Beyond the tees at Putnam County Golf Course

The Ciuffetelli brothers, Joseph and Al, pictured in 2015. Photograph by John Rizzo.

Putnam County Golf Course is one of the hidden jewels of the lower Hudson Valley. Nestled in the rolling hills of Mahopac, the 18-hole championship golf course offers golfers a challenging 6,800-yard, par-71 venue with spectacular vistas of the beautiful countryside.

But what also attracts people to the golf club is its dining and entertainment opportunities. That’s all thanks to Mahopac resident Al Ciuffetelli, who has run Homestyle Caterers with his brother Joseph for the past 25 years. The business took over catering at the public golf course, owned by Putnam County, five years ago and has grown revenues from $234,000 to $1.15 million per year (30 percent of which goes back to the county).

“What makes our catering stand out is that our food is all homemade, featuring many of our own Italian-American family recipes that we’ve brought over here. Everything is fresh, and we don’t buy any of the frozen foods that many of the other catering halls use,” Al Ciuffetelli says. “My brother and I run most of the events ourselves and many of our staff members have been with us for over 15 years.”

In addition to the Putnam County Golf Course, Homestyle handles the catering at several other area courses, including Blue Hill in Pearl River and Dunwoodie in Yonkers. The company also provides food service at the Westchester County Center, as well as area schools, corporate office building, and other institutions. 

At the Putnam course, Ciuffetelli says that Homestyle does the catering for more than 20 golf outings a year.  “We do everything from the county sheriff’s department to local veterans groups and area police departments. People really want to come here because of the food, and we’re very fair on the pricing.”

Ciuffetelli’s company also handles the catering at the club for a variety of nonprofits, professional organizations, associations, alumni groups and families.  

Events are held in two banquet venues, Sybil’s Hall, which can seat up to 300 people and the Patriot Room, which can handle 80 to 100 guests. Each of the rooms has views of the course, which was designed by golf architect William F. Mitchell and first opened in 1959 as Putnam Country Club. (The club remained private for many years and underwent several ownership changes until it was purchased by Putnam County in 2004.)

“We also have The Grille, which is perfect for enjoying classic pub fare, whether it’s before or after a round of golf,” Ciuffetelli says. Golfers can eat in the cozy atmosphere of the main restaurant or choose to sit on the airy indoor or outdoor decks or at the al fresco bar.

In addition to the food, Homestyle provides a full range of services in terms of entertainment and decorations.  “We can get you whatever you need, from DJs and musicians to balloons and photo booths,” Ciuffetelli says.

Drawing on his entertainment connections, Ciuffetelli started a concert series at the club three years ago. The events take place every Friday night between Memorial Day and Labor Day on the club’s outdoor patio and surrounding golf greens. “When we first began, we had 30 people here, and now some of our performances attract over 1,000 guests. The recent Nerds concert we held brought in 1,400 people,” he says.

Scheduled acts include  1 Wild Night, a Bon Jovi tribute band, Aug. 3; Appetite for Destruction: The Ultimate Guns N’ Roses Experience, Aug. 10; Desert Highway: A Tribute to the Eagles, Aug. 17; and Whoz Ya Daddy, playing classic rock and pop, Aug. 24. All tickets are $29 and include a barbecue dinner catered by Homestyle. A cash bar is available throughout the evening.

Coming up Sept. 8 is a Clam and Lobster Bake with music performed by Amanda Ayala, who was featured on NBC’s Emmy-Award winning show “The Voice.” There is also an Oktoberfest Oct. 5, featuring more than 25 craft beers from local breweries and a popular band called the Amish Outlaws.

“We really try to mix it up. Sometimes we have a disco night and other evenings we offer country music, comedy or a Golden Oldies event for seniors,” Ciuffetelli says. “Our goal is to give people a little taste of everything.” In the off-season, Homestyle offers entertainment at the club once a month. 

Ciuffetelli says that that the concert series has exploded because the club is at the center of Putnam County. “When you go down further south to areas such as Yonkers, there’s a lot to do and you can go into the city. But up here, there’s not as much to offer,” he notes. 

“People are looking for something to do that’s safe and they know they’re going to have an enjoyable time. They can rely on the fact that there’s going to be good food and good entertainment, so the value is there for them. That’s why we’ve been so well-received.”

According to Ciuffetelli, one of the reasons why he started the concert series was to get people to try the club’s food.  The first year he was there the club had 57 parties booked, and now there are close to 300 a year. “When people eat the food and realize that it’s amazing, they want to book a party here. That’s how we built the whole business,” he says.

For more, visit putnamcountygolfcourse.com.

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