GT logos out of 4
Other Notable Track Features
Stonework: We may have to revisit The Skunk to see which course has piled up more rocks, but what we saw at Brooklyn CC was truly impressive. Given the old feel of the Track, Friar Tuck tried to put it into historical context by pointing out that Yankee farmers used to build their stone walls during the winter. A more plausible explanation as to how they were constructed may have something to do with the labor pool at the Brooklyn Correctional Institution just up the road.
The Moonscape: We'd like a few more opportunities to explore the Track Acumen opportunities on #2. This hole slopes downward from left to right, with the rock, lichen, and sand on the left (the moonscape part) offsetting the tree line and stone wall on the right. On his first attempt, Friar Tuck tapped into his Track Acumen and was able to play a shot off the bank and through the runoff channel into a decent approach shot. A great hole to play repeatedly with sunset and bar wagers approaching; it has "trick shot" written all over it.
The 19th, or in this case, the 10th was closed when we left the course, so we can't offer any insights there. We did notice though, that there's a swing set near the clubhouse (don't know how we missed it on the way in) which prompted Friar Tuck to wonder aloud, "do they use the bar as a pilates studio on weekday mornings?"
In all, despite the travel time involved, Brooklyn CC provided an excellent Goat Tracking experience; so much so, that we're inclined to see what it plays like mid summer. For now, we'll give it...
Water Hazards: Field correspondent Dan gave us a heads up as to "one very nasty pond" when he recommended Brooklyn CC to Goat-Track.com back in March. We're assuming he was referring to the one designed to be in play on #9, but if you try hard enough, you can work it in on #5 as well. It was pretty clean on this trip and looked like it had recently been dredged, with piles of gray muck between the edge of the pond and the tree lines on #5 and #9 and numerous muck-covered golf balls in the piles. What made this truly special was the boat (with a Rhode Island registration number) with the stem jutting out of the water near shore that was part of the dredge. Classic. It was so moving that it inspired a couple of variations of Quint's famous "Indianapolis speech" from Jaws. Other than "the pond," there's not much water other than the meandering babbling brook, which added a lot to the Goat Track feel of the course.
1) grass (yes, there was grass) higher than what you'd tee up with anything smaller than a Big Bertha, 2) skunk cabbage (Goat Track staple vegetation) behind the tee box, and 3) in front of the tee box, the best reed-filled marsh we've seen this side of the Terp Track. Absolutely sublime to hear the wind whistling through the reeds while walking past, wondering what kind of mess your approach shot's going to be.
Greens: Pretty much what we were expecting in terms of "speed" and condition. Also, the only places on the course with irrigation, which is old school and didn't go unappreciated. (pictured at right: a well-protected irrigation hook-up near the green on hole #2)
Three putting highlights:
Bunkers: We didn't expect to see many after we saw what appeared to have been two greenside bunkers filled in on #1 ... and we were right. They're few and far between; nearly as few and far between as the rakes, so it pretty much works out. Best features of them: 1) unless you carry your own rake, you're most likely going to be in violation of the "rake sand in traps" club rule, 2) sand retention: with the few shallow bunkers out there, we appreciate having logs, etc. to help keep the sand from washing out from the back side. Well done.
Tee Boxes: Intriguing in their own way, which says a lot based on the sampling we've taken over the years. The best of the bunch was probably #7, which hit the trifecta:
Brooklyn CC was on our list of courses to review in 2008, but got bumped in favor of Willimantic CC late in the Tracking Season. After getting a recommendation from one of our readers back in March, we put Brooklyn at the top of our list of Tracks to review in 2009. We were somewhat concerned that by playing the course in May, combined with the "improvements" noted on the course's website, we wouldn't get to experience truly representative mid season Goat Tracking conditions. Au contraire, mon frere. Once we arrived, it took mere moments to realize that our concerns were completely unfounded and that this was going to be classic old school Goat Tracking.
The Brooklyn Country Club Review
Logistics/Navigation: Unless you live in either Windham or Tolland counties ... or Rhode Island ... it's a haul to get to Brooklyn CC (about an hour from just north of Hartford). The occasionally scenic, but mostly mind numbing, trek along Route 6 (a/k/a "Suicide 6") can either sharpen your focus for the first tee or turn your mind to mush before your clubs are out of the trunk. Slightly numbed by the drive out to the sticks, Golfer Number Two had the Beastie Boys classic "No...Golf...'til Brooklyn!" running through his head for at least half an hour.
As Goat Trackers, we're very much at home playing courses adjacent to farms, built on parts of old farms, etc., but we got a glimpse of something never before experienced on the way to Brooklyn CC. The highlight of the journey, hands down, had to be passing by the alpaca sanctuary (in Hampton, we think; not sure because all the towns start to blend together after you've been on Route 6 a while). Hopefully, there will be an opportunity to stop there on a future trip.
The signage to find the course from Route 6 was good enough for the navigationally-challenged to get near the course. If you're approaching from the west and you've never played Brooklyn before, your chances of missing the main parking lot are at least 50/50, similar to Fenwick and Airways. Commendable. The upside is that you can survey the course from both directions as you drive past it looking for the parking lot.
There were plenty of "Lunch with a View" signs pointing to the clubhouse from all directions to let you know you were in the neighborhood (unfortunately, we didn't get a usable picture of one). If the slogan sounds familiar, it's because it's the same one Kahoots Showgrill & Cafe uses in its radio ads, albeit with a much different type of "view" implied.
Once you pull into the unpaved lot, it all starts to click. This Goat Track is, borrowing a term from Sherpa JB, "a slice of heaven."
Layout: Looked pretty straightforward on the scorecard and we were in good shape through four holes. We did appreciate that there appeared to be a choice of greens to play on #5, which was of course not the case and made for some interesting shot selections. Upon reaching the green, Friar Tuck observed that the old building with the corrugated tin roof behind the green we were supposed to hit could've been well-suited for use as a meth lab, which could explain in part how they can keep the greens fees so low.
Fairways: The most significant aspect to us was that, with few exceptions, the "fairways" and "rough" were pretty much indistinguishable in terms of height and quantity of grass; Keney's or Airways' mid season conditions would be hard-pressed to surpass them. Most Goat Trackers appreciate this because it lends itself to very creative interpretations of "winter rules" and/or "the grass rule."
Brooklyn CC, reviewed May, 2009, with input from esteemed Goat Tracker Friar Tuck