Finding a flat lie at Vineyard Valley Golf Club is a lot like sinking a hole-in-one: it's rare. The course resides atop land that used to be a vineyard, creating a layout that is undulating with constant elevation changes. Along with a relentless breeze, the course's hilly quirks make the 9-hole, 3,000-yard layout far more difficult than it initially appears. After testing their mettle on the first eight holes?which include views of a castle between the sixth green and seventh tee?golfers encounter a final hole that course designer Gus Loos viewed as Eastern Connecticut's version of the famed island green of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. This hole plays anywhere from 120 to 160 yards, and a watery marsh swallows up shots that fall short of the green.
Despite its seemingly short length of 2,668 yards from the back tees, Minnechaug Golf Course keeps rounds interesting by packing a cornocopia of hazards into a 9-hole layout. Players confront an onslaught of elevation changes, dogleg turns, and trees that won’t respond to verbal commands throughout the par 35 course. And the degree of difficultry truly ramps up on the par 3 eighth, which invites players to unsheathe their 9-iron or pitching wedge, take stock of the prevailing winds, and send tee shots flying toward an island green that rests on the other side of a 126-yard water hazard.
A recreational destination since Devereax Emmet and Alfred M. Tull sculpted it into the East Hartford countryside in 1930, Long Hill Country Club’s 18-hole course unfurls 6,014 yards of manicured fairways and greens. Mature trees form a path along the par 70, impeding golf balls that stray to the rough in a short-sighted search for a soft landing. The course features three tee options to appeal to golfers of all abilities.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Length of 6,014 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 68.1 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 115 from the farthest tees * Three tee options * Scorecard
Called America's Best New Public Course Under $75 in 2006 by Golf Digest, King Carter’s course of scenic fairways and championship tees challenges ball-smackers of every strength. Up to two golfers can club through King Carter’s par 71 greenery (up to $49 value each), which features up to 6,818 yards of majestic vineyard views. King Carter’s Old World–inspired course design invites golfers with its natural woods, glistening streams, dramatic contours, and sand traps hosting life-size dioramas of The Iliad. Game-day golfers will also receive two small buckets of range balls (a $3 value each) to practice at King Carter’s 20 station tees and short-game area, plus a cart for cruising the fairways. After swinging their way across the well-tended turf, metal-rod-wielders can mend fatigued physiques with a meal fit for a summer camper: chips, a bottle of soda, and a choice of a hot dog, hamburger, or cheeseburger (an $8 value).
Rolling Greens Golf Club unfurls across undulating hills, its fairways surrounded by trees and covered in a lush pelt of blue grass. The 9-hole club opened for play in 1973, and over the ensuing decades players have enjoyed blasting drives down narrow clearings and sprinkling approach shots down upon its generous, multi-tiered greens. After finishing a 9-hole round or playing the course twice over for a full 18, players can gather around a table at Casa Mia On The Green for casual Italian cuisine?ideal for players who can only accurately illustrate their driver slices with a spaghetti noodle.
Course at a Glance: * 9-hole, par 35 course * Total length of 3,066 yards from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * View the scorecard
A Hartford community staple since it was sculpted around the 1930s, Goodwin Park Golf Course peppers the countryside with 27 holes of various challenges. The main 18-hole, 6,015 yard course weaves among trees and gentle hills, offering three sets of tees for different handicaps, while a shorter 9-hole executive layout lets golfers squeeze in a round before their magic driver turns back into a useless tent pole.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 70 course * Length of 6,015 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 68.6 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 119 from the farthest tees * Three tee options * Scorecard