Last summer I suggested to my golf buddy, Bob, a member at one of Connecticut’s more pricey and exclusive private clubs that we meet at Quarry Ridge for 18 holes.
“Anywhere but there”, my eight handicap, friend replied.
I suspected I was on the receiving end of Bob’s country club snobbery but when pressed for a reason he sheepishly admitted, “I love the place but I can never play to my handicap there”.
Thus is the respect and admiration accorded this Al Zikorus designed gem.
Created in 1993 on the site of an old quartz mine, the course sits atop a scenic ridgeline boasting some of the most breathtaking views the central Connecticut River valley has to offer.
Over the years Quarry Ridge has developed a fiercely loyal fan base due in part to its devilishly creative ‘risk versus reward’ configuration and also in large measure to its consistently immaculate condition.
The man responsible for this is Superintendent Jim Custy.
The greens at Quarry Ridge are Custy’s trademark. “True, readable, and consistent.” is what Custy strives for.
“What you see on the practice green, you’re going to see another eighteen times on the course.”
John Lucas, Quarry Ridge’s pro of 10 years says, “Sixty four hundred is exactly what this layout should play to. With the natural granite formations that come into play, the fairway elevations and some of the narrow target areas, you’ll use every club in your bag. Any longer would make the course just too darn tough.”
There are ample opportunities to pull the big dog out of the bag; several par fours, most notably the side by side downhill tandem of one and ten, being drivable by serious hitters. The super tough number one handicap hole, the par 4, 385 yard dogleg left 8th requires at least 250 yards of carry off the tee to get a clear second shot into the wafer thin green. Additionally, all four par fives are reachable in two. But beware…with needle thin landing areas, little or no bailout, yawning fairway traps, and gaping greenside bunkers, it’s best to over think than over club. Birdies can turn into bogeys real quick up here!
If Quarry Ridge has an “Amen Corner” it has to be 11, 12 and 13.
On paper, the 455 yard 11th seems too short to warrant par five status. The hourglass shaped fairway, however, so narrow that the trees on each side almost form a canopy, leaves virtually no room for error. Twelve is the number two handicap hole for good reason. At 447 yards uphill from the tips, with trouble on both sides, only the best effort with driver and long iron will put you in position for par…problem is, when you get to the green and gaze out at the 20 mile southwesterly view you might be too distracted to putt well.
As you stand on the tee box of 13, almost 50 feet above the fairway, with the Hartford skyline in the distance directly above the pin, you are beckoned by the siren song of the green a mere 300 yards away. You know that three wood-wedge is the smart play and will take all the teeth out of this hole. But still…those 460 CCs of titanium are all but jumping out of the bag and into your hands!!!
A large bunker in front of the green and an ancient oak on the front right will swallow all but the most precise drives. Go left or long down into the rocks and you’ll need a Sherpa guide to retrieve your precious little Pro V.
Eighteen is a very pleasant finishing hole. It is an attractive, wide open opportunity to end your round on a positive note.
The grill room is spacious and comfortable with a great pub menu, large flat screen TVs, and wireless internet. The dining room boasts Creative American cuisine by newly acquired executive chef Joe Rinaldi. The addition of Rinaldi, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, along with the incredible scenery from the dining room, promises to make Quarry Ridge not only a superb golfing destination, but a memorable dining destination as well.
Mike and Brian Milano, first year owners of Quarry Ridge, are excited at the prospect of making a good thing even better.
“We fully intend”, says Brian, “that Quarry Ridge be mentioned in the same breath as the other great daily fee courses in Connecticut: Fox Hopyard, Great River, Gillette Ridge, Wintonbury, to name a few.”
Quarry Ridge is one to watch in 2007, as well as one to play.
Put it on your “go to” list this year, you’ll be glad you did…and, you’ll be back. For more information, visit www.quarryridge.com
or call (860) 342-6113