A metal windmill at Hole 5 and a dinosaur guard at Hole 4 will provide some extra challenges at Baker's Golf Center. The center also has increased the number of choices for buckets of range balls from two to five.
Miniature golfers will use new colorful putters this season at Baker's Golf Center.
A new cover protects the driving range bay, replacing the aged 54-year-old wood structure.
Baker's Golf Center opens for its 79th season on Wednesday after getting some upgrades and renovations.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Slightly delayed but better than ever, Baker's Golf Center is set to tee off its 2022 season on Wednesday with all new amenities for its driving range and miniature golf clientele.
Owner Debbie Storie and her staff have been working furiously to get the center ready for opening day even as a contractor puts the finishing touches on the new structure that covers the driving range bay.
That is the biggest and most noticeable change to the center, which opens its 79th season just in time for the busy Memorial Day weekend.
"It was time to do that," Storie said of replacing the previous 54-year-old structures that provided cover for golfers who wanted to hone their skills on the range.
"The other ones were 54 years old. They were coming apart, starting to lean. Pieces of wood were falling apart."
In addition to being more structurally sound, the new bay will have a different feel for users.
"It was time to bring it up to date," Storie said. "It's definitely more of an open concept to it because we won't have the netting between each hitting area like we used to have. It's more of a half-wall divider specifically made for driving ranges."
The range again will have 13 mats to hit from, and the new mats have markings that suggest foot placement for players who are learning the game.
The nearby grass tee is largely the same, although the center did add new sand to its sand trap, Storie said.
The changes are more modest for the mini golf side of the operation.
A dinosaur now guards the fourth hole, and a tall metal windmill gives a new challenge to work around on No. 5.
Mini golf players also will have new putters to play with.
Storie said the center usually tries to open in time for the April school vacation, and she could have started the mini golf a little earlier this year. But she made a decision to not open the center until both sides of the business were available.
"Financially, it was a loss not to open, but it was also a safety thing – with the blacktop around the building not being redone yet and the equipment on site [for the construction]," she said. "And a lot of times people will come and use the range while the kids play mini golf, so you don't want to disappoint them."
In recognition of the slightly shorter season, Baker's is selling season passes at a 20 percent discount and offering a limited edition tumbler with the center's name to the first golfers who purchase a pass – normally $200 but now $160 – for unlimited range balls for the season.
Storie, who has worked at Baker's for four decades and bought the business in 2021, said that it was a significant investment to make the upgrades – especially with the cost of construction elevated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was a step worth taking.
"You have to invest in the business to make a go of it," she said. "You have to get people coming back and new people coming out to try it."
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