Wintonbury Hills is one of my favorite courses in the state, maybe #1 based on how well I usually play it. Located Northwest of Hartford, in Bloomfield, is a Pete Dye designed gem. Opening in 2006, it was the first Pete Dye designed golf course in Connecticut. The renowned golf course architect, who normally charges up to $750,000, billed the city only $1 for his services because of his commitment to more affordable golf. You start off here with a friendly, flat straight away 4. To get to it though you need to drive through the parking lot which is a minor flaw. I wish they would build a path from the practice green in the back of the clubhouse to the first tee. Moving along to hole 2 which is an uphill dogleg left with a pretty large landing area. Your approach shot will be somewhat impaired by the hill so leave it short left if anything. Next up is a short par 3; aim for the left side of the green as everything funnels right. Hole 4 is a skinny par 5 that gets even skinnier up by the green so I suggest laying up cause whatever you do, do not miss the green long or left. Hole 5 is a downhill 4, driveable for long hitters but I suggest laying up. 6 is a tiered fairway hole with a very elevated green followed by a long tough par with plenty of trouble on the left(first sign of water all day). Next up is another skinny par 5 but without any real hazards give it all you got twice. 2 years ago, after watching Thursday morning at the Travelers, I was having the round of my life here. I was 1 under and just crushed my drive down this fairway as the horn went off. I tried to finish the hole and the very short par 3 9th but the carts wouldn’t let me(you will see why later). Another flaw I have with the design here is that the back nine starts off almost identical to the front. Not only does it go par 4,4,3,5 but the holeshave the exact same layout. Holes 14 and 15 are both very nice and very much alike. They are skinny and have OB on the right the whole time and their greens are very protected on the right too. After the long par 3 17 you close it out with a pretty, flat hole similar to 1 and 10.
Overall it gets a 9.5 and is an absolute steal at the prices they offer. Funny note here is that encourage you to drive in straight lines ON the fairways only and the cart’s GPS is so good that if you stray into areas unwanted, the cart will turn off and you will need to push it. Also are the only carts I have seen that you can order your food via touchscreen. They have a range, chipping area and putting green so if you want to host an upscale tournament and treat your guests, this is the place.
Woodstock is a run down 9 hole course in the middle of nowhere Norheast CT. The course is over 120 years old and it looks and feels like it(1896). You start off on a par 3 with a very chewed up tee box. After that you face a short 4 that doglegs at the very end and can leave your ball on a hill in front of the green. Next up is an angled hole with a blind tee shot. Just when you thought the layout couldn’t get any worse, #4 is a 90 dogleg. 5 and 6 are straightaway 4s that lead you too a long downhill 3 that you can not go long on. 8 would be a good hole except its too tight.
You can book a tee time on Golf18 Network. Their website is http://www.woodstockgc.com/
Overall course gets just a 3.5 and feels like a community/league place that doesn’t get many visitors. If you live around there you should frequent this place since its so cheap, esp the range balls.
The “Wheel” as referred to by the regulars, is a 36 hole facility in Bridgeport. The better of the two courses is the Black Course. The Red course has awful starting and finishing holes(1,9,10,18) but if you need to play golf on a weekend, you can pretty much always get a last minute time there. As the rest of the Red is boring and goes back and forth I will go through the Black course now. Hole 1 is a slight dog leg right 4 that brings you to my least favorite hole there. #2 has a blind tee shot that requires the group in front to ring a bell. 3 is a very short par 3 and 4 is an uphill 4 that requires a good tee shot to get the green in 2. Keep your driver in the bag for the next hole but make sure you bring it right back for the long #6. 6,7, and 8 are a very tough bunch of holes so get through there at even and be happy and close out the front. From the 10th tee box you can see Long Island Sound which is miles away. Let it rip and avoid the left side fairway bunkers for an easy par. After a short, well protected par 3 you will have to play a draw(or aim left) on the dog leg left #12. No coincidence that #13 is my favorite hole here. From an elevated tee box you need to carry around 230yds to be left with a beautiful, not easy, approach shot in. 14 is short so best bet would be a draw hybrid. 15 is a nice flat wide open par 4 that feels like it belongs on the red course,not in a bad way, just the fact that it sits on that layout. 16 is a challenging hole with an elevated green that you want to be long on. Next up is the prettiest hole on both courses. A beautiful par 3 hitting over tall cattail. If the pin is in the front you will miss your only hole in one. The closing hole here plays up hill and unless you can hit a fade you will be left with a fat chance to make par.
Tee times can be made online at https://www.fairchildwheelergolf.com/ or on GolfNow
Overall I give the Wheel a weak 6 as a combined score.
Woodhaven is a nine hole track hidden very deep in the woods in Bethany. Hole 1 is a banana shaped par 5 that is an easy par especially if you can fade your drive. Hole 2 is a short slightly uphill par with a very tough green so make sure you get on in one. 3 and 4 are both very short so should be no prob parring both unless 4’s green is rolling quick. No need to use your driver on the next hole who’s green plays just as tough as 4’s(big slope). 6 is a long straightaway par 5 followed by a quirky par 4 where you should club down off the tee to avoid the water. After another par 3 you get the nicest tee shot all day. Carry the water and hopefully your ball will kick forward off the big hill on the left. If your looking for a deal, they used to offer nine and an unreal fried hot dog with chips all for $21. Hope its still offered.
Overall it gets just a 5 and since its only nine holes and in the middle of nowhere its for recreational use only. Its family ran and everyone there is friendly so bring the kids and have a relaxing time here.
Westwoods is an 18-hole, 4407 yard, par-61 executive course in Farmington. I don’t see this course being more than a place for an after work league or a senior league. Sub par layout and it needs some tender love and care. That’s all I got for this place and I probably won’t ever play it again.
Tee times can be made by calling (860) 675-2548. The starter there is a veteran and is on top of everything.
Overall it gets just a 4.5 as its not really a course but the girl working the snack bar was top 3 on my mini tour.
Whitney Farms, located in Monroe, is an 18 hole classic New England style course. With my fade, hole one is usually an easy par. Holes 2 and 3, not so much. They both have water running the whole way down them and #3s green jets out into that aforementioned water. Holes 4-8 are spread out and run through a community which requires you to cross with traffic. The only hole out of those that I like it the zig zag 8th. After you see your buddies shank their tee shot on the par 3 9th, you may want to move your car. The back nine starts off with a nice downhill 4 followed by a tough but beautiful par 5. My favorite hole here is the picturesque par 3 15 that is surrounded by water. Right after that is a nice but bland par 5. 17 and 18 are nice but feel a little forced in around the range.
Western Hills is East Mountain’s sister course and the other, very similar muni in Waterbury. Not too much to write about this one either, as per my East Mtn review, I played 54 in the rain this day. I do remember power lines running through it which doesn’t help its attraction. The course plays only 6300 from the tips so is not the place for single digit handicapers.
Tee times can be made by calling (203) 755-6828 http://www.waterburyct.org/content/5063/5065/default.aspx