|INAUGURAL SHOTS TAKEN ON NEW GOLF FACILITY TO BE USED FOR TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP AND THE FIRST TEE OF CONNECTICUT|
INAUGURAL SHOTS TAKEN ON NEW GOLF FACILITY TO BE USED FOR TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP AND THE FIRST TEE OF CONNECTICUT
Hartford, Conn., May 5, 2008 - After 15 months of construction, the movement of 200,000 cubic yards of earth, the use of two tons of grass seed and contributions from numerous partners, a new practice facility at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. officially opened today. The 23.5-acre facility will be used both as a practice facility for PGA TOUR professionals during the Travelers Championship and as a learning center for youth golf programs by The First Tee of Connecticut throughout the year. To officially open the facility, inaugural shots were taken by Hunter Mahan, defending champion of the Travelers Championship, and Christopher Wall, a 17-year-old junior at Wilby High School in Waterbury, Conn., who has been a member of The First Tee of Connecticut for five years.
Located at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., the facility is made possible through a partnership of Northeast Utilities/Connecticut Light & Power, the Travelers Championship, The First Tee of Connecticut, and the PGA TOUR. In addition, the project is supported by multiple legal, engineering, and architectural organizations including Faxon & Booth Golf Design, which is led by PGA TOUR member Brad Faxon; the law firms of Robinson & Cole LLP, Levy & Droney P.C., Day Pitney LLP, and Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.; civil engineering firm Fuss & O'Neill; architects WP + G; Stonehedge Landscapers; Dufford Construction; The Keystone Companies; Fortunato Construction Group; The Cromwell Fire District; and Cromwell Police Department. The project would not have been possible without the generosity of Northeast Utilities/Connecticut Light & Power, which made available more than 100 acres of land to the project.
"This practice facility is an excellent example of what happens when you bring together a partnership that truly believes not only in the future of the Travelers Championship and The First Tee of Connecticut, but believes in the future of this state," said Raymond P. Necci, president and chief operating officer, Connecticut Light & Power and Yankee Gas. "This is a very impressive facility and we are delighted to be able to say we played a part in its creation."
The new practice facility is the second largest within the PGA TOUR's Network of courses- the largest being a 25-acre facility at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. A highlight of the new facility is the 360 yard driving range, which is an increase of 100 yards over the former range. The facility also offers an 11,000 square-foot putting green, 13,000 square-foot chipping area, and 110,000 square feet of tees.
The new practice facility provides a state-of-the art resource for the PGA TOUR professionals during the Travelers Championship. The quality of practice facilities is vitally important to the PGA TOUR professionals, and therefore to the success of a PGA TOUR event in recruiting a strong player field. The new practice facility will significantly elevate the quality of the Travelers Championship in the opinions of PGA TOUR professionals.
"We look forward to introducing this new facility to PGA TOUR professionals. We have discussed the facility with numerous players throughout the year, and their feedback has been very positive. The Travelers Championship strives to be one of the best events on the PGA TOUR, and this facility is part of a strategic plan to continually enhance our event. Offering a facility of this quality will certainly elevate the status of this tournament in the eyes of PGA TOUR professionals," said Nathan Grube, Travelers Championship tournament director. "The facility is an investment in the future of professional sports in Connecticut."
The facility will be utilized by The First Tee of Connecticut, a youth development organization that uses golf as its vehicle to teach life skills and character development to children throughout the state. More than 50,000 children statewide are benefiting from The First Tee of Connecticut programs, which include in-school instruction, group lessons, regional teams, and scholarships. The First Tee of Connecticut is currently working to raise funds to construct a golf and life skills learning facility adjacent to the new practice facility where classroom training and other programs will take place.
Currently, 17 acres of the facility are still under development for The First Tee of Connecticut. When completed, this section of the facility will feature a short practice course, bringing the total acreage of the practice facility and learning center to more than 40 acres.
"We are grateful for the development of this facility, which will provide an opportunity for The First Tee of Connecticut to have a home base in central Connecticut, and to expand our programming for golf and life skills to youth from throughout the region and the state," said Bruce Wilson, president & CEO of The First Tee of Connecticut. "We look forward to beginning our programming on this facility this summer and continuing to grow our programs in the future."
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