As spring begins to bloom in northwest Connecticut, Fran Marrello, the head professional at Canaan Country Club, is starting to welcome back familiar faces while also introducing himself to new ones at the picturesque nine-hole layout that borders the Blackberry River, less than 3 miles from the Massachusetts border.
But thanks to some unseasonably warm weather, many of Canaan Country Club’s members have enjoyed an earlier-than-normal start to the golf season. Since the course’s soft opening on March 8, more than a month earlier than last year’s first day, Canaan has not had to utilize temporary greens or tees. And the locals are taking full advantage.
“It’s been atypical this year with the March start,” said Marrello, who returned to Canaan in 2015 after an eight-year stint from 2004-2011. “There’s been a lot of increased play. There was an extended fall, and now we’ve got an early spring, so it’s been quite a little boom to get some extra business.”
In a state where nine-hole courses are abundant, Canaan is a shining example of how a non-traditional facility can provide a variety of options to engage golfers. The casual golfer who only plays a handful of times per year can take advantage of an affordable course, while regulars can pay one rate for unlimited play throughout the year. Early risers can get in a quick nine for a discounted rate on weekdays. Leagues use the course four days a week, and there is also a Friday evening co-ed scramble in which two-player teams – different each week – compete for pro shop credit.
For those who want an 18-hole experience, golfers can pay as little as $3 to go around again.