WILLIAMSTOWN -- Golf courses started to open this week as winter finally released its tight grip on the Berkshires, and it’s unlikely any group of golfers was happier than those who showed up at Waubeeka Golf Links on Saturday.
Though only the driving range and putting green were open -- the picturesque 18-hole layout will be available Friday -- longtime members wore big smiles as they worked out the kinks following a winter of uncertainty and concern with their beloved course up for sale and rumors of its future -- or lack thereof -- running rampant.
It took until March before the mystery had a happy ending with North Adams insurance man and developer Mike Deep purchasing the course from Jim Goff.
"It’s a relief," said Dan Bourdon, a Waubeeka member with his wife, Sandy, and family for more than 20 years. "[Waiting] was torture, no doubt about it. It would have been a shame to see it go. Everyone wanted to stay together and it’s one of the premier courses in the Berkshires."
"We were praying," said Jane Miller, another longtime member with her husband, Bob. "Besides it being a gorgeous course, it’s nearby for us. I love it."
"We heard all the rumors," said Bob Miller. "We were thinking about what we were going to do. ... It’s nice that somebody from around here bought it."
By early afternoon, all the hitting stations and space south of the driving range were being used as members and others, including members of the Williams College golf team, came out to practice, renew acquaintances and thank Deep.
"Mike is like Crusader Rabbit -- he saved the day," said Jane Miller, a lifetime acquaintance of Deep.
Despite the rumors and negative possibilities, both the Bourdons and Millers believed someone would produce a happy ending to the mystery.
"I always thought it was going to open," said Dan Bourdon.
"We thought somebody would come through," added wife Sandy. "It’s too good a course to go by the wayside."
Unlike a few members, the Millers remained positive and held off making alternate golfing plans for 2014.
"I’m sure some people who gave up and joined other clubs are discouraged," Jane Miller said.
In addition to the club’s members, the Williams College men’s and women’s golf teams also benefit from having Waubeeka’s large practice facility nearby. Members of the men’s team spent the early afternoon hitting balls.
"We were keeping our fingers crossed," said sophomore Andy Leary of the winter mystery. "Taconic doesn’t have a practice range."
Deep, meanwhile, wore a smile as wide those of the club’s members.
"It went really, really well," he said of the big turnout. "It was beyond my expectations, and hopefully it is the start of great things to come."
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