|Our Fantasy 18 Holes of Connecticut Public Golf
|By Tom Landers |
See if Your Favorite Hole Made the Cut
After many years of play, analysis and more than our share of bogeys, we at Golfing Magazine’s Northeast Edition have come up with what we call our “Fantasy 18,” a compilation of the best 18 holes at the state’s daily fee courses.
While some of your favorites may not have made the list, we believe our course is representative of the best the state has to offer. The Fantasy 18 measures almost 7,000 yards and plays to a standard par of 72. While eight of the par fours measure 400 yards or better, there are several drivable par fours. Our par-threes range from 126 to 208 yards, and our four par-fives from 506 to 593 yards. Some of the biggest names in golf course architecture had a hand in our course, names like Fazio, Palmer, Cornish, and Dye. We selected no more than one hole from a course.
We’ve attempted to create a track that is challenging yet playable, one that demands that every club in the bag be hit with skill. The holes that make up our Fantasy 18 have two other factors in common--they are all well designed and visually pleasing.
So let’s take a look at our brand new golf courses, one that we can all play, even if it is one hole at a time.
Number One: The 593-yard par-five 1st hole on the Resort Course at Lake of Isles Golf Club in North Stonington.
What a way to get the round started! The hole begins from an elevated tee box with a carry over a waste area. Bunkers line both sides of the fairway and only the long hitters can attempt to reach the green in two.
Number Two: The 410-yard par-four 10th hole at Blue Fox Run Golf Course in Avon. A real super four par. The tee shot must stay clear of a pond to the right and a large bunker on the left. The safe play is a three-wood to the 150-175 yardage, which leaves an approach across water to a double-tier green protected by large bunkers left and right.
Number Three: The 431-yard par-four 3rd hole at Gillette Ridge Golf Club in Bloomfield.
What a hole! A good drive leaves a tough downhill approach to a small green that is guarded by deep bunkers and water left and long. The second shot to the green is a short iron that looks easier than it is. Accuracy is rewarded on this hole.
Number Four: The 208-yard par-three 3rd at Shennecossett Golf Club in Groton.
A masterful hole designed by the legendary Donald Ross. A redan style green that sits atop a steep mound. The tee shot must be straight and true to find and then hold the putting surface. Left, right or long is a bogey waiting to happen.
Number Five: The 572-yard par-five ninth at the Robert Trent Jones Jr. Course at Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield.
Solid par-five. Tee shot is to a rather narrow landing area, setting up a second shot to another landing area well guarded by sand traps left and right. Approach is to a deep, long green.
Number Six: The 205-yard par-three 5th at the Green Course at Tunxis Plantation Country Club in Farmington.
A sold par-three. Tee shot must carry wetlands and find a green perched atop a slight rise. The putting surface is undulating, making par a risky proposition, even if you hit the green.
Number Seven: The 422-yard par-four 11th at Rockledge Country Club in West Hartford.
A dogleg right, the hole demands an accurate tee shot with danger lurking right and long. The approach is to a large green that slopes from back to front. Looks easier than it is.
Number Eight: The 438-yard par-four 18th at Richter Park Golf Course in Danbury.
A classic from one of the country’s top municipal courses. Very difficult, dogleg right par-four, which asks that the tee shot be hit to the 175 yardage area to set up an uphill approach to a wildly slopping green guarded by bunkers.
Number Nine: The 400-yard par-four 1st at Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwinton.
Nice way to end the front nine. Straightforward par-four with trees left and right. Approach is downhill to a green that does not receive shots easily.
Number 10: The 175-yard par-three 12th at the Tradition Golf Club at Wallingford.
A true island green that will cause your hands to shake. Tee shot is across water to a fairly large green. Just make sure you choose the right club to find land.
Number 11: The 490-yard par-five 15th at Laurel View Country Club in Hamden.
A wonderful, short par-five. A big, well-placed tee shot leaves the payer with option of going for the green in two. But the shot, sometimes off a downhill lie, must carry a pond and avoid bunkers scattered around the putting surface.
Number 12: The 433-yard par-four 13th at Great River Golf Club in Milford.
A very demanding hole. Tee shot must be set up just before a lake that guards the right side from the 150-yard marker all the way to the green. Second shot is across water to a small green surrounded by bunkers.
Number 13: The 320-yard par-four 4th at the Gilead Highlands course at Blackledge Country Club in Hebron.
The first of our drivable par-fours. Only problem is that there are woods to the left and bunkers down the right. The green is raised a bit off the fairway making the task even harder.
Number 14: The 400-yard par-four 15th at Oxford Greens Golf Club in Oxford.
The tee shot is from a slightly elevated tee box with a drop-off to the left. Second shot is across wetlands to a green protected by bunkers. Very pretty hole that demands your attention.
Number 15: The 455-yard par-four 14th at Wintonbury Hills Golf Course in Bloomfield.
One of the best par-fours in the state. Water guards the right side and a large hill is on the left. Second shot, sometimes hit with a hybrid or fairway wood, must be true to find a smallish green surrounded by wetlands and woods on three sides.
Number 16 : The 232-yard par-three 17th at Sterling Farms Golf Course in Stamford.
Just a long, straightforward three. There’s a nasty bunker to the right to catch errant tee shots, which must be hit with a fairway wood when the wind is in your face.
Number 17: The 310-yard par-four 9th at Topstone Golf Club in Windsor.
The second of the short fours. Tee shot is across a ravine and must be played with a fade to have any chance of getting on or near the putting surface.
Number 18: The 551-yard par-five 18th at Fox Hopyard Golf Club.
We wanted to finish our 18 with a par-five to help settle matches. A great risk-reward hole. A Strong drive to a generous fairway leaves the player with a decision: Go for the green and risk the water to the right or play it safe and attack on the third shot.