It’s easy to attract folks to the golf course in late November and December — if you’re in a southern locale. But Tunkhannock?
This will be a first.
Stone Hedge Country Club general manager Mike Bender confirmed the course will be up and running from the day after Thanksgiving until Dec. 29 for the first Festival of Lights, an evening drive-thru Christmas display that will wind through the back nine of the course and feature more than — and if you can say this in the voice of Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers trilogy it’s more impressive — one million lights.
Open every night except Christmas Eve at 5 p.m., visitors will be able to drive their car, SUV or passenger van and take in more than 16,000 strands of lights, permanent displays and LED technology.
“It’s great for the area to be honest with you,” Bender said. “It’s something different and I think it will be a wonderful time.
“In terms of the magnitude of what we’re going to do, I don’t know of anything like it locally.”
There also are many benefits for golfers.
Several hundred diseased ash trees have been removed, many on the back nine, to make room for the wide cart paths, which were being shaped last week. That means new paths for golf carts in 2018, more playable areas on some holes, and better air movement on the back nine.
“Some of the greens have struggled back there,” Bender said. “They needed to be opened up so they could have more air flow, more sunlight. It will keep the pace of play up, as well. Once trees are removed from areas that come into play — to the right of No. 15, between Nos. 12 and 13 — people who hit bad tee shots, like myself, we can clean those areas up. It will be easier to find your ball, the pace of play will go up, instead of constantly having to search and dig.”
The displays should be something to see, with themes from the nativity to Santa Claus to golf.
And family festivities available — free pictures with Santa, a fire pit and more — afterward at the course’s new pavilion.
“It falls in line with the family atmosphere that we’re trying to promote,” Bender said. “They’re trying to make stuff affordable for families.”