The CT couple breathe new life into Litchfield Golf Course

LITCHFIELD – Jonathan Philips has food service in his blood. His wife, Jill Ferrarotti, has golf in her blood. Their careers intertwine at Stonybrook Golf Course, where Philips runs an expanded restaurant called Clubhouse Provisions, and Ferrarotti runs the revamped pro shop.

The public nine-hole Stonybrook at 263 Milton Road has been around since around 1955. Robert Ferrarotti, Jill’s father, has owned it since 1976 and earlier this year rented it to her and her husband, who have immediately began the renovations.

As well as improving the greens and fairways, Philips has significantly upgraded the dining areas, while Ferrarotti has transformed a shower and storage area into a well-lit pro shop.

“It’s like a rebirth,” Philips said. “For a very long time, (Clubhouse Provisions) was just a counter service. You would go upstairs, pay a greens fee, get your card charges, grab a beer, grab a snack, and go on your way.

It is now a spacious, sunny dining room that seats between 55 and 70 guests, with room for up to 100 people for events that spill out onto a 40-seat patio overlooking nearly 70 acres of greens.

Although Stonybrook membership is optional, the club and restaurant are open to the public.

Philips had a grandfather who owned a bakery and another grandfather who ran a delicatessen. Philips worked in his father’s restaurant in Massachusetts. He thought about a career as a professional baseball player, but decided “it wouldn’t get me anywhere,” he said.

He attended Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI, for cooking, then worked at Tosca, then Square Café, two of the best restaurants in Hingham, Mass.

“From there I took an executive chef position in Cape Town on a private golf course and then worked there for five years while Jill and I looked to open our own restaurant,” he said. .

They opened C Salt Wine Bar and Grille in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 2013, a 38-seat restaurant featuring fine dining and an upscale wine list. Around the time Stonybrook became available in 2021, a buyer made an offer on the Falmouth restaurant, and Philips and Ferrarotti made the move.

For Ferrarotti, it was a homecoming. The couple and their two young children now live in the house she grew up in, right next to the clubhouse. “With her being a golf professional and me being a chef, it made sense,” he said.

Ferrarotti is a Class A golf professional whose PGA career has been mostly at private clubs. She has taught golf at TPC Boston, Weston Golf Club, Woods Hole and Pocasset.

“Just because (Stonybrook) is public golf doesn’t mean we don’t make it enjoyable,” she said. “We want it to be a place where people come. The golf course is well conditioned. We’re going to do some upgrades later, and the golf carts are going to be upgraded as well.

Already, it has consolidated some tournament programs. A men’s club and a women’s club are now mixed, she said. “It’s good because it increases everyone’s participation,” she said.

She started a women’s golf program for beginners. “Every Wednesday I do a one-hour clinic for up to 25 women, followed by three holes of golf,” she said.

The pro shop downstairs from the restaurant used to be a locker room with a shower stall. In its place is an expanded pro shop offering golf apparel and equipment. Ferrarotti said it was more convenient than having to drive out of town to buy golf necessities.

“What I really love about it is the change of pace,” Philips said. Hosting a private event at his old restaurant was expensive, but “here we’re a little more affordable,” he said. “The menu is casual, modern American cuisine with Asian and Korean influence,” he said.

Appetizers, salads, sandwiches, tacos, and hot dogs are all under $20, with burgers being slightly higher. Many items are or can be modified to be gluten-free, he said.

Ferrarotti is excited to redo events, including a recent charity event with 72 players. “They haven’t held events here in a very long time, so it’s nice to see the golf course busy again,” she said.

“I love showing people why gaming is fun,” she said. “It’s a very difficult sport. I like helping people to improve, to play better. They obviously have more fun.

She said she and her husband both enjoy interacting with people. “We try to keep people coming back for the service and not just because the golf course is nice, you know, or the food is good.”

Clubhouse Provisions is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. until dusk. For more information on events at Stonybrook Golf Course, call 860-567-9977 or visit www.stonybrookgolfct.com.

Michael C. Ford