LAURENS – Colonial Ridge Golf Club was once the "Little Engine that Could," a golf course cut out of the backwoods of Otsego County that was the brain child of the late Clair Jacobsen Sr.
Jeff Waffle, head pro and co-owner of the course with his family, began a near lifelong affiliation with the course, then named Cee Jay's, at the age of 12. For years, Cee Jay's was a pitch-and-putt type of layout topping out at 4,900 yards, and playing to an 18-hole par of 69.
The Jacobsen family sold the course to the Waffle family over 10 years ago following Jacobsen’s death, and it's a safe bet that Jacobsen would be proud of the course's improvements and augmentations. “I think he would be happy with the direction we have gone,” Waffle said Wednesday following a full day of on-the-course upkeep.
Thirteen years ago, I toured Colonial Ridge with Bob McNitt, and about the only thing I remembered from that day was the miserable weather. Waffle, who was working merely as the head pro at the time, told us that several changes were planned for the course.
Waffle was right; I remembered little of the 2002 Colonial Ridge edition. The order of holes changed, holes have been lengthened, and new tee boxes have pushed the length of the course from the blue tees to over 6,200 yards.
For the second straight week, Rick Ferris joined me on my outing. I chose Colonial Ridge because of Rick's affinity for the course, his course knowledge, and his familiarity with the Waffle family. He told me they were super nice people.
Indeed, the Waffle family immediately made us feel like welcomed guests. While Jeff Waffle was out on the course mowing greens, his mother Mona was manning the pro shop. Mona, Jeff's wife Julene, and Mona's late husband, Glenn, have brought a simple philosophy to their course ownership, one Mona described as "making golfer's feel like they're coming home" (when they played the course). Added Jeff: “We want people to feel like they are joining a family, not just a golf club.”