Like a fine wine, Fox Hopyard Golf Club in East Haddam, Ct. has matured nicely as it enters its sixth full year of operation.
The track, considered one of the premier daily fee courses in New England, is at the point its owners envisioned when they hired master golf course architect Roger Rulewich to put his skills to create a very special layout.
“The course has really matured over the last two years,” says Ron Beck, general manager of Fox Hopyard. “Last fall, the course was in top shape, the best it has ever been, with really good greens, full and thick rough and cuts and definition between the fairways and rough and greens and fringe. People who saw the course at the beginning and how it was at the end of last season commented on how great the improvement was.”
As with other new courses, especially those routed over and through challenging terrain and natural environments such as wetlands and woodlands, Fox Hopyard needed growing in to reach its full potential. The magnificence of Rulewich’s routing, perhaps one of his best ever, was never in question.
“There are always things when you design a course that you are not 100 percent sure of,” says Beck. “You don’t know exactly how trees will affect the amount of sun greens receive. So trees come down over the years to improve airflow and you tweak things here and there to get the course how you want it for optimal conditions.”
He adds, “A course takes time to grow. You need the thatch layer to build up and the grass roots to sink deep to have the best turf. We are at the point.”
Fox Hopyard has nary a week hole. At almost 7,000 yards from the back markers, which carry a slope rating of 136, the par-71 course offers a stern test for even the best players. But five sets of tees allow the track to be enjoyed by golfers of all abilities.
Two of the best holes on the course are the 202-yard par-three fourth and the 506-yard par-five fifth. The fourth hole features a dramatic elevation drop from tee to green and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The 506-yard fifth hole is classic risk versus reward. Big hitters can go for two with a lusty drive off another dramatically elevated tee box. But there is a stream that guards the front side of the green and danger left and right all the way.
The 18th is a superb finishing hole. At 551 yards it is best navigated in three shots as a pond stands to the right side of the hole from about 150 yards and hugs the putting surface.
“More and more people are finding out what a nice place Fox Hopyard is,” says Beck. “We have a wonderful clubhouse and an outdoor pavilion where golfers or guests can relax and enjoy a drink and meal. And the casinos are only a short drive away.” The charming small towns of the Connecticut River valley offer shopping and cultural opportunities.
Beck and his staff are looking ahead to a great season. “The course came through the winter in ideal shape and we are picking up where we left off with conditions last year.” Fox Hopyard Golf Club
, East Haddam, CT
800-943-1903 • www.golfthefox.com.