Most of us dream of summer in the dead of winter, but Rick Carnelli digs into some of his most serious golf planning when the snow is piling up in January and February.
Rick is the manager of Minnechaug Golf Course, so it’s not surprising that golf is on his mind most of the time.
Since Guilmette Golf took over the handling of the town-owned course, Rick has focused on creating new offerings to expand on Minnechaug’s growing youth programs.
Created in 1948 on the site of a former dairy farm, Minnechaug today spans about 60 acres.
It has a traveling pro, a restaurant, and a clubhouse with a Pro Shop.
Several years ago the golf course's managers began developing youth programs, including clinics, leagues and camps. In 2020 the golf course hosted some 175 children in its programs.
One of its more recent offerings is a summer camp that started last year. With the Covid-19 outbreak it had to be scaled back as a half-day camp, but Rick's hoping the camp will be full day in 2021. Minnechaug also operates boot camps, golf tournaments for kids and age-appropriate golf clinics.
The junior golf clinics cover the fundamentals of the golf swing and prices range from $125-$150 per child.
The Junior Spring and Summer Leagues run for 10 weeks and start in April and June, respectively. The Fall League starts in September.
The Junior Boot Camp costs $349 and runs June 29 - July 1. It will focus on all aspects of the game and will be dedicated to the swing, putting and chipping. Designed for intermediate to advanced players, it will include lunch and a daily game of 18 holes.
The course will additionally offer a Junior Fall Clinic on Sundays, from Sept. 12 - Oct. 10.
Golf, Rick said, is an excellent sport for kids because it's both mentally and physically challenging, teaches children some of the fundamentals of life and, as a bonus, they can play with their friends and family members.
"There’s etiquette on the course and we try to teach them that etiquette,” Rick said. It teaches you critical thinking and hopefully they carry that over into their schooling and with their friends. And it’s a game where you can interact more with the people you’re playing with, unlike other sports.”
Parents like it when their kids learn golf, he added, “because then they can go out and play with their dads and moms and even grandparents.”
For more information on Minnechaug's programs call 860-432-3334 or minnechauggolf.com.