Laurel View Country Club
in Hamden, 203-287-2656 www.laurelview.com
Laurel View Country Club in Hamden, Ct. continues to improve and regain its place among the better public layouts in the state.
When owner Matt Menchetti took over the reins of Laurel View he assumed direction for the process of revitalizing the classic Geoffrey Cornish track.
Menchetti signed a 20-year lease to manage Laurel View a decade ago and immediately set out to improve conditions. Work included updating the course’s irrigation system, an ambitious seeding and aerification program, and work to tee boxes and greens. Yardage has been added to some of the holes.
Laurel View may be one of Cornish’s best designs because of its delightful variety of holes and his skillful use of the natural topography to create a multitude of risk reward shots.
The course can be stretched beyond 7,000 yards and features some of the toughest par-fours in the state, like the 479-yard fifth. There’s a pond guarding the right side of the green, which often must be attacked with a long iron or fairway wood. Number nine is 450 yards from the back markers, and climbs up a hill to the putting surface, making the hole play 20 to 30 yards longer than its listed yardage.
The seventh hole is a monstrous par-three, measuring around 250 yards from the tips, leaving even the best players with a fairway wood in their hands on the tee box.
The par-fives are on the short side but they are not easy. The 490-yard 14th plays even shorter because it’s downhill off the tee. However, a pond sits in front of the green and must be carried, and bunkers guard the putting surface. Newport National G. C.
in Middletown, R.I. 401-848-9690 www.newportnational.com
Salty sea breezes, lush fairways and a routing that will knock your cleats off. That’s the Orchard Course at Newport National Golf Club in Middletown, R.I.
The Orchard Course stretches to 7,200 yards from the tips and provides a stern test for even the most accomplished players.
A links-like design, the layout plays differently from day to day. While there are no holes directly on the ocean, when the breeze blows hard off Sakonnet Passage it can make The Orchard Course play as difficult as the legendary Scottish links.
The Orchard Course was designed by Arthur Hills and his associate Drew Rogers. Fescue lines the bent grass fairways and the tee boxes, which presents the impression that you are in, oh, maybe Ireland or Scotland rather than in the Ocean State.
The holes at The Orchard Course are a pleasing blend, from the long and difficult to the short and sublime. The fairways are ample and the greens on the large side with tricky undulation.
The Orchard Course comes out swinging with a 522-yard, dogleg left par-five that has wetlands guarding the left side from 150 yards away from the green to the putting surface. It’s rated as the seventh toughest hole on the course.
Number eight is a slight dogleg right par-four that demands a tee shot over a waste area, as does the relatively short, 391-yard par-four ninth where birdie awaits two good shots.
And the 17th may be the toughest par-four on the course, playing almost 490 yards with a huge bunker protecting the left side of the fairway landing area.
Stay awhile to hang out and enjoy the culture, food and nightlife in nearby Newport, one of the truly great coastal towns of the country. Waverly Oaks G. C.
in Plymouth, MA 508-224-6016 www.waverlyoaksgolfclub.com
In a few short years, Waverly Oaks Golf Club in historic Plymouth, Mass. has taken its place as one of the top courses in New England.
This challenging and scenic layout is impeccably manicured, with wide, forgiving fairways and “Tour quality” greens. There’s an 18-hole championship tract and a nine-hole “challenger” course.
Both layouts embody many of the classic designs associated with some of the most famous courses in the country and feature dramatic elevation changes. The championship 18 measures 7,114 yards from the tips, but has several teeing areas to meet the playing abilities of all golfers.
Waverly has a number of great holes, including possibly the most difficult and scary par-three in New England, or anywhere else for that matter. It’s 251 yards from the tips and the tee shot is to an elevated green. You had better strike it pure; balls short tumble down into a huge sand trap that sits some 30 feet below the putting surface. An up and down from the bunker is nearly impossible.
Number four is a relatively short (529 yards) par-five. Big hitters can think about going for the green in two. But there’s a pond guarding the front of the green.
Take some time after or before a round and stroll through the charming town of Plymouth where the Pilgrims made their home. There is a plethora of cultural and recreational activities to enjoy, and some of the best seafood on the East Coast.