WELLESLEY — “Without golf, I can’t imagine what my life would be like,” says Brian Lynch, a Clinton native and the general manager of Wellesley Country Club.
At 61, with a lifetime of wonderful experiences related to the game, Lynch feels quite fortunate.
“Golf is the greatest game because it gives you an opportunity to meet the best people in the world,” Lynch said in a recent interview in his spacious office at Wellesley CC.
Since the early 1980s, shortly after graduating from Assumption College, Lynch has been managing prestigious, private golf clubs, beginning with The International in Bolton for decades and — from 2015 to 2019 — at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York.
Lynch is now in his first year as the top man at Wellesley CC, founded in 1910 with a history of notable design by Donald Ross, Wayne Stiles and Geoffrey Cornish.
Wellesley CC, which hosted the 2016 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur and the 2010 Massachusetts Open, also offers year-round tennis with indoor and outdoor courts.
In October 2020, after serving as Wellesley’s assistant general manager for a little over a year, Lynch was named to succeed longtime general manager and now GM emeritus Marty Ryan, who retired after 29 years at the club.
As Ryan approached retirement, he informed Wellesley’s board of directors that Lynch was the man he wanted in the on-deck circle.
“In life, you come across certain people and you say, ‘God willing maybe our paths will cross, and we will have a chance to work together.’ Brian was the main part of the succession plan here,” Ryan said. “I wanted the membership to know that I would be leaving this place in good shape and on the way to better days with him as the general manager.”
Proud of operation at Wellesley
Noting that Ryan, who recently earned lifetime achievement recognition through the Excellence in Club Management Awards, is irreplaceable, Lynch is thrilled to be at Wellesley.
“Wellesley is an amazing place with a great membership and phenomenal clubhouse leadership,” said Lynch, who commutes from his home in Southboro, where he lives with his wife, Trish. “The way members treat employees is as good as it gets. There’s tremendous history here with one of the best golf courses in the state.”
Lynch manages all facets of the operation at Wellesley, including golf, tennis, the swimming pool and dining areas. Member-owned, the club has 550 members and a long waiting list.
Lynch and his six siblings, children of Grace Lynch, 90, and the late Patrick Lynch, grew up amidst humble beginnings, living in government-assisted housing in Clinton.
“We lived on Mossy Pond, so we felt like we were living in a fancy resort with fishing and swimming in the summertime and ice skating in the winter,” Lynch recalled.
Summertime also meant golf, and Lynch with his brothers would often hitchhike from Clinton to the International to work as caddies
“We would start hitchhiking on Route 70 and most of the time get rides from members who were headed to play golf at The International,” said Lynch, who was only 10 years old when he began to work there as a forecaddie.
“When I turned 11, that’s when I was big enough to carry a bag of clubs,” he said. And when the workday ended, Lynch hung around and learned the basics of the golf swing.
“I knew that I loved golf, and I was very lucky to realize at a young age that The International was a great place with great people,” said Lynch.
That place, The International, also became his first job after college when he was appointed as assistant general manager, later working as general manager from 1984 through 2011, when he left to become the GM at The Haven in Boylston.
Lynch and his twin brother, Kevin, played for Clinton High. Kevin won the state golf individual championship in 1978 and later played at Holy Cross. Brian went on to play at Assumption.
Opportunties kept coming for Lynch
“After I left The International, I was offered the opportunity to work with a fantastic owner in Regan Remillard at The Haven, and he’s done incredible things there,” said Lynch, who managed The Haven CC for three years.
And then came the call in April 2015 from Eric Trump. The Westchester club needed a general manager.
“I was intrigued by the offer,” Lynch said. “I wanted to become part of a bigger golf organization. The Trump organization owns 16 courses worldwide, and I had the goal of becoming a regional director of the five Trump properties in the New York area.”
Three months after interviewing with Eric and Donald Trump and accepting the job, Lynch and the world watched a major news announcement.
“Donald Trump began running for president, so that was an interesting time. And he won, which nobody expected,” said Lynch, adding with a laugh, “Not too many kids from Clinton can say they were hired by a future president of the United States.”
Lynch’s leadership skills, and his ability to get people to work harmoniously together have been integral to his success over the years.
His golf skills, though, have suffered though because of his busy schedule, which includes overseeing a $14 million project at Wellesley, including construction of four new indoor tennis courts and two golf simulators.
Thrilled to play Winged Foot
“My one and only round this year was at Winged Foot in May,” said Lynch, who was invited to the historic course in Mamaroneck, New York, by a Wellesley member who is also a member there. “It was a real treat to be there, one of golf’s meccas. I shot a 39 on the front nine of the course where they played the U.S. Open. I came back to earth on the back and shot 46, but an 85, there, I’ll take that.”
After leaving Westchester in January 2019, and right before coming to Wellesley, Lynch filled in as interim director of operations at another historic place — Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey.
Last year, because of COVID-19, unable to gather for Lynch and his brother’s 60th birthday, the family put together a video tribute with friends and relatives speaking about the twins.
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” said Lynch, whose mother gave him a nice reminder that good fortune is most often amplified by hard work.
“On the video, my mother talked about giving birth to her twins when she and my father lived in Springfield (Massachusetts) before moving to Clinton,” Lynch said. “She ended her remarks by saying she was so proud of Kevin and me because we had earned everything we had.”
—Contact Jay Gearan at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @tgsports.