Farmington Woods GC (Avon/Farmington, CT). reviewed Sept., 2010
After looking in from afar for many years, we were finally able to sneak into this gated community to review Farmington Woods GC, under the pretense of being participants in the Catanzaro charity (scramble) golf tournament (sponsored by Catanzaro Quality Meats, for the benefit of the Macular Degeneration Foundation).
Farmington Woods is semi-private, so if you're not a resident of the condos surrounding the course or haven't purchased a membership, the best way to get onto this course is to go through your list of contacts and find someone over 60 or someone who knows someone over 60; chances are good you'll find someone who lives on site that can get you a guest pass.
While milling around the practice green before the round, we were advised that the maintenance staff had recently finished aerating the course and had done a significant amount of work to restore course conditions for fall golf after a tough summer. Unfortunately, based on what we did to the course on this day, it's back to square one for the maintenance folks, who may be working double shifts for the foreseeable future.
One upside of playing Farmington Woods is that, at your next cocktail party, if someone gets all uppity about where they've played recently, you can say that you've played a Desmond Muirhead course (Muirhead worked with Fat Jack (Nicklaus) on the PGA stop known as Muirfield Village; FW was built a few years before Muirfield Village. We've been told that the two courses share some design similarities, which is pretty cool, but it still makes our eyes glaze over just a bit.
We're pretty sure George Costanza would be a fan of Farmington Woods, for reasons completely unrelated to golf. As you may recall, George could name the best public restroom in Manhattan (The Busboy episode, 1991), given a street address, "54th and 6th? Sperry Rand Building; Morgan Apparel, 14th floor. Mention my name and she'll give you the key." He would be most impressed by the facilities behind the 13th green. The mirror was a nice touch. We're still trying to wrap our heads around the need for a mirror in a bathroom in the middle of a golf course. Picking up a date on the 14th tee? Unlikely. Our theory is that it's there so golfers can check facial swelling if they've stepped on a yellowjacket nest on a previous hole. We only bring this to our readers' attention because...if you've gotta go..., it's fairly difficult to avoid a public indecency charge on the course, with so many condos/windows near what may be otherwise considered decent "relief areas." although the trees to the right of the 14th tee box seem to work well for most.
Farmington Woods will never be confused with a "grip it and rip it" layout. The advice given to us by an assistant pro we know there was to "play smart," which was of course greeted by some blank stares.
We certainly don't want to denigrate Farmington Woods, but since we're so experienced at playing and reviewing Goat Tracks, we'd be remiss if we didn't make three observations that reminded us of the Goat Tracking Experience:
Protective fencing: We've all played muni's with fencing either behind a green or near a tee box to keep errant shots at bay, so the wall built to protect the parking spaces near one of the condos about 50 yards up and to the left of the 3rd tee wasn't all that surprising. As one of our errant tee shots screamed over the wall and pinged back off a nearby tree, Rabbit Ears noted, "the wall doesn't help much on the rebound."
Swamp on #15: As Goat Trackers, we appreciate a good schmeg pit when we see it; just wish we saw this one before we launched some "aggressive fades" into the dogleg right. We had no idea there was a pit waiting for them. Best part of this hole was that on the short corner, there was the quintessential Urban Goat Track tree, otherwise known as a telephone pole, with some guy wires to obstruct the approach shot and/or test Track Acumen. There are much easier ways to play this hole, to be sure, but the short corner with the telephone pole is a great "shot shaping opportunity."
Pedestrian Traffic: Farmington Woods is a pretty cool place, with pretty much everything a resident could want within a gated community. including walking paths that traverse the course. The Goat Tracker known as 2Steps (Due Passe, Italian translation) started to yap about people walking through the compound. Golfer Number Two noted that there are similar paths at The Urban Goat Track-South (Goody) and that in our Farmington Woods loop, there was not a single police vehicle to be seen crossing the paths. All good.
In Summary: playing Farmington Woods was a highly anticipated experience and it didn't disappoint. Even though it can never be confused with a Goat Track, it earns a solid out of 4 GT logos on our rating scale. We do, however recommend taking the virtual tour before playing the course, since the course signs and scorecard won't help you out.