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New Haven Country Club Merges Tradition and Contemporary Style

By S. Mathur

The New Haven Country Club was founded in 1898 as a private golf club. The game remains the focus of club activities, even as these have expanded over the years. Membership Director Christine Donovan says that "Our members enjoy various activities at the club, such as golf, dining, pool and paddle tennis. The golf program at NHCC is dedicated to providing a golfing experience that maintains the wonderful traditions of the golf and at the same time provides flexibility for the lifestyle of today's members. Members always have the choice to play with a caddie, ride a cart, or walk the course. There are leagues for both men and women, a full member tournament schedule, and a junior golf program."

The golf course was redesigned in the 1920s by Willie Park, Jr., two-time winner of the British Open, and has been described as "both fun to play and challenging". An article published over a hundred years ago, in 1900, in Connecticut Magazine described the building and grounds: "A handsome stone clubhouse was erected last fall of the Old English pattern similar to the clubhouses on the courses in England and Scotland. A restaurant famous for its excellence is maintained the year round."

The club has maintained its original architecture and grounds, Donovan says: "Driving up the long wooded drive off the main road to the club, members and their guests are greeted with a view of the stately clubhouse with its signature red-tile roof and the surrounding golf course. On the course, members will enjoy views of Lake Whitney and our famously rolling and difficult greens." Lake Whitney is a natural lake maintained by the New Haven Water company and a famous landmark.

Dining and social events are another focus of club activities. The Grille Room offers special Friday Night Pub Nights and Saturday Night Theme Dinners. Social events include the Summer Festival with games and fireworks, a Casino Night, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and special activities for kids with arts & crafts, live animal shows, and goofy games. The pool is family friendly and there is weekly paddle tennis league through the fall and winter.

The interior of the clubhouse is a comfortable mixture of traditional style and modern convenience. Donovan says that "The Grille Room is a casual restaurant with comfy chairs and a wide wooden bar. The Main Dining Room is a spacious room with french doors and large windows offering views of the course. The nearby Lounge offers a smaller event room for intimate gatherings and fireside dining." The patio also offers al fresco dining in suitable weather.

Members can host their own events like weddings, business meetings, showers, golf outings and funeral receptions. The banquet hall can host parties of up to 300 guests. There are several levels of membership, with full golfing memberships for individuals and families, and social memberships for non-residents and those under 37 years of age. Anyone interested in applying for membership should contact Membership Director Christine Donovan.

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