About the time Terry Tumolo had finished enclosing what had been an outdoor patio at , military at the neighboring – literally a stone’s throw away – had .
And Tumolo, who has owned the 160-acre members-only golf club since 1992, hopes the 8,000-foot-long runway stays that way - closed.
“Yes, for the record, we’re certainly not pro-airport,” said Tumolo, of Collegeville, a member of Horsham’s Land Reuse Authority board . “You get quite a bit of noise.”
Standing in the middle of the newly made-over clubhouse, which seats 80 and features charming bistro-style tables, wraparound glass windows and a gas-burning fireplace, Tumolo points to a metal fence within view. That barrier separates his property from 892 acres of federal land that will eventually be redeveloped.
The air strip is situated 50 yards from the fence, Tumolo said. For many, the runway’s physical location isn’t as important as its placement – or removal from – a yet-to-be-drawn redevelopment plan.
And while Tumolo said the noise factor and proximity of planes certainly was not the driving force in his $650,000 remodeling, which, in essence, brought the deck inside, he acknowledged that, “it’s now very quiet."
In fall 2009, Tumolo began planning a facelift for the previous outdoor deck with canvas awning. As of this spring, Commonwealth’s “four seasons dining facility” was born.
“People don’t think of golf in the winter, but they think of dining,” Tumolo said, adding that the windows and picturesque view give the club’s 450 members the sense that they are outdoors. “You still feel like you’re out eating on the deck.”
On a particularly humid day this week, Stuart Frey of Montgomeryville enjoyed a meal and conversation with Vince Sirianni, of Doylestown, without breaking a sweat.
“It’s great,” Frey said. “Absolutely fantastic.”
Eating facilities aren’t the only thing that Tumolo brought indoors. As part of his most recent upgrades, Tumolo, who describes himself as a “casual golfer,” spent $100,000 to build an 800-square-foot indoor teaching facility adjacent to the club’s practice range.
The neutral walls in the two-bay building evoke the feeling of a portrait studio. And, in some ways it is. Just like studio photographers capture moments, so do the golf professionals at Commonwealth’s teaching center.
But, instead of cameras, the heated all-weather facility uses video to let those seeking lessons - if they choose to be videotaped - see specifically what's in need of improvement.
“Some people like to see their swing on video and some don’t,” Commonwealth Head Golf Professional Travis Deibert said, adding that an indoor teaching center is more convenient and can be used regardless of weather.
The two latest projects, as well as regular course maintenance and upgrades, have helped Tumolo weather difficult economic storms, he said.
“The last few years in the golf industry have been pretty tough, pretty lean,” Tumolo said while riding in a golf court to the teaching facility. On the way, he points out a short-game area, improved several years ago, where members can practice chipping. Extras like these are what Tumolo believes will help Commonwealth rebound from a “stagnant membership.”
As far as how Tumolo’s current and future membership will be impacted by the adjoining base’s redevelopment, Tumolo said he’s “watching and listening and waiting” to see what the HLRA ultimately includes in the redevelopment plan.