A new ice skating rink at the Southampton Golf Range—which hasn’t even opened yet but is already creating quite the buzz in town—is the fulfillment of a dream at the family business.
Owner Will Hansen explained that his mother Gladys was a figure skater and his father, Bill, was an ice skater as well. “I could skate before I could walk,” he said.
In the 1950s, his parents set out to purchase a skating rink but could not find one to buy, despite visiting multiple states. Then in 1957, they learned that the Roskos’ golf range in Southampton, where they had practiced golf many times, was up for sale.
The Hansens added mini golf and Southampton Golf Range became a popular destination for avid golfers and families. Will Hansen moved away to Florida, where he started a golf ball retrieval business. In 2005, when his father died, he returned to Southampton to take over. He said that the range had fallen into disrepair because his parents had struggled to maintain it as they grew older. But since coming back to Southampton, he fixed it up, redid the mini golf course and brought back the long-absent batting cages.
The skating rink is their newest addition and one his mother, who is now 91, is excited about.
Will Hansen’s son and business partner, Reid, said that he tried to make a rink in 2012 without success. He filled a 100-by-50-foot liner with water, but the only week that whole winter when it got cold enough to freeze, he was down in Florida to work at the PGA Tour. By the time he returned, the air temperature had risen again.
“It doesn’t get cold enough any more to do it yourself or skate on the ponds,” Reid Hansen said.
But this time around, Southampton Golf Range has purchased a chiller, which will keep the rink frozen even when the temperature is above freezing.
The rink is the same size as his first, but it’s farther from the road and 700 yards of dirt were brought in to grade the area, he said. After the ground was leveled, the rink was laid out. Pieces that refrigerant flow through were arranged in a rectangle, and a liner went over it.
On October 31, LIPA came to hook the chiller up to a utility pole so it will have enough juice to freeze the water.
Lights are being installed around the rink so it can be used all night, and a heated tent will be set up for skate rentals and concessions.
Two professional figure-skating instructors will offer lessons, head coach Betsy Berry and Jessie Kellis.
The rink will also be rented out for birthday parties and three-on-three hockey. The rink is proving to be a draw for hockey aficionados who don’t have many places to go for ice time. “We’ve been told hockey players will rent the rink from 12 at night to 3 o’clock in the morning if they have to,” Will Hansen said.
The Hansens also bought a makeshift Zamboni from the ice rink company, Custom Ice, which is based in Canada. It’s a John Deere tractor with an ice shaver, hot water sprinkler and smoothing mat attached.
The rink will have its grand opening Thanksgiving weekend, with a disc jockey and complimentary hot chocolate. The Hansens expect to have a DJ at the rink playing music most Fridays all winter.
An hour-and-a-half session will cost $15 for ages 13 and up and $12 for children 12 and younger. Skate rentals cost extra.
The Hansens expect to keep the rink open through March. The rink will be broken down at the end of the season and stashed away for next winter. “It all fits together like an erector set,” Hansen said.
Southampton Golf Range is located on the south side of County Road 39. Call 631-283-2153.