Fifty years after former First Selectman Arthur Powers sent the first golf ball soaring over Timberlin Golf Course, it remains one the town’s best-known assets.
“I think it’s one of the greatest places in Connecticut, we get a lot of remarks on it,” Powers said.
The 50th anniversary celebration for the 18-hole municipal course and adjoining Timberlin Park has been scheduled for July 18, with activities for golfers and the general public, including a performance by Connecticut Laser.
The Golf Commission considered a fireworks display. However, after a commissioner saw a laser show in Southington and spoke about how much easier they are to run, the panel was sold on the idea, said Jim Bugella Jr., co-chairperson of the commission’s anniversary committee.
Golf Professional Marc Bayram said they’re planning a double shotgun tournament, likely starting at 7 a.m. and noon, with the rest of the anniversary celebrations beginning afterwards.
Bugella said they’re considering a putting contest for children run by the Berlin High School Upbeat club, food trucks, potato sack races and more. They’ll also have historical information about the course, including speakers who were involved in its creation.
“It's not going to be specifically for just golfers,” Bugella said.
Timberlin Park opened alongside the golf course on July 1, 1970. It has a small playground, picnic tables and hiking trails north to Ragged Mountain and south to the Hanging Hills in Meriden.Fifty years of golfat Timberlin
Planning for the course began in the late 1960’s, when a cadre of residents began pushing for the town to have its own course. While much of Shuttle Meadow Country Club is in Berlin, it was largely built by New Britain residents and was exclusive at the time, Powers said, with a waiting list to join and rub shoulders with executives from the city’s manufacturers, like Stanley Works.
“It was just a project that had almost complete support, I can't remember anyone that was negative about it,” Powers said.
The course was largely built on vacant farmland. Bayram said the design incorporates trees and the natural beauty of Ragged Mountain and Short Mountain.
“The designer of the course took the natural terrain of the land and he (designed) this great golf course,” he said.
Bugella said he believes the name was selected through a contest, the winning entry being an amalgamation of “timber” and “Berlin.”
Much of the course remains the same and the clubhouse underwent one interior renovation in 50 years. Additional sand traps were added to some holes in 2006 and the numbering of the holes was inversed in the 1990’s.
“If you look at pictures from back then it looks the same, just the trees have grown,” Bayram said.
The Golf Commission was formed by the Town Council in 2017 to help Bayram and Timberlin Director Jonathan Zuk run the course.
“There has been some really noticeable changes in the course, keeping it up and making changes for the better and the commission has really helped with moving the course forward,” Bugella said.
Bayram said the course remains as busy as ever.
“I think Timberlin’s a tremendous asset to the town. Many people come to town because of the golf course,” he said. “ ... It’s always been an important landmark in Berlin.”