HARWINTON - Some of the state's top high school golfers will test their games and compete for a state title Tuesday when Fairview Farms Golf Course in Harwinton hosts the Connecticut State Division IV Boys Golf Championship.
A total of 20 schools and four individual players will tee it up and vie for individual and team titles with the first tee time set for 7:52 a.m. East Catholic of Manchester is the defending Division IV team champion and comes in the the event as the fourth rated team in qualifying. Northwest Catholic of West Hartford won the title in 2010 and was the top team in qualifying.
"It's a great event and we are happy to be involved," said Fairview Farms PGA Golf Pro Bob Sparks. "We just set up the course like we usually do for every day play and the CIAC runs it from there. It's a lot of fun and a great day of golf."
Other sites for state tournament play include Orange Hill Country Club (girls), Crestbrook Park (D III boys), Timberlin Golf Club (D II boys) and Tall Wood Country
Club (D I boys).
Being a part of the state tournament is definitely a feather in Fairview Farms' cap. Only five courses in the entire state are being used for tournament play and it's
a chance for Fairview Farms to put its best foot forward and make an impression on players and other in attendance who might not normally hear of or see the course.
"It's great for the exposure," Sparks said. "One of the good things about the states is that the divisions rotate each year so we get a lot of new people up here each
year and the feedback has been great."
The par 72 layout at Fairview Farms can play as long as 6,619 yards. The course will provide a challenge, but Sparks and his staff have no tricks up their sleeves as
far as the conditions and set-up go, what you see is what you get.
"We keep it pretty vanilla," Sparks said od the set up. "The CIAC is smart about it, they don't ask us to trick it up. My whole thing, even for our tournaments, is why
make the golf course play totally different for one day than it does the whole rest of the year? It doesn't make any sense. If someone is going to go out and shoot a
good round, let them shoot a good round."
And what will it take to shoot a good round, especially in tournament conditions when nerves and emotions are sure to come into play? Familiarity could help, as well
as some patience.
"The kids today can get it out there, they can bomb it off the tee," Sparks said. "But while the course isn't overly long, it's not a course where you can just rip a
drive off every tee, you have to have some patience and course management to get around. It will be a good test."
Shepaug Valley players will be there on Tuesday and should have some comfort level considering Fairview Farms has been hosting the Berkshire League Championship for years and BL champion Lewis Mills uses Fairview Farms as its home course.
Throw in hosting the state tournament and junior events like the 18-hole and 9-hole Fairview Farm Junior Classic part of the Junior Golf TOUR schedule put on by the
Connecticut section of the PGA of America, and you can see Sparks and Fairview Farms follow through on their commitment to give back to junior golf.
"We definitely wanted to be a part of the state tournament and do what we can to help out," Sparks said. "It's nice to help out junior golf. I'm big into junior golf.
We do a lot of junior golf clinics in the summer here and we host some junior events. It's definitely one of our goals here to promote the game and give back by
promoting junior golf and working with kids."