Consistently rated one of the top semi-private clubs in the state, Great River Golf Club has seen growth in both membership and amenities since its purchase by Sacred Heart University in 2015. “Sacred Heart’s financial backing has allowed us to make course improvements, as well as consolidate a number of membership options, making the decision to join Great River less complicated," said Mark Appelberg, executive director of Great River Golf Club. "There are no assessments currently in place, nor do we see a need to ever charge them." While many clubs currently face financial uncertainly, Great River's solid outlook has boosted confidence amongst area golfers. According to Appelberg, membership is currently up 45 percent from last year.
The Tommy Fazio-designed course opened in 2001 and offers challenging play for golfers of all skill levels. The course ranges from over 7,000 yards from the back tees, to 5,000 from the front markers. The 18 holes offer stunning views of both the Housatonic River and the surrounding valley. "We're really putting a lot of aesthetic value back into the course," said Appelberg. "We're also working to increase pace of play, which makes rounds more enjoyable."
As part of the club’s transformation, a search is currently underway for a second PGA professional. Great River plans to bring on a female pro to help with lessons, junior clinics and create an LPGA connection. Friendly to golfers of all ages and genders, Great River is one of the only area clubs that has no tee time restrictions for women.
Starting next year, Sacred Heart students will also be able to use the club to gain real-world experience. Once developed, hospitality majors will gain industry experience through various programs at Great River, as school administrators continue to work on a PGA Golf Management curriculum. Sacred Heart also hopes to soon involve members of the College of Health Professions by allowing students to provide physical and occupational therapy to club members. "It's programs like this that make a great synergy between the school and club," said Appelberg.
To learn more about membership options available at Great River Golf Club, visit their website.