pediatric cancer research and clinical trials to support the best possible treatments and outcomes for those impacted by cancer. All of the money raised goes directly to the work at UMass Chan Medical School. Coming off of a fully virtual year in 2020, the event in 2021 moved to Polar Park and hosted more than 3,000 participants.

Notable runners-up: 100 Mile Ruck March Challenge for Why Me & Sherry's House, March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction, DetecTogether for 15-40 Connection.

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