By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — A sure sign that spring is here is golfers making their way around the links.
Hop Brook Golf Course, the borough’s nine-hole, par-36 course, is set to open for the season on Saturday, the first day of spring.
The course opened two weeks earlier last year, but snowstorms in February pushed plans back this year.
“We can’t control the weather,” Hop Brook golf Pro Bryan Nixon said. “Last year, we were fortunate to be able to open early, but that last snow storm really slowed things up a bit.”
Nixon said Joe Malay, head groundskeeper, and his crew did a great job getting the course back into shape in spite of the late storm.
“Hopefully Mother Nature doesn’t throw us a curve ball,” Nixon said.
Nixon said the tee sheet for the weekend is filling up rather quickly, especially for Sunday.
“Saturday’s weather is still up in the air, but hopefully we will have a good opening weekend,” he said. “We just started taking registration for season membership. In spite of the pandemic last year we did register 120 golfers for the season.”
Golfers have to continue following COVID-19 protocols. Wearing masks is required in the pro shop but not out on the course.
As golfers snatch up tee times ahead of opening day, Nixon has his sights set on instilling a passion for the game in the youth.
Hop Brook will host three free introductory programs for junior golfers in April. Programs will be April 12 for ages 7-10, April 19 for ages 11-14 and April 26 for ages 15-17. Each program will run from 5 to 6 p.m. No experience or equipment is needed. Space is limited. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out an entry form at the pro shop.
“The goal is to grow the game offering these programs for our junior golfers,” Nixon said. “It’s a game they can play the rest of their life. The values it can teach and the camaraderie and friendships you make is priceless.”
Registration is open for season memberships. The cost for a season membership for borough residents is $540 or $440 for seniors and youth. The cost for non-residents is $695 and $570 for seniors and youth. Summer passes are also available. For information, call 203-729-8013.
“Our leagues will be back and will start up the middle of April,” Nixon said. “We will have weekly clinics for our junior golfers as well as summer camps.”