...out of 4 GT logos
19th: We sort of slacked off on this part of the review on our first pass in July; initial reports were that it might not have been CCW’s best feature. They set up tents for golf outings, weddings, etc. and we’re sure it’s all good, but since we rarely make it to the greater New Haven area for golf, our preference was to take the 15 or so minute jaunt/crawl through downtown New Haven to reach Pizza Mecca: Pepe’s or Sallie’s. Depending on your timing, you can stand in line at either one…up the street…around the block…or out to Interstate-95, but you have a better chance of stuffing your face with the world’s best pizza (or ‘tomato pie,’ as they call it) before you pass out from starvation, if you opt for Pepe’s. It seems that if you go to Sallie’s, you’re just trying to prove a point by standing in line; possibly the lowest form of performance art, as far as we know.
What we learned on our October return trip to the complex at CCW's 19th was that the lower floor of the clubhouse is a lot like walking through a hotel after you get off the elevator; narrow hallway, low ceiling, doors everywhere left and right. One of those doors is for the "massage room." Even though CCW is pretty close to Lawn Gisland, we're fairly certain that it's not of the Tam O'Shanter Club persuasion, but worth noting.
In Summary: We found the The Country Club of Woodbridge to be a “smorgasbord of golf,” i.e. something for every taste, or in this case, every kind of shot you have in your bag. Not too much of any one thing, but just enough of everything to make it a blast to play. We didn’t know what to expect, but even if we had set the bar higher, it still would’ve been an exceptional experience. This course found a few new fans today. Maybe we’d have thought differently about it, or not even played it, had we not been assisted by golfnow.com, but we were. If you can catch a tee time at CCW at a discounted rate, you’d be a fool to pass it up. Regardless, it’s not overpriced and provides a great Tracking Experience. If you have a standing tee time at Yale CC, well… we’re just surprised that you read this review.
The Country Club of Woodbridge earns a rock solid and understated...
Greens: All agreed that they rolled well, had good speed, and were both fair and challenging; not enough to piss you off entirely after having multiple three-footers dart away from the hole (see Oxford Greens review).
Water: not making note of it because it really doesn’t matter or come into play most of the time, yet Wink thought it important to demonstrate that the brook on #7 is indeed playable, provided you have the proper Track Acumen. On a subsequent trip, we discovered that the brook on #7 is in play from the tee if you hammer your drive without losing distance on a slice (a/k/a "aggressive fade").
Bunkers: Since we don’t spend nearly enough time in the fairway, we appreciate that CCW pays attention to the maintenance of its bunkers, even if they’re nearly gravelly enough to be of Goat Track quality. They’re generally pretty shallow and harmless, but… the cut edges were impressive; we saw paint lines of demarcation on one of the traps on the back 9 and gave it 2 thumbs up. No slobbing around in high grass around a lip that no one can slash through, even with a weedwacker. Many thanks. The greenside bunker with the steps on #13 was the exception to the “harmless” rule. If it’s possible to be fans of such old school bunkers, we were. Only wish we could’ve hit into more of ‘em. Or not.
On the back of the scorecard, it doesn’t look so bad; a few conjoined tee boxes add to the confusion; not quite the same “forced march” we’re familiar with from other old layouts, but at some point, you just put it all behind you and “Track in the moment.”
Onto the Positive...
Hole #3: We probably should’ve realized it sooner, but the tee box on #3 was precisely when and where we knew that CCW was our kind of place. We weren’t thinking about Stimpmeters, length of rough, grass mix, etc.; they were completely irrelevant. While we were waiting to hit from the 3rd tee, it all became clear why we wouldn’t be able to do anything other than fully enjoy the CCW experience. In one fell swoop, we were offered a majestic view from a high perch, had the BCC stop to ask if we wanted anything…after one of us inadvertently twitched while she was about to drive by…we’re not used to anyone being that attentive; and most importantly, we got to converse with two 90-year old guys (we originally thought they were only 80-ish) ahead of us who were out there bangin’ it around. A life-affirming experience. Nothing short of spectacular.
When the ranger caught up to us a few minutes later, which was easy to do because we hadn’t moved, he was also a big fan. “They’re 90 and they can still play. I didn’t mind so much that they accidentally drove the cart onto the green. They meant well, they can’t walk too much, but they still play at a good pace. God Bless ‘em!” It was a truly moving experience. We were both respectful and inspired.
Other course layout highlights/minuitiae:
#1: “Did you get a picture of this? It looks like a bowling alley!” (looking back from the green; a pic doesn't do it justice)
#7: Great side hill lies on the fairway
#17: We particularly liked the layout on this par-3, mainly because we all hit the green. If you miss it, this is the par-3 that puts you in deep guano more than the others, although #13 also presents an excellent opportunity to go over and back…and forth…and possibly back again, starting from a greenside bunker.
The Country Club of Woodbridge. 2012 Track of the Year. New Haven, Connecticut (designed in 1938; Established in 1948, from what we could gather). Reviewed July, 2012 (that much, we are sure of. Other "insights" offered following our return trip October, 2012).
The quest for Maximum Tracking Value continues…and golfnow.com (golfwhen??? GolfNow!!!) proved helpful in guiding us to this nugget of Old School Tracking Goodness in the greater New Haven area, which we don’t often frequent.
The Country Club of Woodbridge was possibly within catapult range across the Merritt Parkway from the inaccessibly private Yale GC and provided us a great opportunity to thumb our noses at that exclusivity while enjoying a truly wonderful Tracking Experience. We’ve played with people whom have played the yale course and they don’t exactly describe it in the same glowing terms that we reserve for The Country Club of Woodbridge.
We thought the pros far outweighed the cons. Some general thoughts:
Let’s start negative and close strong on the positive front…
Layout: We’d never do a disservice to The CC of Woodbridge by comparing it to Stanley GC (a/k/a “Stashu”), where the layout has been reworked enough times to make your head spin, but there are some uncanny “Hansel and Gretel…find the bread crumb (or beer can) trail” similarities. Caddies at CCW would’ve gone ballistic if they had to hoof the current layout configuration 50 years ago, before there were carts. A cart is highly recommended.
Sign posts reminiscent of MASH: We were surprised that the layout didn’t make Wink’s GPS explode. At some point, finding the next tee box became kind of an adventure. Generally that would piss us off, but we were enjoying the course far too much to let that happen.