Photo courtesy of Unsplash.
With the weather being consistently beautiful, the Connecticut College Golf Club season officially resumed on April 2nd and will look forward to bolstering its organization for the 2022-2023 academic year. Any currently enrolled Connecticut College student is able to join the club, simply by signing up through ConnQuest.
Club Golf recently had elections for its new executive board. Nate Gilkey ‘24 will serve as the Club’s new president, with Laird Criner ‘23 serving as the club’s new treasurer.
Despite Club Golf’s great current offering of all members being able to play twice a week for free at the local Shennecossett golf course located in Groton, there has been an issue with the limited funding available for the club quickly running out. According to Criner, the funding for this spring semester was set at about $3,000.
“Ever since COVID the number of golfers has skyrocketed. It should be an easy game to play but unfortunately, we need more funding” said Criner.
Gilkey also acknowledged the issue of the club’s funding running out in just the first few weeks of the season and the expiration of the free golf that comes with it for members at Shennecossett. He plans to tackle this issue by bolstering the club’s funding by requesting more club funding through Connecticut College’s Student Government Association. Each year, SGA oversees the school’s allotted club funding and determines how to divvy it up between the over 100 student clubs on campus.
Club Golf requested an astounding $47,000 dollars for the next academic year. In addition to this amount of money covering members’ casual play twice a week at Shennecossett, Gilkey hopes to create a branch of the club for those players who desire to take part in competitions as well.
Competitions would likely be taking place as a part of the National Collegiate Club Golf Association. The NCCGA is founded on the principle of inclusivity and would allow players to participate in regional weekend tournaments.
SGA Club Finance Committee member George Gould ‘23 commented on the astounding request from the Club Golf team. “Given the pool of money we have to give out to all the clubs I find it hard to give a portion roughly a third of our allotment to a single club; it is simply not equitable.”
Gilkey is persistent though in his desire to “make Shennecossett an arm of the Athletic Center.” If SGA can’t support Club Golf the way he feels it needs, Gilkey said the next solution would be to start charging club dues, with extra fees to those players who want to take part in competition, allowing for frequent practice rounds, NCCGA fees, and other expenses such as travel.
Gilkey also isn’t opposed to reaching out to alumni for donations. “I want to preach golf etiquette,” says Gilkey, “golf is a sport you’ll likely find yourself playing as a part of your career.” By making sure club golf members are able to develop their game and have proper golf etiquette, people will be prepared to properly handle themselves on the course in the future.
Common golf etiquette includes things like “generally upkeeping the course in any way you change it,” replacing your divots with either sand or the patch of grass that was lifted, fixing ball marks on the green, and taking turns while playing in a group by letting the person furthest from the hole shoot first.
In the meantime, while things get sorted, anyone willing to pay themselves can go make a tee time at Shennecossett, an 18-hole course designed by famous course designer Donald Ross, who has also been credited with PGA courses like Pinehurst No. 2. From standing on the green of the 16th hole of Shennecossett one can see ferries passing by on the Thames River, such as the Block Island Ferry, as well as the peculiar Hobbs Island, a roughly 100 square foot home constructed on only a slightly larger plot of land and rock surrounded by water.
In the meantime, considering Shennecossett’s rates without the support of Club Golf run over $40 for an 18-hole round, people can also consider golfing locally at the beautiful Fenwick Golf Course located in Old Saybrook, CT for $20 instead. A nine-hole course, Fenwick features holes overlooking the Outer Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse, the same Lighthouse featured on special Connecticut License Plates. Additionally, the course neighbors the former house of Katharine Hepburn, which sold for over $10 million dollars about five years ago, and other beautiful properties.
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