Gillette Ridge Golf Club in Bloomfield, Ct., which sits on property owned by the Cigna Corporation, is a real test of your golfing ability, even though it has been softened a bit by MDM Golf, which owns and manages the club.
Alterations have made the layout more player-friendly, while still retaining its original challenge. The ultimate goal was to keep the course demanding based upon its yardage and several forced carries but to make it less penal and create bailout areas where a player could recover.
The most dramatic alteration was on the 182-yard par-three fourth hole. A new, wider green was constructed and the putting surface pushed away from a steep incline that leads to a wetlands area.
At Gillette Ridge, Arnold Palmer and his staff created a track that fits nicely into the existing natural landscape. Great care was taken to preserve the numerous trees that serve to frame fairways and greens, as well as the ample wetlands on the property.
The architects built a number of peninsula or island greens, using granite from the site to construct walls near several greens and tee boxes. There are some forced carries at Gillette Ridge, both off the tee and on approach shots to the medium size, undulating putting surfaces, but nothing so daunting to scare away the average player. Bunkers, ponds or wetlands come into play on almost half the holes. The fairway landing areas are ample.
There are four sets of tees at Gillette Ridge, making the course play anywhere from 7,191 yards at the tips to 5,582 from the forward markers. The course has been given a slope of 135 and a rating of slightly over 74 from the back markers.
The club has a great restaurant and bar, with an outside dining area that overlooks the 18th hole, arguably the toughest finishing hole in the state, a pro shop and a comprehensive practice facility.
Gillette Ridge plays 7,191 yards from the tips with three other sets of tees. The conditions are always good, with tight and finely manicured fairways and well-maintained greens.
Gillette Ridge Golf Club