Socially Sterling

Sterling Farms Golf Course reopens with grace.

As all of us work our way through the doldrums the COVID-19 virus has put upon us, we golfers are excited to make the best of our newfound opportunity to golf, and practice, at Sterling Farms Golf Course starting today, May 1, 2020. Golf is good, and healthy, especially if we heed to the rules and regulations put in place for our own good.

For many: It isn’t easy to go out, let alone enjoy anything. Us golfers are eternal optimists, which is healthy. We see the cup half full, not empty. To us, the virus is on the wane, and while we need to push ourselves forward, and through, this horrific pandemic, we need to remember that our enthusiasm (while well-intended, and in most ways right) needs to heed to the special safety requirements put in place.

Yes, we are unique, and special, but this virus knows no boundaries… it can get you! So, in order to protect the staff, and the general public, Sterling Farms has instilled protective measures we need to follow. It’s a simple as that!

After a long hiatus, golfers everywhere know Sterling Farms has reopened today. The staff, rightly, is doing their all to brave through any fears, and/or anxieties they might rightly have, and we golfers need to put ourselves in their shoes and just imagine, for a second, how we’d feel in their shoes! Yucky!!

That is why it is so important to follow the rules. The signs are everywhere, big, and plain as day. I fashion myself as a writer, but these signs outdo even me! Heed the wisdom of the golf course. It is there for your well-being!

In spite of the effects this pandemic has had on many, we Sterling Farms golfers are devoted to our game. It rained all morning, but many of us were undeterred….

“We had a good day today,” Sterling Farms’ longtime staffer, Richard “Richie” Giordano, told me as I eyed the course’s latest hire, a young man named Phillip Bakis (yes, that is right, he son of Tom Bakis, the 30-year veteran member of the Sterling Farms staff alumni, and chief mechanic), as I reached for a $16 bucket of golf balls at the driving range.

Richard “Richie” Giordano (shown above playing the 18th hole last year), told me today’s May 1st reopening went “just fine”.

“How’s the ‘one-way’ system working out?’, I asked the kind-hearted Richie. (The driving range was set-up in to flow golfers ‘in’ one-way, and ‘out’ the other, to protect us all.)

“Everything has been just fine,” Richie told me, given the circumstances. “It has all gone really well. Everyone has been great.”

After I scuffed, and swiped, at the balls in my bucket, I exited the range by the theatre, and found it was fine.

Moving forward, I am bullish on golf at Sterling Farms. The weather forecast is looking super, and most are looking forward to a stellar weekend. Vigilance is of the utmost importance… it is easy to forget we are all surrounded by a terrible virus… but we can manage!

“I haven’t left my house since this whole thing began,” a tall, fit, thirty-something Sterling Farms golfer told me today, while he was hitting balls on the right side of the range today. “It has all been… too much”, he said.

I had just mentioned to him how much I disliked wearing masks, and he echoed that very sentiment, but we both agreed the protective face coverings are necessary. “Things can only get better, if we just stick with it,” I said.

“Agreed,” the golfer said.

As an aside, the balls, mats, and driving range overall just looks, and plays, stellar. I hit 100 balls today, and must say the warm air made my balls fly further. How glorious it is to swing a golf club in anything but sub-50-degree weather!

It was upsetting to see how the number of available range mats have been reduced by 50% in order to allow for safer social distancing. I feel bad for the golf course, because those lost bays are devastating to the bottom line, which is a silent sacrifice they have made.

Many may not know this, but of all the golf courses across America, Sterling Farms is a shinging example of how a golf course should be managed. Stamford Golf Authority executive director Paul Grillo has figured out how to charge a citizens a fair green fee, pay his staff like humans beings, and create an appealing golf course destination that most considered to be the envy of all others… everywhere!

I hope we all recognize how invaluable Paul Grillo, and the Sterling Farms team is, to us all!

This is a shot I took of the 18th hole today, May 1, 2020. It was the first hole I got close to, and must say I wasn’t surprised: Mike Golden has brought great quality greens keeping to Sterling Farms. My ability to use a camera can’t do the man justice. This golf hole looked stunning!

While Stamford Golf Authority executive director, Paul Grillo, has navigated the good ship Sterling Farms past the iceberg, and kept morale, the facilities, and the protections from this pandemic virus in place for all of our benefit, golf course superintendent, Michael Golden, has worked with a reduced staff to make our golf course even more beautiful than ever.

The golf course, right now, is alive and thriving. I have been on some of the world’s most famous golf courses, and can tell you Mike Golden’s work at Sterling Farms is outstanding. The fairways are starting to remind me of the most expensive, empty, well-funded venues on earth, only Sterling Farms is a public golf course, with about four or five times more play than your average country club!

In spite of all of that, Mike is a golfer himself. In fact, he’s a better player than most of us, and as such, ‘gets’ how greater-than-country-club volume play at Sterling Farms is necessary, and while carts can really hurt his golf course, they are very appealing to most players.

This is the view of plantings along the practice green outside the Pro Shop, as they
appeared late today. Gilberto Natareno, and the whole team at Sterling Farms,
have been busy preparing flower beds, shrubs, and other ornamentals
in order to show off the beauty of this amazing property.

“Should be interesting when the golfers get back out here, and we have four carts per group, in some cases”, he said to me in a recent email.

Mike Golden, and everyone else at Sterling Farms, is trying to provide a best-in-class product and service to a market that is wanting, needing, and demanding of far more than what the more-moneyed country club sit is accustomed to getting, at far-higher prices. Mike, Paul, and everyone else at The Farm strives to provide all of us the best, only for less. It is… Socially Sterling, indeed!

From the desk of Paul grillo, executive director, Stamford Golf Authority

Welcome to Sterling Farms Golfer. Over the past five decades, Sterling Farms has evolved into one of the premiere golf destinations anywhere in the region. We continually strive to maintain, if not exceed, that distinction, and know we owe it all to our Stamford families, friends and neighbors, as well as our patrons like you. Now is the best time of the year to play our spectacular 18 hole championship golf course. Our Golf Course Superintendent, Mike Golden, and his whole team, are leaders in the world of greenkeeping, and we are very proud of the quality of their hard work. I think you'll find our putting greens, fairways, tees, roughs—and every landscape feature here—reflects their devotion and hard work. It is spectacular. Sterling Farms is home to the area's top driving range facility. You won't find a better value, or level of quality, anywhere! We take great pride and joy serving you, and our local community. On behalf of all of us here at Sterling Farms, welcome and thank you!
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