BERLIN - Spirits were as high as the golf balls being hit in the air at Timberlin Golf Course Thursday as it opened for the season.
“It’s been a great day. It’s always an exciting time of year for any golfer,” said golf course pro Marc Bayram in the afternoon, after an opening ceremony was held in the morning. He said about 75 rounds of golf had been played Thursday, with 45,000 expected to be played on the Southington Road course this year.
The ceremony consisted of Bayram and Par for the Course restaurant Chef Remzi Asani taking the first shots of the year, as well as members of the new golf commission some.
“We’re looking for good things, we got a good crew this year … the whole thing is teamwork” said commission Chairman Peter DeFazio, on the course. DeFazio is also president of the Timberlin Men’s Club. “We’re optimistic the golf course is getting the attention it deserves.”
The current commission, made up of members of the golf club, was started at the end of last year to devote more attention to it as the course had run a negative profit in recent years. The course was previously overseen by the Parks & Recreation Commission, which had one golfer on it.
Among new things to expect this year, as instituted through the new commission with council approval, are the same season pass rates, but the introduction of a new guest benefits card for $80 and a Berlin business playing rate, said Bayram,
The two cards work by giving non-residents 20 percent off their non-resident rates each time they play, and giving resident rates to Berlin business owners who have 50 percent or more ownership of a Berlin-based business that pays over $4,000 in property tax, respectively.
As in Major League Baseball, speeding up the pace of play will be a focus this season, with tee times nine minutes apart instead of eight, Bayram said.
A new middle school golf program at St. Paul Catholic School, and an instructional clinic for women is also being offered, as regular instructional programs for adults are also available, he said.
As for the course, Bayram said some tree cleanup was done after the storms this past winter knocked some down.
Big trees in back of the 14th hole were also removed.
New tee signs that show the hole layout, yardage and offer a business sponsorship are also in the works.
Returning at the restaurant is Asani, who said he has been at the course for 11 years and offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and party hosting options.
“The food here is excellent,” said James A. Green, who played alongside Brendan Burke, Geno Giancola, assistant golf pro at the course, and Brandon Funari.
“Great day. It’s a beautiful thing,” said Tom D’Attilio while on the course, alongside Ken Asal, a member of the board of directors of the Timberlin Men’s Club, Marty Azzolina and Owen Hughes.
Asal said he tried to get the first tee time with the first come, first served, rule for opening day, but the seniors were camped out at 7:30 a.m. taking it.
“Next question,” said Asal when asked how he was doing, adding that that he was thankful that Green, who was playing behind him, hadn’t hit him yet.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.