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Finally: It’s Time to Putt

Published 09/11/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 09/10/2013 03:16 PM

By Becky Coffey
Harbor News

OLD SAYBROOK - Construction at the town's Saybrook Point Mini-Golf course has begun to reveal the town-linked features. On the course now are installed models of town icons and structures like the Outer Light, the town's fireboat that shoots water into the pond, and models of Town Hall and a town police car. And on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 10 a.m., the course will have its grand re-opening ceremony.

Once the course is open, Assistant Parks & Recreation Director Ray Allen said the department hopes to keep the course open on weekends through the end of October.

It was a long wait for those who've missed the summer family fun of putting at the town-owned course for just $5 a round.

The original town mini-golf course was destroyed in October 2012 by storm surge from Superstorm Sandy. To rebuild it, the town's director of Emergency Management, Police Chief Michael Spera, sought approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for federal disaster aid funds to offset the town's cost to rebuild it.

Spera successfully convinced FEMA officials of the course's value as an economic development asset, so FEMA qualified the rebuilding work to receive storm aid funds.

In May, town voters agreed to spend $475,000 to design and rebuild the mini-golf course this summer. The town likely will receive up to 75 percent of the total outlay for design and construction costs back as federal storm aid reimbursement.

The town contracted with the firm of MGC Constracting to design and build the new 18-hole mini-golf course at Saybrook Point. Built on the same footprint as the old course, the new course updates the materials and design. More water-resistant designs and materials are also now incorporated. Concrete curbs substitute for the old course's wooden boards, for example.

As promised, the new mini-golf course also includes special structures and features that celebrate town landmarks and features.

Next to the course's small pond rises a 12-foot-tall replica of the Outer Light, the town's signature lighthouse. Appearing to float on a pond is a bright red replica of the town's new fireboat; the fireboat's hose nozzle also shoots water into the pond to keep it aerated. Other town-specific features include a model of a town police car at one hole and the Town Hall at another hole.

Visitors to the new golf course will pay for their $5 rounds at a new, modern concession stand that guards the course entrance. Installed within it are a refrigerator-freezer unit and some kitchen gear. By next summer, Allen hopes to be able to expand the stand's choices to include ice cream and cold drinks, as well as hot dogs and snacks for hungry golfers.

Starting on Sept. 14, the new golf course will remain open to the public on Friday nights and on weekends through the end of October, weather permitting.

The town's new Golden Age Mini-Golf League will get a preview of the course on Friday morning, Sept. 13. That's the first day of the new recreational program for adults aged 55 and older. The Friday morning program is planned as a social mini-golf league. For $50, participants will be offered light refreshments at
8 a.m. before heading out by
9 a.m. to play the course with foursomes that will rotate from week to week.

The Golden Age Golf League will be on Friday mornings from mid-September through the end of October. Sign-ups are at the Parks & Recreation office off of Sheffield Street. Call the Old Saybrook Parks & Recreation Department at 860-395-3152 for more information.

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