There are times when it’s your turn to step up to the tee box and challenge yourself.
That’s where Gillette Ridge Golf Club in Bloomfield, Ct. comes in. The Arnold Palmer Signature layout separates the golfers, small “g”, from the golfers, large “G”.
When it first opened there were some that said the gently rolling course, which sits on property owned by the Cigna Corporation, was just too tough. Well, that has changed. Sure, there are a few forced carries and enough bunkers around to make you pay for errant tee shots and approaches to the undulating greens. But the course has been, well, let’s say softened a bit by MDM Golf, which manages the club. And don’t you think it about time to test yourself against a really great golf course instead of merely thinking how good you are?
Recent alterations have made the layout more player-friendly, while still retaining its original challenge. The new managers listened to their customers before making the changes. Their ultimate goal was to keep the course demanding based upon its yardage and several forced carries but to make it less penal and create bailout areas where a player could recover.
Bunkers near the green on the 431-yard third hole were removed to allow for run-up shots; bunkers were removed to the rear of the 365-yard par-four sixth hole to make it easier for players to get up and down if they miss the putting surface; and bunkers in front of the 430-yard 10th hole were also taken out.
Bunkers were removed both on the 447-yard par-four ninth to create a chipping area to the left of the green, and to the left front of the 431-yard 16th hole to fashion another chipping area. A large chipping area was constructed to the left rear portion of the 577-yard par-five 17th green to allow players to go for the putting surface in two and not be severely penalized if they miss the target. It is such a better hole because of the change.
The most dramatic alteration was on the 182-yard par-three fourth hole. A new, wider green was constructed and the putting surface pushed away from a steep incline that leads to a wetlands area. Again, the work turned what was a somewhat ridiculous hole into a very good par-three.
The changes have made the course not only more approachable but also speeded up the pace of play.
The club has a great restaurant, with an outside dining area that overlooks the 18th hole, arguably the toughest finishing hole in the state, a pro shop and a comprehensive practice facility.
Gillette Ridge plays 7,191 yards from the tips with three other sets of tees. The conditions are impeccable, with tight and finely manicured fairways that are as good as those at many private clubs and greens that only get better and better with each season.
Gillette Ridge Golf Club