Hunter is a very scenic course located in Meriden. It is a classic hilly parkland style course with tree lined fairways and some ponds down in the valley where the pro shop sits. The first hole is an uphill dog leg and its my least favorite there so its nice to get it out of the way. From then on you are brought through medium sized fairways and bunker protected greens. There is a nice Italian restaurant there and which would be perfect if you plan on hosting a golf outing.
The Hotchkiss course is located in the Northwest part of the state at the foothills of the Berkshires. This beautiful nine holer sits on top of a hill and circles right around and through the campus. The school is in a very small quiet town called Lakeville(the lake being Wononskopomuc….good luck saying that). Upon arriving at the course the driveway takes you right by their new synthetic turf football field(2009). This is the only course I have played on a school campus and its was pretty cool that the football field was so close to the course itself. Being that the holes are not on top of eachother and spread out through the campus, there is a map on the back of the scorecard which was very helpful. Although hole #5 provides the best view(see below), I do not have one favorite hole here. I love holes 2-6 as I can only imagine during school days how many students are not paying attention to their professors but rather seeing if you stick the green or go up and down.
Check out the view from hole 5. My favorite part of this course is if you are lazy,I played 27 already that day, you can take a cart and they are all drop tops!!!! Nothing better than riding and still getting tan.
If your son or daughter likes hockey and golf and is looking at prep schools this is a no brainer.
Highland Greens is a nine hole par 3 course that is lighted, yes lighted, so you can play at night. Its the only night golf facility in CT. There is not much to say about the course as the holes are all relatively the same. Playing under the lights sounds cooler than it is. At address your club face’s shadow blocks out the ball and makes it a “blind” shot. It is also tough to find your ball when you miss a shot. It is definitely worth trying once or as a pregame for a guys night out……beers on this course just feel normal.
Interesting tidbit- The property was once owned and farmed by Revolutionary War Captain Ambrose Hine Jr. Captain Hine served with General Washington’s Continental Army in the Battle of Long Island. Later, he served defending the Hudson River.His handiwork can be seen in many stonewalls located on the property. His home, where he raised his 9 children, is the red house located across the driveway from the 3rd tee.
Hop Brook is a slightly below average nine hole course in Naugatuck. The course had some real rough spots on the first couple holes but that was not the case for holes 6-9. These holes however were really tight and “winedy” . Overall not much to talk about here and you get what you pay for.
The “Griff” is a Robert Trent Jones designed course in the upper class town of Greenwich. Being in Greenwich you would expect them to have the best muni in the state and they provide just that. The Griff is a beautiful classic parkland style course that competes with the local private clubs as far as layout/style go. Hole one is a tough dog leg left but with a downhill second shot you shld be able to get near the green, if not on it. Hole 2 is tough to find; its not the tee box right next to the 1st green seperated by a chain link fence(which needs to go). You need to stay right and go down the hill and across the street. Stay away from the fairway bunker on the right and you should be able to get par on this hole who shares its fairway with the par 3 5th. #3 is a tight par 5 followed by an open par 4 then the par 3 5th I mentioned. Handicap 1 is next, 451yd par 4 with a tricky green. If you bogey that one look to get a stroke back on the next hole as its the shortest there (132yd). The gorgeous par 5 8th and short par 4 9th send you back to the clubhouse hopefully with a smile on your face. The back nine starts with a long tough par 4 then a 200 yd par 3 with a narrow green(be thrilled with one over through those two). If your driver has been erratic today I suggest laying up on the short par 4 12th. #13 and 14 are totally carved out of the woods and require strategic shots as you can find yourself OB quick. 15,16, and 17 are a blur as I walked this course carrying my bag in the 90 degree heat. I DO remember my birdie on the short dogleg left 18, making me wanting to visit the GRIFF again soon.
Being on the NY border I recommend this course to all my fellow Westchester golfers since the # of public courses in Westchester is low and are always packed. With its close proximity to Westchester airport I suggest playing it before picking someone up there or if that person flies with his or her clubs book a twosome!
Overall it gets an 8
Call the starter for reservations (203) 531-8253. Full length range on site.
Green Woods is a nice nine hole course just minutes North of Torrington in Winstead. As you pull into the course, make sure you look both ways as you drive right through the second fairway(unusual). Hole 3 is a downhill par 3 then comes the challenging dog leg right #4 that looks carved out of the “green” woods. The fifth hole is very unique…it has two different greens. The fairway forks and if you go left it plays as a par 4 but if you play 18 it plays as a par 5 to the right. Holes 6 and 7 mirror each other going back and forth and sending you to a generic par 3 over a lake. The ninth is a driveable 4 so wait for the group in front of you to clear before teeing off. My one suggestion is to put in a net or some shrubs blocking the parking lot from the ninth fairway. Hard to believe many cars don’t get dinged up over there.
They have a range and are semi private so weekends before noon are off limits.
Hawk’s Landing is an 18 hole par 70 course minutes off of I-84 in Southington. The course plays very short(5800) but has lots of water and some holes are tight so you need to play smart golf here and club down often. Hole 1 is a perfect example, downhill 300 yds but OB left and blocking trees right. Hole 3 is another one where you may want to not use your driver. 440 yd par 5 with I-84 collecting dozens of drives a day. Holes 4 and 5 go back and forth and are pretty open but have a stream snaking through it and some high grasses that leads to a back up. Hole 6 adds to that delay having 3 large lakes that are tough to avoid. Hole 7 is as tough a par 3 as they come(235 uphill). Hole 8 is an easy par 4 sandwiched in between yet another 235 par 3 with a pond in front of the green and bunkers everywhere. I don’t like courses that have short 4s and then try to make up yards with the par 3s. To find hole 10 you need to drive through the parking lot and across the street. Unlike the front there is no water on the back until hole 17. After the dogleg left #10 holes 11 and 12 are very nice and wide open. Next up are the two toughest holes there besides the front par 3s; 13 and 14 go out and in along side the highway and are tight(handicaps 3 and 5). #15 is my favorite hole there, probably cause I eagled it! 16 is a downhill par 3 and 17 is where the water comes back, runs all along the left side of the hole. The final hole is very similar to #9 but thankfully is shorter and has a little bit of fairway on the other side of the pond.
There is a huge grass tee driving range there so if you live nearby you should take advantage of it. The outdoor patio bar is great(almost too good to be on a golf course).
Tee times can be made on their site or on Golf Now
Over priced! This course is located in my town of Milford, running along side the Housatonic River across from Sikorsky and the sports center of CT. It is semi private and has an extraordinary club house,pro shop, and restaurant(all the best in state). The course itself was designed by Tom Fazio, whom I am not a big fan of, and opened in 2001. You start out on a par 3 which I have never seen before. I was told that the par 3 was originally #10 and the front and back flip flopped; they should flip back. The rest of the front nine feels jammed in between the river and the Waterbury line train tracks(luckily that line doesn’t run too often and breaks down once a week). The back nine layout is nicer and has water on almost every hole. The 10th is a dog leg right with a pond and bunkers on the right so make sure you stay left which will make your second shot longer. The picturesque par 3 11th plays pretty long and has a nice rock waterfall behind the green. Then there is a long par 5 with an elevated green that some find rather silly. Next up is my favorite hole there. If you are Bubba long you may need to club down as the fairway gets narrow at around 250 and the pond comes into play. Your approach shot has to be perfect with the green sitting on a lake and a miss to the left leaves a downhill chip. Hole 14 is somewhat easy but then you go back to back with two of the hardest holes there followed by the toughest par 3 around. 18 is a pretty finishing hole with the clubhouse in the background(why they prob flipped the front and the back). It has a great range and practice facility which is included with your round so I would get there early and make use of it; you will need it on this slope 146/142.
I suggest not biting off more than you can chew here…don’t be embarrassed by playing the whites because the blues can play very tough and make that $140 round taste even worse at the bar.
Overall it gets a 9 and is def a top 10 course but tough to dish out top dollar to play it when there are other courses just as good for a third of the price.
Harrisville is a short par 36 located in Woodstock CT. The course is rough around the edges as is the town itself. The first 3 holes are traditional holes (par 4,3,5 in that order) followed by a driveable par 4 that plays about 260. Next up is a cool elevated tee box that helps you carry the large pond on the toughest hole there. #7 is my favorite; it is not that long but it gets narrow before the green which feels smothered by pines. Keep your approach shot left as everything will funnel down and to the right.
Guilford Lakes was originally a 2 hole course that was expanded to 9 holes in the 1930s; shut down in 1989, and reopened in ’99. With not many golf courses on the shoreline I am sure many are happy it reopened. Its better to have a 9 hole par 3 than nothing at all. Doesn’t hurt that it is the nicest manicured par 3 in the state. Not much to talk about with a short track like this but like I said its in great shape so not a bad spot to work on your short game. I would say that #4 is my favorite; with it’s firm green nestled between a bed of rocks and water to the right.
Rates are 15/17 for non residents so why not go walk it with your buddies and get a cash game going.
Tee times can be made on their site or on Golf Now.
Grassy Hill is an average course with above average greens. The course consists of three bunches of holes. Holes 1-2 and 8-9 go back and forth and are behind the pro shop. Hole 3 is a down hill par 3 that sends you to the “lower” holes(4-7, and ,17-18). My favorite group of holes are 11-16 which are across the road. 11 requires a good drive to clear the stream and 12 has two ponds on it so you really need to choose the correct club. After an uphill par 3 and a downhill short 4 you come to what I think is the toughest hole there(#15). The par 5 #16 is protected by a large wetland so you may need to lay up with your second shot or if you do go for it, stay left! 17 is a downhill par 3 with a huge green so hit it and give yourself a chance at par. Not a huge fan of the finishing hole here. If you miss your tee shot right you end up in their iron only range and your approach shot needs to stay right or your ball will end up down a steep hill.
Of the 4 similiar courses in Orange/Woodbridge, I play Grassy the least due to them not having any deals or tee times online.
I was shocked to learn that this course was only nine years old. This par 28 has a classic New England feel and a cute little club house that gives it old character; the town of Southbury helps with that too. First couple holes are of decent length then you can make back strokes on 4,5,and 6 which are sub 120 holes that go back and forth . 7th is the longest par 3 there, then a challenging uphill #8 leads you to a cool downhill ending hole who’s green is the clubhouse’s backyard. My favorite hole is #3; tee box is tucked back away from the path and has a mulch lined tree hazard on the left side. I suggest playing Pomperaug right after since this is just a warm up and its pretty much connected via Heritage. Tee times can be made by phone only 203-262-1100
Fox Hopyard is a semi private course on my top 3 list. The Roger Rulewich designed course is in East Haddam which is about 20 minutes inland from Old Lyme. The entrance takes you in along side their 5 acre pond with a glimpse of the 18th green. A classic New England style clubhouse sits atop a 30ft rock ledge over looking the 9th/18th greens and the range. Wedged between holes 9 and 18 is the best range in the state which is enclosed by dense fescue lined hills. The fox starts you out with the easiest par 4 all day. After that you will face a tricky uphill slanted par 4 then a tight uphill par 5 both requiring carries over wetlands. Hole 4 is a par 3 that drops 90 feet onto a huge green. With 7 tee boxes club selection is crucial as being long will leave you on a downhill slope above a downhill sloped green- good luck. I suggest you lay up twice on the par 5 5th and then get aggressive with your tee shot on 6. With more hazards than fairway, hole 7 fits the 1 handicap perfectly. The 8th is a beautiful par 3 that is all carry over the lake onto a wide yet narrow green. Rounding out the front is a short 4 with a multi tiered green. After your hot dog at the turn its off to hole 10 which is almost identical to #1. 11 and 12 are both protected by wetlands in front of the green. Hole 15 is a long dogleg right par 5 that would challenge players on the tour. The 16th is a long par 3, keep it to the left and hope you get a nice kick onto the green. 17 sends you out, setting you up for the BEST hole in the state. The score card says 528 from the blues but if the tee box is up and you get a good roll on your drive it leaves you with a tough choice. Either way you will need a precise shot, as that large lake you saw coming in looks even bigger now.
FoxHop gets a 10 and I suggest checking out their sister course Crumpin Fox in Mass(very similiar but more difficult)
Grassmere is a nicely landscaped nine hole course in Enfield. Surrounded by large farms, it is a perfect place for a casual outing. It plays relatively short but does have a decent amount of brooks running through it that can cause your strokes to add up. I am not a fan of the severely sloped par 3 ninth but besides that the course is fun and you can see they take pride in keeping it clean.
For a hole by hole walk through see their website below
The course with no website. A day or two before playing a course I would look it up to scope it out, find the best rate and book a tee time. With a nickname “Mr Google” I thought I would get some dirt on this course but the only thing I came across was the fact that it was pretty much on its own island. My GPS took me through the beautiful downtown Old Saybrook (stop in to Essex Golf if you have time) and then over a long low bridge to Fenwick. Although Fenwick is connected by land, taking bridge street makes it feel like an island. After checking in at the starter shed, it was time to tee off. Hole 1 is a straight away par 4 and is the worst hole there so don’t worry. To get to hole 2 you need to walk through a neighborhood block which will then open up to views of the sound. Hole 2 is my favorite hole there. Its a decent length par 3 surrounded by bunkers, a mansion behind the green, and Katherine Hepburn’s home on the right. Although not right on the sound, the tee box provides a view of it over the lake and marshlands on the right. Hole 3 is another par 3 with an infinity green(pic below-birdie). Next up is another great hole, closing out what I think is the best trio of holes in the state. The tee box is on the edge of the “island” and forces you to carry the sound to hit the fairway. Overall this is a great course on CT’s shore and fun for low and high handicappers alike. Great late afternoon date spot before an early seafood dinner al fresco.
If I wasn’t on my way to Pequot I would have played it again. Overall it gets a 7.5 which is high for a 9 hole course and I tell everyone they need to check it out on a nice summer day.
Goodwin is a 27 hole course located at the very beginning of the Berlin Tpk in Hartford and is falling apart…..9 holes are totally unplayable and the other 18 are barely hanging on. I was walking off after 9 but randomly ran into a friend who I met on this summer “tour” so decided to join him. His name is Jeff and I had a blast playing about 5 rounds with him this summer pushing him to play 27 one day(a first for him). Check out his website if you need a DJ ever http://www.jeffladddjplus.com/. The course was shockingly busy(think a tournament was going on) so I chatted with the starter, who was from Italy and still goes back in the winters. I heard the course has been slipping over the years and once MDM took it over that only accelerated the pace(same for Keney and Longhill). There are a couple really nice holes here especially farthest from the clubhouse near the ponds and the shady parking lots. I don’t blame the grounds crew at all, the blame lies with the management company. I have seen articles online and segments on News12 about MDM failing an audit where by they did not fulfill their capital improvements obligations. According to these reports, the city has exercised their cancellation options and hopefully these courses get better….which will take time.
Overall a 4.5
Tee times can be made on their website or on GolfNow
Farmingbury Hills is a 9 hole muni located in Wolcott. Tee box 1 is a chip shot away from the grill rooms terrace so expect onlookers as you take your breakfast ball. Hole 2 doglegs right and will play easy if you hit a fade drive. Hole 3 entices you to go for it and I don’t see why you wouldn’t. The next hole is pretty weird as the tee box makes you hit over a road and requires you to lay up or hit a power fade. The approach shot is tight as the road on the right and the trees on the left come to a point right behind the green. Hole 5 has a elevated green that is reachable but I suggest laying up. Hole 6 is a very short par 3 so you better stick it. Next is my favorite hole there. The tee box jets into a nice little lake and if you keep your drive left you will be left with a short wedge shot in. 8 is a decent length par 3 and if you hit a good drive on 9 you should be able to give it a go in 2 on this par 5. The food was pretty good so if you are hungry I suggest grabbing something there as I didn’t see many other places nearby.
One word for you….shame. This course could easily make my top 10 but it looks like it hasn’t seen a grounds crew all year. Many of the tee boxes are unhittable, fairways don’t get watered, bunkers are a mess, and greens are covered with ball marks. So enough with the talk about what terrible shape its in as I am sure you heard it all before. The course itself is a great layout and very challenging (74.8/135 from the tips). Hole one is a dogleg right with a big green so is an easy par if you play a slight fade. Hole 2 is one of the better risk/reward par 5s in the state. With a good drive on this downhill tee shot, you should find yourself with around 180 left of all carry over a lake with no room for error(esp right). The next 6 holes bring you around the outskirt of a new condo complex and then to #9 which ends with a stop at the halfway house. The back nine starts out with a beautiful tee shot over the clubhouse lake and #11 is a par 3, again carrying water. I suggest laying up on the dogleg right #12 as it plays over 600yds and the ninth fairway runs along side it causing an illusion. 13 is a driveable par 4 followed by two pretty plain holes. You will most likely need to layup again on #16 as there is a huge hazard in between the fairway and the green. My favorite hole is the closing hole who’s green jets out into that big clubhouse lake.
Tee times can be made on their site or on GolfNow
Overall it gets a 7.5 and I hope that it gets the attention it needs and turns into a course nice enough to bare the Palmer name.
Here is my sleeper pick. This course gets even less talk than CT National and is on my top 5 CT course list. Fairview Farm is right off of Rt 8 in Harwinton which is one town south of Torrington. It all starts with the entrance. The winding uphill driveway takes you to the clubhouse providing views of a couple holes, the driving range, and the signature shared green of 9 and 18. The course itself is picturesque and spacious as it sits on 170 acres of land. Hole 1 puts the pressure on you right away; a downhill narrow par 4 surrounded by trees that makes it maybe the most intimidating opening hole in the state. Hole 2 comes right back and is up hill with a larger landing area. Hole 3 is a par 5 that goes back down the hill leading to a big downhill par3 with a neat multi level tee box. No need for a driver on hole 5. Hole 6 is a beautiful somewhat short par 5 but the skinny green makes it hard to hit if you go for it in 2. Next up is a par 3 with a large green and a tee box along side the large lake. If you thought hole 1 was tight, you should def lay up on hole 8. Hole 9 is another beauty that brings you up to the turn. Hole 10 is a long par 3 that plays at least one club less but make sure you have enough to carry the hazard. Holes 11-13 are pretty simple and lead up to a short dogleg right 14. It reads 330 on the card but if you pick the right line you can easily hit the green(I went over it with prob my best drive of the day). Next up is hole 15 which is my favorite hole there. Elevated tee box with a classic red farm on the left and wetlands on the right. #16 is a par 5 with handicap 2. Usually I don’t agree with high handicaps on par 5s but this one deserves it. Lay up on 17 and then give it everything you got left on 18 going uphill to the house.
I suggest enjoying food on the terrace overlooking the shared green after your round. Place is perfect for outings.
Tee times can be made by calling the pro shop at 860.689.1000. I strongly recommend playing their 9 hole sister course Stonybrook before or after your round .
Elmridge is a very scenic 27 hole course in Pawcatuck CT. If you have never played this course, I am sure you passed it numerous times on 95 North between exits 91 and 92. I always noticed the course traveling to and from Newport(where I went to college) but didn’t realize I was playing it until the second to last hole of the day when I got to drive through that little red barn you see from the highway. So I showed up here as a single and joined 3 men on the tee box. When asked where I was from, I started my story and was immediately welcomed into the group as one of its members, Gary Berman, has accomplished this feat himself(not in one summer though). Gary and I started swapping reviews of all of New England’s best and he told me that he plays all around the country and keeps track of all of them. I have started to do the same. He’s played around 475 different courses in 30 states!!!! Now back to Elmridge. The course is a pretty nice classic New England layout that I enjoyed except for a couple sharp doglegs. 6 white, 6 red, 4 blue. The holes on the clubhouse side of the street are very open while the holes across the street are more lined with heavy trees. There were a couple greens in bad shape but this year there was a disease going around so can’t fault them too much. My favorite hole was #7 red, I am a sucker for par 3s over water. One negative comment was that I do not love the fact that you need to cross a road a couple times but luckily there is not much traffic up there.
Tee times can be made by calling them at 860-599-2248