There was no ice cream or cake or even soft drinks. But for golfers it was a "tee party" at the Mahoning Valley Country Club in Mahoning Township this week.
After months of uncertainty for the 48-year-old facility, it opened Wednesday with a new owner and some major improvements made to the links. The restaurant remains closed but management says it should be open within a week or two; as soon as the necessary permits arrive in the mail.
The country club opened as a public facility. The club hasn't been private for a number of years.
Jeremy Jones, general manager, said the golf course is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Wednesday it opened amid heavy fog and even some frost, but by 9 a.m. the first golfers arrived.
The grand opening is planned for April 27, 28, and 29. Jones said on these three days, there will be free golfing for the first 100 golfers in the door who purchase golf carts.
The country club was purchased by Lehigh Gas Corporation of Bethlehem from Lafayette Ambassador Bank of Easton. The bank took over the facility last May at a Carbon County Sheriff's Sale for a mere sum of $1, but assumed more than $3 million in debts including a mortgage of $3.2 million that the bank was owed and $198,214.93 in back taxes. The purchase price by Lehigh Gas was not known.
Closing of the sales agreement occurred about two weeks ago, Jones said.
Among the first golfers on the course was Clayton Schlier of West Bowmans. He said he was impressed with the facilities.
"The fairways are nice," he said. "The greens will be growing in about a week. The course is in good shape."
Thomas Andrews of Weissport was pleased that the weather cooperated with the opening, with fair skies and mild temperatures making it perfect to travel the 18 holes.
Jones said the opening day went very well and he was happy with the turnout of golfers.
"We put the place in as best condition we could," Jones said. "The greens are almost fully recovered."
He said the club is booking tournaments.
"Everything's up and running and we're taking tee times daily," he said. "We're working to get the bar open."
Playing a round of golf were Keith and Sheila Drummond of Mahoning Township, who said they were thrilled the course reopened.
For Sheila, the course is especially close to her heart. She is blind and in 2007 hit a hole-in-one on the fourth hole.
"We were sick" about the prospects of the course closing, she said, noting she and her husband have been golfing here for about 15 years.
"We only live two miles away," Keith said. "This course is perfect for us."
For more information or to discuss tournament booking, call Jones at (570) 386-2588.