(March 28, 2021) - One year ago at this time the entire world including the CSGA tournament schedule was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, and no one knew what would come next. Months of emails, phone calls to countless golf courses, and hours of planning appeared to be meaningless as we all sat at home wondering if a 2020 season would even happen. Finally after weeks of juggling, postponing and putting the schedule back together the first shot of the 2020 season was struck on June 2nd in the One Day Tournament at Wethersfield Country Club. With that shot came some resemblance of normalcy. Tournament golf was back, and it was back to stay until the final putt of the 2020 season fell in October at Shennecossett Golf Course in the Al Acker One Day Championship.
Fast forward six months to April 5th and the 2021 CSGA schedule is slated to start on time with the One Day Tournament Series presented by Chris Cote's Golf Shop again leading the way at Wethersfield CC. This year will mark the sixth time in the last eight years that Wethersfield will host the opening One Day Tournament of the season.
The first tournament is always met with excitement, but this year after a long winter of social distancing, signs of a greater return to normalcy will be met with open arms. Some health restrictions will still be in place; masks while sharing a cart, electronic scorecards, and a few of the other changes adopted last year. But the competition, the camaraderie, the thrill of hitting a good shot, and the disappointment of hitting a bad one all will be back.
"Thinking about last year's season delayed kick-off due to COVID, Wethersfield Country Club was awesome working with us to implement our best practices for the first time," said Marsha Rupp, CSGA Director of Women's Golf & Client Services and the Official in Charge for the One Day series. "Unclear what to expect, it evolved into a very memorable day of golf and gratitude for being back together on the course. We are thrilled to be returning to Wethersfield to start the 2021 season with optimism and more gratitude for the game of golf, our dedicated players, and generous host clubs than ever before."
Left to right on the first tee at Wethersfield CC: current CSGA President,
Wethersfield CC, known as the "Club of Champions," has long been associated with the CSGA dating back to 1949 when the club hosted its first Connecticut Amateur. The course was designed by the first Executive Director of the CSGA, Robert D. Pryde. In recent years Wethersfield CC, the longtime site of the Insurance City Open/Greater Hartford Open, hosted the Connecticut Amateur in 2016 and the inaugural Parent Child Championship in 2020.
"I think it is just one of those classic New England courses. It has a lot of history," says Wethersfield CC head professional Joe Latino. "You get to walk the same holes that Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino walked. We have a great set of par 3s and the course offers a variety of tees which is great for players of all levels and is great for a One Day Tournament Series event."
Each One Day Series tournament offers two divisions, the Tettelbach (under 55), and the Siderowf (55 and over), with gross and net prizes offered in each division. At Wethersfield CC the Tettelbach Division will compete at approximately 6,500 yards, and the Siderowf at approximately 6,200. Siderowf participants who opt to play a set of forward tees at approximately 5,800 yards will compete with the appropriate handicap adjustment, and may win prizes in the net competition only. However, distance isn't the primary challenge at Wethersfield, it is the greens that may give the players the most problems.
"I think the thing about the course is that it is all right out in front of you. It is not a layout where there is trickery," said Latino. "The greens are relatively flat but challenging because they have subtle breaks which makes holing out difficult. Players tend to look for more break than actually exists."
Players will also be facing unpredictable early season weather and a course that is just weeks into its 2021 season, "I think when you have good professionals around you like our superintendent Alan Woodward who has been here for 30 years, he knows how to get our course ready for championship competitions," explained Latino. "In general it is Alan's knowledge base and having great people around him that allows him to get the course ready that early in the season."
A season that you can bet the players will be ready for. It will be another step in the return to normalcy and maybe most importantly a chance to compete on one of the most historically significant courses in the state and the region. For those reasons and many more the first tee shot on April 5th at Wethersfield Country Club will be a welcome sight for all.
Wethersfield CC is the first stop of 16 this season for the One Day Tournament Series presented by Chris Cote's Golf Shop. The season will run from April through early October when the schedule concludes at the Al Acker One Day Championship annually hosted by Shennecossett Golf Course in Groton.
"My team and I are thrilled to be sponsoring the One Day Tournament Series again this year. The CSGA continues to be a great partner with the common goal of growing the game of golf in Connecticut," said Chris Cote. "The tournaments the CSGA put on draw a very competitive field. We always look forward to watching the results roll in!"
In addition to tournament prizes of merchandise credit at the host clubs, the CSGA will be awarding a One Day Tournament Player of the Year in the Gross and Net categories of the Dick Tettelbach (under 55) Division, and the Dick Siderowf (55 and older) Senior Division. Players will accumulate points based on their finishes in One Day Tournaments throughout the season. A sum of $4,000 in merchandise certificates donated by series sponsor Chris Cote's Golf Shop will be awarded to the top three finishers in the One Day Player of the Year Contest in each division category, for a total of twelve winners.