...out of 4 GT logos
Cedar Ridge GC, East Lyme, Connecticut. Reviewed October, 2012. (pics will be re-added soon; they got lost in the "conversion shuffle")
It’s been a while since we reviewed an Executive Course and Cedar Ridge was in the right place at the right time.
Cedar Ridge was a highly-recommended, last-minute course selection (by the Tracker known as as Rabbit Ears), based on the possibility of (more) inclement weather that could’ve prevented us from pursuing other (chowdah) Tracking options in Westerly, Rhode Island (Winnapuag CC; don't worry, we eventually reviewed it, check for yourself). We’ve always found that it’s easier to speed things up and/or get outta Dodge on an Executive Course than it is to seek cover and/or bail on a longer layout. That mindset provided an opportunity to take advantage of most of what Cedar Ridge had to offer.
On the approach to CRGC
Parking lot: There is none and that is classic, from a truly old school GT perspective. GNT should’ve given this some consideration after he found a yellow Top Flite two feet from his front bumper after he pulled in curbside to #18, but no.
After quickly scanning the roadside parking and cart corral… and doing some quick math, GNT figured that Cedar Ridge may well have more cart than car parking capacity. To some, that may speak volumes about CRGC’s target golfing demographic.
There's a temptation here to split hairs, but that's not what we do at GoatTrackGolf.com; however, for the true course design aficionado, we can offer the following...
CRGC is definitely the most expansive Executive Course we’ve encountered in our travels. Great changes in elevation to make things interesting. Enough open space to work in a few dogleg par 4’s and convert the Executive layout into a par-30 on each side, but they didn’t. We respect that, sort of.
Precariously situated/insurance deductible/glass coverage:
Re. club selection on #9; the folks at CRGC are kind enough to post signs that read (slight interpretation) “you broke it, you bought it.” The concern of anyone owning a car parked near the 9th green shouldn’t be the shot from the tee, it should be the blind chip shot that gets skulled from below the right side of the green, near the “cement pond,” which should be out of play, but oddly enough, tends not to be. It takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude or blind optimism to park one’s car in one of those spots while waiting for a skulled chip spot to meet one's windshield.
There are some beefy par 3’s on the back 9; five of them are longer than the longest (191 from the marker) on the front. It’s a very unbalanced layout. On the other hand, it provides the “expert executive course player,” if there is such a thing, an opportunity to display his Track Acumen on the long par-3’s. In our humble opinion, it’s a waste of time and a layout gone awry. Great cocktail conversation though, if you can make a birdie on one of those improbable opportunities.
Signage: We always enjoy being able to find the next hole with minimal effort. Cedar Ridge only managed to turn that process into a minor cluster on a few occasions. There are no tee box signs; just look for the nearest sand/seed bucket, or as pictured below left, the nearest sign that has been uprooted and placed underneath a tree. If you’re in touch with your Inner Sherpa, it should all work out fine; it’s only an Executive Course after all. How lost can you get?
Conjoined tee boxes: Really a brilliant feature, from a course maintenance perspective. Combining 1 & 10 and 11 & 18 cuts down on maintenance time/effort and can’t help but keep the greens fees manageable. On the other hand, if the course is backed up, you may be forced into the unenviable position of talking to annoying people whom you can’t hit into later, which really takes the fun out of it.
Greens: Sandboxes, some said. Those whom should know better offered, “difficult speed adjustment.” They looked so good, but were so f’ing slow. We respected the aeration, fertilization, etc. Our hope is that they’re not this slow during the summer.
What we are sure of is that these are not the cookie-cutter or postage-stamp greens one may be accustomed to at an executive course. Hell no. We appreciated the variety. Great greens on a small course.
19th: Take note that when you see the Coke vending machine in front of the pro shop on your way to pay your greens fees, that’s your 1st, 10th, and 19th refreshment stop. This is golf; not an all-inclusive cruise. Move on. If that sets you off, then CRGC is obviously not your kind of course.
In summary: If you can find your way to it, Cedar Ridge is a great find. We are of course partial to Del Boca Vista as our favorite short (par-30) course, but we put Cedar Ridge in the same category. It’s not shoehorned in like most Executive Courses and is fun to play, at least until the 200+ yard par 3’s on the back 9 start kicking your ass. It’s a true Nugget of Goat Tracking Goodness that earns a respectable....