The state of Connecticut may still be easing back into normalcy due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing on Monday proved to still be as successful as ever.
This year’s outing, the 21st since it began, drew a total of 92 players to Stanley Golf Course in New Britain, helping keep alive a city tradition despite the coronavirus threatening the ability to hold the event when the state was shutdown during the spring.
“We are very gratified by the support of our members,” said Greater New Britain Chamber President Bill Moore. “The strong showing by 23 foursomes, the extraordinary support of our sponsors and the number of volunteers who assisted throughout the day is, in a word, ‘incredible.’ It clearly demonstrates the solid support and belief in The Chamber that our members carry with them.”
Of course, it wasn’t just like previous years, as precautions were put in place to satisfy social distancing recommendations. Each golfer was given their own GPS equipped golf cart, and start times were staggered from 8-10 a.m. and 12-2 p.m. to limit the amount of golfers on the course at the same time.
“We had to adapt to today’s climate,” Moore said. “There was no shotgun start or “Winners’ Banquet” to close out the day. We are very aware of the pandemic and so took every precaution possible. Every player was given a mask which we encouraged players to wear while in the carts, and hand sanitizers were amply available. We provided single carts to anyone requesting one, with no questions asked. We followed CDC and State of Connecticut recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that we did staggered tee times and eliminated the dinner meant that we would not have a large crowd present at all. We know from the golfers themselves they appreciated all of the precautions that we took.”
As for the golf itself, it was mainly business as usual. There were still on-course contests for longest drive and closest-to-the-pin, and Gallagher Buick-GMC sponsored a car as a hole-in-one prize.
The top foursome for the event was the tandem of Rick Mullins, Chris Engle, Mark Holmes and Jack Stafstrom, who combined to shoot 13-under, while Ted Morris, Kevin Griffin, Dantae Maddock and Nick Hudyma finished just three shots behind. Bob Ciraco won the closest-to-the-pin prize on the 11th hole, coming just eight feet, seven inches short of the hole, while Mitch Bell took the same prize on the 17th, landing his tee shot just six feet, three inches from the cup.
“It truly was a memorable event for all involved,” Moore said. “The weather, although threatening early on, was perfect. The course was in magnificent condition. The players were respectful of all social distancing and required protocols. As they say, ‘A good time was had by all.’ We would not have been able to present such a tremendous event without our sponsors. Our sincerest thanks to all of them, and to all of our players.”