Top 10 local golf courses...By John Torsiello.
After a summer of golf I’m here to give you my Top 10 Courses You Can Play.
I’ve kept my selections to within a 45-minute drive of the Greater Torrington area, although I know a lot of you will spend two hours or more in a car to play a special track. But these nuggets will keep any golfer happy for at least a month’s worth of road trips. And of course a few are right around the corner for some of you.
So, without further adieu here are my Top 10 You Can Play in the Grater Torrington area for 2012. Remember, these are my favorite courses and many will have differing views.
Number 10: Canaan Country Club, Canaan
Yeah I know it’s only a nine-hole course, but the new owners have done a nice job improving the conditions of the layout and it’s fun for all levels of players. Plus it’s really pretty in the fall when the trees along the Housatonic River come alive with color.
Number Nine: Stonybrook Golf Course, Litchfield
This little nine-holer is always in good shape and it’s a real challenge for even the best players. I’m not a big fan of hillside golf with its often uneven lies, but there are several really good holes here including the first, which is one of the toughest par-fives in the state.
Number Eight: Crestbrook Park Golf Course, Watertown
The front nine gets a high rating for the diversity of holes and challenge with the back nine one of my least favorite sides. The greens on several holes are quite silly and the ninth hole should be blown up. From the white tees it’s about a 270-yard tee shot to leave yourself an unfettered approach to the green. Most times you are left with a shot that has to go over a massive tree that sits at the corner of this “dogleg” left. But the conditions are good and most holes are fun to play.
Number Seven: Green Woods Country Club, Winsted
Green Woods would be rated higher if it was 18 not nine holes. But it’s a very good course that plays tougher than it would appear at first glance of the scorecard. Actually, Greenwoods is 10 holes, with the fifth hole playing as a par-five the second time around. And it’s really a very good, double dogleg par-five. The conditions this year were very solid and head pro Scot Mattiello is a welcoming sort.
Number Six: Blue Fox Run Golf Course, Avon
I like Blue Fox a lot, while others don’t. It’s an easy course to walk and hardly ever takes driver out of your hands, which is one of the main criticisms against it. A new nine holes added a few years back made the facility 27 and the change made a good course only better. Conditions were fabulous this season.
Number Five: Fairview Farm Golf Course, Harwinton
No cars, no houses, just golf holes, trees and barns. You can find solitude here and owner Bob Ferrarotti works hard at always improving his club. The holes are all different but first-timers are at a disadvantage when trying to figure out what club to hit off the tees. The greens are tough to read but that’s part of the fun. A drawback is that the course is difficult to walk.
Number Four: Gillette Ridge Golf Club, Bloomfield
This is a course not for the timid. There are a number of forced carries and high-handicappers can lose a dozen golf balls trying to navigate the track. But good players like Gillette for just that reason. It makes you a better player when you stand with a seven-iron in hand and are faced with having to cross a ravine and find a green surrounded by deep bunkers. A few of the holes, like the par-four 16th, are just too darn hard despite the best intentions of ownership at softening the layout.
Number Three: Rockledge Country Club, West Hartford
Rockledge isn’t a great golf course but it is very good and very easy to walk. The conditions (I’m big on conditioning) are always top notch and it’s a layout that won’t beat you up, although there are a number of holes where you have to think your way through. In the springtime and summer it’s like playing in a park, with flowering trees and shrubs lining some of the holes.
Number Two: The Golf Club at Oxford Greens, Oxford
Mark Mungeam designs really good public golf courses and Oxford Greens is one of them. There are few forced carries, which makes it playable for golfers of all abilities. The conditions were nice when I looped here a few weeks ago and there are some fun holes, like the short, par-four sixth where you can reach the green with driver. The greens are very difficult and were running too fast for a daily fee course when I played.
Number One: Wintonbury Hills Golf Course, Bloomfield
Okay, this is what a top shelf daily fee layout should be: Approachable for all players but tough enough from the tips to keep scratch golfers interested, well-conditioned, interesting, great views and affordable. It’s Pete Dye’s only design in New England and he did a super job weaving the course over the rolling hills of a former dairy farm. Even on a bad day Wintonbury is enjoyable to play.
If you haven’t played any of these great courses there is still time before the snow flies. What are you waiting for?
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