The property in East Huntingdon Township, Pa., southeast of Pittsburgh, that was previously known as both Mulberry Hill GC and Timber Ridge GC has been rebranded as Yinzer Valley Farms, with the renovated original clubhouse now offering party space for up to 300. The new owners, seeking to create an “agritourism destination,” also operate an organic farm and a farm store (in the former pro shop) on the property.
Mike Smetak recalls learning to play golf at Timber Ridge Golf Club in East Huntingdon Township, Pa. before it closed in 2016, The Tribune-Review of Greensburg, Pa. reported.
In years prior, the site off Route 31 southeast of Pittsburgh was known as the Mulberry Hill Golf Course, The Tribune-Review reported.
Smetak told The Tribune-Review that now he finds it “a little surreal” that he and his wife, Lindsay, along with Geno and Rhonda Gilbert, now own the site and operate it as Yinzer Valley Farms.
“It’s local vernacular, catchy,” he says of the name.
The property now includes an organic farm and farm store that opened on the 206-acre site in 2018, The Tribune-Review reported. “We’re turning the golf course back to Mother Nature,” Smetak said. “The old golf course is becoming a farm.”
And the new owners recently completed renovating the original clubhouse and now offer party space for up to 300 for weddings, showers and other special events, The Tribune-Review reported. Those who book the site hire their own caterers, and the facility is BYOB.
The land is producing vegetables, including peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, corn and zucchini, along with herbs, The Tribune-Review reported. The sunflower garden is becoming a photo op for many visitors, and the pumpkin patch is a popular autumn attraction.
The new owners plan to schedule outdoor weekend events with music and food trucks, and farm-to-table dinners may also be in their future.
The property was the host site for last year’s Headwaters Party, a Jacobs Creek Watershed Association fundraiser, The Tribune-Review reported. “That’s kind of what really got us going,” Smetak said.
“That was definitely always our plan, to expand,” he added. “That was the first large event we had. It got people talking, and we got some inquiries. The positive response from everything we were doing confirmed we were doing the right thing and what we were supposed to do.”
The event space had two dozen bookings by mid-March of this year, The Tribune-Review reported, and eleven weddings are booked between this year and next. “It’s bearing its fruit,” Smetak said.
Inside the warmly decorated farm store—formerly the golf club’s pro shop—light-colored repurposed wood now forms the counter. The pro shop, Smetak said, “was neon yellow.”
“I think a lot of people had good memories [of the golf course],” Smetak said. “We realized it was a unique opportunity. People saw a closed-down golf course; I saw a lot of essentials to run a farm.”
The property already had underground irrigation, he noted, but also had grass that was 10 feet high when the new owners took over. “It took a lot of work to get to this point,” Smetak said. He also credited the assistance of Ed and Diane Cheek, Maintenance Head and Director of Food Safety, respectively, for helping to revive the property.
“At the end of the day, we want to be an agritourism destination as the land evolves,” Smetak told The Tribune-Review. “I have a pretty ambitious vision.”