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Must Plays in New England
John Torsiello
By John Torsiello
Published on 06/11/2008

New England's Must Play
Untitled Document

Gillette Ridge Is One Special Golf Course

Bloomfield, Ct.’s Gillette Ridge Golf Club poses a challenging, aesthetically pleasing test.
  Matt Manchetti and MDM Golf, LLC takes over the day-to-day operations of the club this year and aims to continue the tradition of excellence that Gillette has become famous for.

  Gillette Ridge is skillfully routed over the softly undulating terrain of land owned by the Cigna Corporation and fits nicely into the existing natural landscape.
  There are a number of peninsula greens here with the builders using granite from the site to build 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 this imbues Gillette with its challenge, and most of the carries will be hit with a short iron. There are ample bunkers and water in some for or the other comes into play on 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. Heed this advice; play up if it’s your first time. You’ll enjoy your round to a far greater degree.

  The second hole is the course’s signature. The tee box affords a view of the Heublein Tower in the distance, and the 505-yard, par-five winds down to a peninsula green. This is a true risk-reward hole as a long drive will leave the player with an opportunity to go for the green in two. But a pond guards the right side of the putting surface and long is bad.
  The 182-yard 11th hole is a stunning par-three that calls for a shot across a small pond to a green framed by large trees to the rear of the putting surface.

  The 18th hole at Gillette Ridge may be the best finisher in the state. It’s 478 yards from the tips and the tee shot must be lusty. The approach will be made to a narrow green protected by a large pond to the right and bunkers.

Gillette Ridge Golf Club
  Bloomfield, Ct.

The Golfing is Always Good at Waverly Oaks

The course conditions at Waverly Oaks Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts are already superb.
  The course came out of the cold weather in fine shape, said head pro Dave Rose, and opened on March 16, considerably earlier than normal. The course was aerified last November, meaning there will be no interruption of play this spring, he added.
  The club is offering a season pass for $3,200 this year which gets the individual signing up unlimited play, a golf cart for each round and range balls. Pass holders can also make tee times 14 days in advance instead of the usual seven.
  Waverly Oaks is annually one of the best-conditioned tracks in New England, and offers a challenging yet approachable routing that will test you but won’t beat you up.

  The best hole the front side might be the 529-yard, par-five fourth, which has water guarding the green, making it risky to go for the putting surface in two.
  Much of the beef on the layout comes from its very good par-threes, three of which play over 207 yards, including the 234-yard third and the 251-yard 17th, with the latter being perhaps the most difficult short hole in the region. It demands a lusty tee shot over a waste area and a yawning bunker that sits some 15 feet below the putting surface.
  In fact, the 17th is the culmination of a three-hole stretch that will test even the best players. The challenge begins with the demanding 474-yard par-four 15th and moves to monstrous, 636-yard par-five 16th before concluding at the 17th. Come through this trio of holes even par and can brag about it in the comfortable clubhouse after your round.
  Waverly Oaks’ 18-hole course plays around 7,100 yards from the tips but there are four other sets of tees.
  The club also offers a neat Challenger Course, which is a great spot for beginners and high-handicappers to have some fun. The layout plays only 2,264 yards from the back and is a par-33. Conditions on the Challenger track are just as good as on the Championship Course.

Waverly Oaks Golf Cub
Plymouth, Mass.

Spectacular New Nicklaus Course at Ocean Edge

As if New Englanders not fortunate enough to live along the coast needed another excuse to visit magical Cape Cod in Massachusetts!
  With the recent opening of the totally revamped Ocean Edge Resort golf course in Brewster there is yet one more reason to visit this wonderful peninsula. Jack Nicklaus totally revamped the course, bulldozing the original layout, built in 1986 and designed by Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva, and routing a spectacular new track over the same footprint.
  “The entire course was rebuilt from tee to green, on every hole,” said Michael Medeiros, head professional at the club. “You might remember some of the topography from the old course, some of the flow of the course, but you won’t recognize the holes.”
  Nicklaus did a masterful job reshaping Ocean Edge, which is part of a spectacular resort amenity package. The course now plays 7,011 yards from the tips and will quickly take its rightful place among the great layouts of the Northeast.
  “There are 60 bunkers on the course but everyone says it seems like there are so many more,” said Medeiros. “It’s because they are all placed strategically and can come into play from the tee and on approaches.

  Several of the holes from the existing course were lengthened, such as the 10th hole, which used to be a short par-four but now is a 420-yard dogleg left par-four that is truly splendid in character and challenge.
  Perhaps the new course’s signature hole is the 17th, which plays around 600 yards from the back. The par-five dogleg works its way up a hill and is a true three-shot par-five for even the longest hitters.
  While there are no ocean views, there are several of the Cape’s famous freshwater glacial ponds that come into play. Nicklaus made sure to design a course that is challenging for the better player, yet approachable to mid- and even high-handicappers.
  Nicklaus also imbued the new course with the area’s unique setting, a landscape that includes mature stands of trees, a rolling topography and subtle elevation changes. The layout perhaps can best be described as a parkland setting.
  In addition to the course renovations, the $8.5 million upgrade included a renovation of the Linx Clubhouse, which now features a member’s only lounge, expanded locker rooms and additional function space. The course and clubhouse are open to Ocean Edge Club members and guests staying at the hotel.
  A team of top professionals is on hand at the club to provide instruction.

Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Cub
Brewster, Mass.