Some high school matches will be played before schools are back in session this year. The area boys’ golf teams are already into their second week of practice, and they will be playing in competition next week.
There are also some changes in the location of area matches. By moving the schedule to the fall, from the spring, there is less course availability, which has sent some schools scrambling.
Nonnewaug goes back to school on September 7, but the golf team will play its first match on September 1, when Coach Ryan Campanario takes his boys on the long bus ride to Canaan Golf Course, where they will open against Housatonic.
The Chiefs will play the next day on their new home course, Western Hills Golf Course in Waterbury, when they engage the Spartans of Shepaug, coached by Chris Dennis.
Nonnewaug has played many courses, Watertown Country Club, Pomperaug Golf Course, Heritage Village Country Club and Stonybrook Golf Course as their home course over the years. Stonybrook was their home last spring, but now they will play three of their four home matches at Western Hills, all on Thursday, the 2nd, 9nth and 16th of September.
Waterbury schools and the NVL will still be playing there in the spring.
They will return to Stonybrook once, on the 20th.
It will seem strange to see the strong Pomperaug team, coached by Rich Szymanski, playing all seven of their home matches in Middlebury, at the Highfield Country Club.
The Panthers have forever been seen on the Heritage Village course, going back to when Fred Farrell was the coach and that was before Szymanski took over the program 34 years ago.
But the Heritage Village course has become the Silo Point Country Club and there will not be enough course availability there for the Panthers, although they will still practice there on most Tuesdays.
Pomperaug opens up playing Masuk on August 30 at the Whitney Farms course in Monroe. Then they head to the Redding Country Club to engage Joel Barlow.
Their first home match is not until September 8, when they play Notre Dame at Highfield.
Other SWC teams are going to be unfamiliar with Highfield, which should give the Panthers a bit of an edge as they have been practicing there for two weeks.
Shepaug will play four home matches at Lake Waramaug in New Preston, the course they have been using for quite a few years. Their first match there will be September 7 against Northwestern.
There is a huge shift in the format for the state tournament this year. The Berkshire League, the South-West Conference, the FCIAC and half of the Central Connecticut Conference have switched from the spring season to the fall season.
From those 51 teams there will be a split into two divisions, according to the size of the school. All three of our area teams, Pomperaug, Nonnewaug and Shepaug, have been put in Division II, the smaller division. Pomperaug is among the largest of schools in that division, and along with Avon and a few FCIAC schools, should be one of the favorites.
This will be a quick season, with the season-ending tournaments being completed in the second week of October.
This year is going to be an experiment as much as anything. No one is sure if the changes are for the better or if some complications might arise that have not been fully considered. An early snowstorm could wreak havoc on the final tournaments, but a sunny October day could be a great improvement over some of the 90 degree weather in June that has made a few tournaments unbearable in the past.
There will not be conflicts with AP testing, proms and graduation practices as has happened often in the past and that makes coaches very pleased.
So it is almost tee time boys. Grip it and rip it.