BERLIN – A local golf course will be putting a new twist on the game when it reopens this month.
On Memorial Day, Deer Run Jeep Golf is expected to open on Logtown Road. The facility, which was a popular golf course for nearly 20 years before it closed in 2015, is being reworked to offer jeep golf, foot golf and pitch and putt.
“It’s something different,” said Ed Colbert, owner of Deer Run.
According to Colbert, he closed the golf course in 2015 when his wife was ill. His daughter and son-in-law recently approached him with a unique concept, that of jeep golf.
“They’re jeep enthusiasts,” Colbert said. “They came up with the idea of using jeeps as golf carts.”
Deer Run will offer a nine-hole jeep course, where patrons will use their jeeps to travel the golf cart path between holes. The facility will also offer an area for footgolf, a game in which players kick a soccer ball into a cup in as few shots as possible.
“It’s all over the place and growing like crazy,” Colbert said.
The third game offered at Deer Run will be pitch and putt, a type of golf.
Colbert said the trio of games was meant to appeal to millennials. He says they’re not interested in playing traditional golf.
“Golf courses today are losing so much money they have to add things millennials will play,” he said. “The World War II vets are dying off. They were the golfers. Millennials don’t have an interest in spending five, six hours on a difficult game.”
While Deer Run’s jeep course is expected to open Memorial Day weekend, Colbert said it would be some time before the footgolf and pitch and putt courses opened.
“It’s hard to bring back an overgrown golf course,” he said.
In spite of the work ahead, Colbert is eager to get the course up-and-running. He envisions it as a family oriented golf park with a draw that can’t be found elsewhere.
“Jeep golf, no one has ever done that,” he said.
While neighbors of the 170-acre property initially expressed concern over the concept when it was brought before the Worcester County Board of Zoning Appeals, Colbert said he worked with them. To address their concerns, he agreed to more than a dozen stipulations, including limiting hours of operation to weekends. The facility will also be open just six months of the year.
Because it will only be open on the weekends, he hopes to allow local charities to host fundraisers at Deer Run during the week. When the course was open before, Colbert was known for his support of worthy causes, most notably cancer research.
“Ed Colbert is back and we will give to charity,” Colbert said. “We want to solve this cancer problem.”
Colbert said he was grateful for the amount of interest the community had already expressed in Deer Run Jeep Golf.
“I just want to thank all the people who support us,” he said, adding that tourism groups, elected officials and local chambers of commerce had provided letters of support for the project. “They see it will bring business in here.”