You might call Pine Valley Golf Club in Southington, Ct. a quintessential working man’s club.
This no frills layout is all about enjoying yourself on a great course run by a welcoming staff, and all at very affordable prices.
“We like to think we have a great golf course with good conditions, and fair prices where you can have fun, a good glass of beer and a good sandwich when you are done,” says PGA professional Jack McConachie, who has been at Pine Valley 33 years and is a three-time Connecticut Section PGA Senior Player of the Year.
While it seems that some daily-fee courses change hands and management every few years, Pine Valley is a longtime family-run operation. The present co-owner/general manager Lee DellaBianca’s father, Leo, built the course in 1960. Lee’s brother, Larry, serves as the club’s co-owner and course superintendent.
“I grew up on the course and been here for a long time,” says Lee DellaBianca, as he sits in the small but comfortable restaurant. “We always try to go out of our way to welcome our customers and put a lot of effort into hospitality and making them feel comfortable.”
New carts, complete with GPS, were purchased last year.
Pine Valley, which was designed by Orrin E. Smith, is daily fee golf at its best. The course won’t beat you up and is only a little over 6,300 yards from the tips. But a number of the holes are tree-lined and dogleg either right or left, which places a premium on accuracy off the tee.
“It’s not wide open like some of the newer courses,” says Lee DellaBianca. “I can remember when I was a kid cutting corners with the driver. You can’t do that now on most holes because of the trees we planted have matured.”
There are no memberships at Pine Valley, which plays to a par of 72, and greens fees have not been raised in three years. This is a very walkable course with only a few holes at the close of the round demanding a bit of a climb.
Rates are extremely reasonable, $35 for walking and $51 with a cart on weekdays, $40 for 18 walking and $56 with a cart on the weekends during peak season.
The club is offering a super special through April, which gets two players 18 holes walking for a total of $50. That’s 25 bucks a round, a real steal for such a fine and enjoyable layout.
The course is quite scenic and really pops with color during mid-spring when the numerous flowering shrubs and trees burst their buds. Conditions are kept very good throughout the season.
The course starts with a rather short, 510-yard par-five that big hitters can reach in two as long as they manage to clear a rise in the fairway around 240 yards off the tee.
One of the classic risk-reward holes you will find anywhere is the 311-yard, par-four sixth. You have a decision to make on the tee box; whether to take a mid-iron and lay up in front of a pond or take driver out and attempt to work the ball along a small portion of the fairway to the left of the water.
The front side ends with a solid par-four. The dogleg right measures 420 yards from the tips and brave players can try and cut the corner by taking the tee shot over or around trees that sit near the turn to the right.
Number 13 is perhaps the most difficult hole on the course. It’s 442 yards from the tips and bends sharply to the right about 220 yards from the tee. The smart play is to take a long-iron or fairway wood off the tee and don’t fool with a stream that cuts the fairway at the dogleg. But that will leave you with a very long approach into a slightly elevated green.
The 17th hole, a 363-yard par-four, is typical of the challenge you will face at Pine Valley. If you take driver and crush it down the middle, you will have only a wedge to a green that sits below. But push the drive right or pull it left and you are in the trees and scrambling.
Pine Valley Golf Club