Yale Golf Course, which has been called a masterpiece in design, is the top rated college course in the country.
“It’s my favorite course in the area,” said Branford’s Alan Forman.
“It’s as hard as I was expecting it to be, it’s as beautiful as I was expecting it be,” said Christian Williams, of Coventry.
However, the course has lost a bit of its luster in recent years. Staff changes and the pandemic forced the school to cut back on maintenance. The course could not open on time in March and stayed closed for almost all of this season.
“When this whole thing started, we were looking forward to golf as the one thing to and Yale just kept pushing it back and pushing it back,” said Brian Nickolenko, of Hamden.
After staying closed through the summer, some feared the course might close for good but the school had a plan. Peter Palacios was hired as the new general manager in August and he has been tasked with bringing Yale Golf Course back to its original form.
“It’s one of a kind and I’ve seen many golf courses in my time,” said Palacios.
Yale Golf Course, which was designed by Charles Blair Macdonald and his protégé Seth Raynor, is held as a model of Golden Age golf architecture. Golf Digest called it “both a creative, uncompromising challenge, and aesthetic wonder.”
Even though Palacios didn’t arrive in Connecticut until September 12th, it was important for Yale to open up for play this season.
“At any time, I’m sure the university could have said we’re just going to close for the season but the commitment of [Athletic Director] Vicky Chun and the athletic department and the university to move forward and get it open was amazing,” said Palacios.
On September 28th, Yale Golf Course reopened to the public for the first time in ten months.
“It looks like it’s in better condition than I was expecting,” said Forman.
“Is the golf course where we want it? Certainly not,” said Palacios. “But everyone has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and supportive of our reopening."
“This is a course I’ve always wanted to play,” said Williams. “Obviously with what I’m wearing and what I play with, I’m into golf history.”
It’s not just members and Connecticut residents coming out to play. Palacios said more than 300 students played during their first week since reopening.
“The goal is to have a stronger connection between downtown university and the students and the golf course and make them realize that this is an out for them,” said Palacios.
Golfers of all ages and skill levels are excited to see one of Yale’s crown jewels coming back to life.
“We all love the course,” said Nicklenko. “Just coming back and seeing it grow even in the one week we’ve seen, it’s been incredible.”