The West Simsbury, Conn., property is one of six facilities selected by the United States Golf Association and the American Society of Golf Course Architects Foundation for the consultation, which will provide the property with a new perspective and prioritize areas for improvement. One of the property’s goals is to become more inclusive to all skill levels and groups.
The Simsbury Farms Golf Course in West Simsbury, Conn., will be getting a visit and consultation from the United States Golf Association and the American Society of Golf Course Architects Foundation in June, after it was selected as one of six courses across the country to receive the pro-bono work, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported.
Gerry Toner, the town’s director of culture and parks and recreation, said the town has routinely invested in the golf course, and that’s one reason why it was chosen from the 30 courses that applied, the Courant reported.
“A golf course is like any other facility,” Toner said. “Parts of it have defined life expectancies that you try to address. Over the last five to 10 years, we have done quite a bit in terms of bunker repair, drainage work, and fairway reconstruction. We have shown in the past that we have invested in this facility and will continue to do so.”
But a visit from these two professional firms, one which specializes in agronomy and the other in architecture, can provide them with a plan for the course’s future, the Courant reported.
“It’s a great opportunity for the town to have people with this expertise from two different disciplines come in and evaluate our facility and make recommendations,” Toner said. “This really will be a blueprint for us going forward in terms of how we plan our future improvements and how we maintain the course in the future.”
Mike Wallace, the course superintendent for the past 13 years, has been in the business for more than 40 years. He said receiving a report from the two firms after the June 2 visit will be a huge factor in how he manages the course moving forward, the Courant reported.
“The important thing is that it gives us a roadmap,” Wallace said. “It’s an exciting opportunity to move forward. To have this expertise come in and be able to look at where we are and also to begin to look at where we can be.”
Toner said the town requires him to do a six-year plan for how they allocate and use funds in their department. With the report from the USGA and the ASGCA, Toner said he will have a more defined approach, the Courant reported.
“Out of this will come priorities,” Toner said. “There will be prioritized improvements and things that need to be implemented.”
One goal, Wallace said, is to have the golf course become more inclusive to all skill levels and groups. “We are looking to become more inclusive to all stakeholders,” Wallace said. “A lot of the women’s tees are put in as afterthoughts and they’re very tiny. There are improvements that can be made there.”
Toner said those improvements are important, because the business of attracting golfers to a course can be competitive, the Courant reported.
“It’s a very competitive environment,” Toner said. “We have stated that and the town understands that in order for us to remain competitive we have to reinvest. In the long run, we’ve got to do that to attract play and keep revenues.”
Wallace, who sees the same golf course every day he’s at work, said even at a bare minimum, this visit will be great because the two firms will have a fresh, different perspective, the Courant reported.
“There may be things we just overlook,” Wallace said. “Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees because you’ve been here so long.”