Golf season gets early start

Scott Hassel takes a swing while Mayur Patel looks on during an unseasonably warm afternoon at Hop Brook Golf Course in Naugatuck Monday. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

Scott Hassel takes a swing while Mayur Patel looks on during an unseasonably warm afternoon at Hop Brook Golf Course in Naugatuck Monday. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — Marty Quadrado has been playing golf for 30 years and can’t remember a time when he started a season before St. Patrick’s Day.

That changed on Monday, when he was out playing nine holes with friends Ed Aureli and Vic D’Amico at Hop Brook Golf Course in the borough.

“Being out here this early is great,” Quadrado, of Waterbury, said.

“We’re not playing too well — mid-season form already, I guess,” quipped Aureli.

Hop Brook is one of the local golf courses taking advantage of this week’s unseasonably warm weather patterns and opening far earlier than usual. The public golf course, which usually opens in April, opened for the season at noon on Monday.

About 30 people hit the links, and several others bought their season memberships Monday, golf pro Bob Clark said.

With temperatures anticipated to hit in the 70s on Wednesday, golfers from around Connecticut are dusting off their clubs and preparing to hit that little white ball around the course.

Clark said he was excited to get this season started because it’s the 100th anniversary of the Pro Golfers’ Association, of which he is a member. He plans to have special events at the course throughout the season.

The season kicked off with Naugatuck residents Pat Granahan and Mark Cook taking the first tee shots. Clark hopes they are two of many who will come through the nine-hole course this season.

“I believe it’s going to be a banner year for us,” he said.

The opening of the golf season is also good for local businesses, especially restaurants at the golf courses, which look forward to the golf traffic.

At Jesse Camille’s Restaurant, next to Hop Brook, people get excited when the nearby course opens after the colder months, said Patti Deitelbaum, who works at the restaurant.

“It’s always nice to see people out and stopping in for a drink or a snack before or after golf,” she said.