A premier addition to our lineup of private courses is The Golf Club
at River Oaks, located on the Sherman/New Milford town line in western
River Oaks has a number of holes on its back nine that
hug the Housatonic River, which is visible through the trees in late
autumn or early spring. The look from the tee box on the par-four
dogleg left ninth hole reminds one of playing golf in northern New
England rather than Connecticut. Many consider this to be one of the
top two or three courses in the state. PGA star Phil Mickelson was
said to have called it a superb layout when he visited.
Robert McNeil designed the course that opened in 2003, and he built
into it challenge and fairness. The fairways are rather generous on
the par-fives and longer par-fours and tighter and strewn with fairway
bunkers on several of the shorter par-fours. The greens are fairly
large and kept on the fast side. The rough is manageable and the
greenside bunkers challenging yet not unfair.
While the course is no push-over, it is eminently playable for any
golfer, as long as you tee it up from the proper markers. The tips
play 6,730 yards with a slope of 138 and a course rating of 73.8. The
layout plays to a par of 71 and has five par-threes, which cut into
the overall length, so don’t be fooled into thinking even the white
markers, around 6,100 yards, are easy. They are not, even for the
The finishing holes at River Oaks are all very good, which adds to the
satisfaction of playing the course. A well-designed golf course should
always reach a stirring climax and River Oaks does that. After a nice
par-three in the woods at 15 there’s a short par-five (503 from the
tips) that can be reached in two by the big hitters, and then comes
the course’s signature hole in my estimation, the 210-yard par-three
17th that plays across a pond to a narrow green. It’s also a visually
pleasing hole, one where you want to linger and drink in the beauty of
the course and the task ahead of you. The 18th is solid, a double
dogleg par-five that demands a lusty drive, a well-placed layup and a
short iron into a large green that is protected by bunkers.
The Golf Club at River Oaks is definitely a must play.