Southampton will soon have its own skating rink just in time to break up the doldrums of winter.
Will Hansen, whose family has owned Southampton Golf Range since 1957 and has always had a love for ice skating, said a rink will open on the 13-acre property around Thanksgiving. The outdoor rink will offer lessons, hockey, and open skating from November to March.
The only other ice skating rink on the South Fork is at Buckskill Winter Club, located at the Buckskill Tennis Club in Wainscott.
The property on County Road 39 in Southampton has a range of activities year-round for families, including Animal Kingdom miniature golf, BallPark batting cages, a 300 yard driving range and a junior golf camp. Last year, they added in heated tees that Hansen said are "warm as toast" and have been quite popular with those who want to keep up their swing during the winter.
Hansen, along with his son and partner Reid Hansen, decided to enhance the facility and made plans for the ice skating rink and a snack bar, which will open next spring. The name isn't cemented yet, but it will likely be called Sag Hampton Ice Rink at Southampton Golf Range, he said.
The 100-foot long by 50-foot wide outdoor rink is portable, and will be packed up and put away in the spring, Will Hansen said. Like the tees and batting range, the rink will keep late hours thanks to outdoor lights, grandfathered in under the town code, he said.
They've hired two ice skating instructors and have purchased 100 pairs of brand new ice skates to rent to customers.
A heated tent will offer hot chocolate and snacks, and allow for birthday parties, he said.
"I was just looking for something to keep me busy in the winter," said Hansen, who is a retiree, "But people tell me this place is going to be jammed. There's nothing else to do. Even the bowling alley in East Hampton is closed now."
The town was supportive of the concept, Hansen said. "I think they value 60 years of recreation — public recreation — for the town," he said.
The Rosko family built the range in 1952, and his parents, Gladys and Bill Hansen, then Huntington residents, bought it after seeing an ad in a paper and realizing it was the same range they would visit on trips out to the South Fork.
Though his father passed away in 2005, Gladys Hansen is still involved at Southampton Golf Range. At 91, she can often be seen sitting in the pro shop, even waiting on customers, occasionally.
A former figure skater, her son said she is looking forward to seeing the rink cup and running. "She's more excited than anybody," he said.
As for him, he's planning on doing more than just working. "I brought my ice skates down just the other day," he said.
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