STONINGTON — The Stonington Country Club is celebrating its 30th year on Saturday with a simultaneous tee-off by six current and past club presidents.
The club incorporated in 1988 with 10 founding members and 42 charter members and has grown to 281 memberships with more than 400 members.
In spring 1991, the original members began to build the front nine themselves, said Bob Evans Jr., president of the club, in the clubhouse dining room on Monday.
“It’s a rich tradition here and members who came later can appreciate what the founders have done and how they laid the path for us,” he said. “They were out there picking rocks and doing anything they could save money. This is how we got started."
In 1991, the club signed a 99-year lease with Coast Guard Foundation for 155 acres at 396 Taugwonk Road, which the club later purchased. The original facility’s plans included an 18-hole, par 72, 6,700-yard golf course, a 15,000-square-foot clubhouse, tennis and platform tennis courts, a pool and an indoor sports facility.
The first nine holes and a partially completed clubhouse opened in 1992. Construction on the second nine holes began in 1993 and was completed in 1997, and the clubhouse was expanded and renovated in 2001 — a project that was carried out by building professionals who were members themselves.
At the 30th celebration, the club will have a ribbon-cutting for its new 1,200-square-foot pub room expansion, featuring a 30-foot-long bar overlooking the ninth green and practice green.
The facility, a “nonprofit, family-oriented, private club,” now features a 4.25-mile, 18-hole course that is walkable and described as “challenging for single handicap golfers and enjoyable for learning golfers.”
The club has 21 in-house tournaments per year and hosts 13 outside tournaments, including nine nonprofit fundraising events.
The organization has an 85-member men's league, a 78-member ladies league, a 12-member Thursday afternoon ladies golf group, two summer youth programs and peewee clinics.
Mike Myszkowski, PGA head golf professional, described the membership as very down to earth. "We have quite a mix from youth all the way through people who have been here 20-plus years,” he said.
The course, he said, is "challenging but very playable.”
“We have two dissimilar nines," he said. "The front nine has very gentle rolling hills, fairly flat greens, and then the back nine has a lot more undulation in the fairways, it’s more tree-lined, and greens that are much more undulating.”
The club also has two distinctly different groups of golfers, said Regan Traub, hospitality chair.
“There are those who like to compete and really work on their skills and then there’s the social golfing group that really love to just go out and play, whether it’s nine or 18 hole,s and then come back and have dinner and they don’t care if they keep score or not,” she said. “The nice thing about Stonington is that we have support for a variety of not only ages and lifestyle needs and interests but also a variety of interests about the game itself.”
Since 2018 the club has also developed a significantly discounted Active Military Membership Program, approved by the commanding officer of Naval Submarine Base New London, said Suzanne Crowther, membership, hospitality and marketing manager.
“To join a country club is usually a long-term investment, so for someone living in the area for only a year to three years, it doesn’t make sense, so we’ve added a membership category that takes away any initiation fees and is discounted depending on their rank,” she said. “It's great for them to be able to belong to the community in some way while they’re being stationed somewhere different every couple of years, it gives them a sense of community.”
The club has also created a corporate-sponsored membership program as an employee recruitment and retention tool with a wellness benefit, and developed a New Golfer Program to engage non-golfers to experience golf as an enjoyable sport without needing to be competitive.
For information about joining the Stonington Country Club, contact Suzanne Crowther at 860-535-4035 ext. 11 or email@example.com.