Glastonbury Hills Country Club, reviewed June, 2012.
Why review a private course that most folks may not get to play? Because it puts information out there and gives Goat-Track.com readers a world view from The Other Side of the Track, as it were, and/or something to strive for.
Glastonbury Hills is a country club in every way, shape and fashion. It’s the only private 18-hole course East of the River in Hartford County and there’s no point in dissecting the course conditions; they’re everything you’d expect from a private country club. That said, we’ll offer the following:
Pace of play: It took us a solid 4 ½ + to close the loop, for those whom grade on this criteria when considering membership opportunities at private courses, but there were mitigating factors. Chief among them were: 1) it was not quite as hot as hell (only mid-90’s), but it was considerably more humid, from what we understand; and 2) a quick refreshment stop or two, combined with letting a twosome play through on #11. Factor those out and, and despite how we butchered the course (only in terms of score; don’t worry, we replaced our divots) we may have been able to achieve a “respectable” 4-hour pace of play, but it’s a close call.
Greens: One great thing about playing GHCC, and there were many, was having the opportunity to play it not too long after playing Oxford Greens GC, i.e. before forgetting what quick greens play like and returning to a fairly heavy dose of Goat Track/muni greens. Ornery Bob muttered something about “unmanageable speed” (paraphrased, without the expletives), but the fact was that we just couldn’t putt for squat. Putts didn’t take PGA tour-ish dives within a foot of the cup (like they did at OGGC), but they were still difficult to sink. Heading into the 18th, the longest putt made all day was a whopping 4 1/2 feet! That was upgraded on 18, when GNT made an eight-footer to save par. Astounding and irrelevant. The point is… that even if you have “proper line,” you better have “proper speed” to match; otherwise you’ll be visiting an overpopulated place called Three-Putt City (or the ‘four-putt slum’ not far away from it). Pin placements were a good mix of “reasonable” and “pain in the ass (otherwise known as ‘challenging’).” Earns a Golf clap. On the minutiae front, one issue that we ran into a lot around the greens (“around the greens” because we didn’t hit many in regulation) was that, because it was so hot, the fringes/aprons in front of the greens were being watered, so putting from the fringe was nearly impossible because of the change in speed going from wet to dry. That, of course, was the least of our problems.
Course Management: Even if you think you’re hitting it pure, don’t let that lull you into thinking that you can bring GHCC to its knees. We respect that the layout keeps even experienced members on their toes. You can’t expect to play this course well from tee to green if you’re in bail & wail or auto-pilot mode, which most Goat Trackers prefer. That approach may lead to a “less than leisurely and enjoyable” golf experience. Before you get sucked into that vortex of golfing negativity, GHCC offers a most ingenious design feature to help you keep your act together after your last bad shot and most recent attempt to make Joe Pesci’s characters in Good Fellas and Casino sound G-rated, which is.…
Flora and Fauna in eastern Connecticut…ahhh…relax… take a deep breath... Both were in abundance and apparently captivating. After part of our foursome was done catching butterflies, or something like that, and the others were encouraged to check out the trout in one of the ponds on the back 9, Big Al had renewed focus, pulled it together briefly, and had a legit shot at eagle on #15, which speaks volumes about how GHCC’s surroundings can be inspiring, no matter how poorly one may be playing. Ahh…nature…
In summary: Although this was a great (many thanks to the host) and not-soon-to-be-repeated Tracking experience, there’s no compelling reason to give GHCC better than a out of 4 GT logo rating (obviously we’re grading GHCC on a different curve, relative to other courses reviewed on the GT site). The amount of whining and bitching from within the foursome on the back 9 seemed to have set the tone for the grade. While it was a miserably hot day and possible, likely even, that we were completely over our skis on this layout, there may have been other factors in play.