As if you needed extra incentive to sign up for Golfing Magazine’s Free Golf program, what with all the great daily fee and resort courses we have lined up. But we also have some superb private courses you can play if you join.
We have around 130 courses this year in our program, all with no greens fees. To take advantage of this tremendous offer, call 860-563-1633, or visit www.FreeGolf.net.
Let’s take a look at these private courses that are part of our overall comprehensive list for 2021.
A premier addition to our lineup of private courses is The Golf Club
at River Oaks (www.clubriveroaks.com), 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 a great look from an elevated tee.
Farmington Woods Country Club (www.FarmingtonWoods.com) in Farmington, Ct. was designed by renowned American designer Desmond Muirhead, who also crafted the famed Jack Nicklaus Muirfield Village course in Ohio.
The late Muirhead is remembered for his fully integrated course communities like McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale; the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills near Palm Springs, and his six-year partnership with Jack Nicklaus, which produced the aforementioned Muirfield Village.
The layout is unique to the Farmington River Valley area in that there are some dramatic elevation changes in what is usually a rather flat section of Connecticut. The course features ample woods that line many of the fairways and wetlands that, of course, must be cleared or avoided.
Tumble Brook Country Club (www.tumblebrookcc.com )
in Bloomfield, Ct. was named for a brook that flows through the property. It was incorporated and organized in October of 1922 and features 27 holes.
Willie Park, one of the foremost golf course architects of the time, was commissioned to design the first nine. A second nine, designed by Orrin E. Smith, was opened to play in the spring of 1949. The third nine, designed by George Fazio, opened for limited play in the fall of 1970, and was eventually integrated with the rest of the golf course in 1971.
In 2002 the club began a renovation program for the golf course. Mark McCumber and Associates was the architects for the renovations, and in 2005 the course work was completed.
The seventh hole on the “Green Course,” a combination of two of the three nines, is a 440-yard beast where par is an accomplishment for any level of player.
Suffield Country Club (www.suffieldcc.com )Suffield, Ct. is an historic, finely manicured track that is set in a beautiful area. The routing was created by Ian Smyth and is a classic, traditional New England-style course that ambles over the rolling land, and plays only around 3,000 yards for nine holes.
The short distance of the course is offset by tight fairways and small, fast undulating greens. Out-of-bounds borders holes three through six, heavy rough and tall oak trees off the fairways. Only two holes, three and seven, have fairway bunkers.
Holes five and eight do not have any greenside bunkers. No par-five is over 500 yards, and no par-four is over 400 yards. The club’s second hole has been rated as the fourth toughest par-three in the state. It can play as far back as 230 yards.
Cohasse Country Club ( www.cohasse.com )is located less than two miles south from the center of Southbridge, Ma.
The track was designed by Donald Ross in 1916 and plays 3,061 yards with a par of 35. Known for outstanding conditions and greens that roll true, the course is challenging and at the same time fair and rewarding of good shots. The first hole is a tough, 410-yard par-four and the fifth is a great, short par-four that plays 327 yards and doglegs sharply to the left.