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Hawk's Landing CC, Southington CT (back 9 reviewed 5/08, front 9 reviewed 7/08)
This course got a couple of mentions as a potential Goat Track, or at least a "course of interest", so we decided to find out for ourselves.  Fortunately, the Tracker known as "Rabbit Ears" was alongside to help put things into perspective.

Brief History:  According to Rabbit Ears,
Hawk's Landing Country Club was known as Pattonwood GC until at least the late 1990's, when it was a quasi-executive par 61 18-hole course with quintessential Tracking conditions and was a great place for a quick weekend round.  Kind of an odd location, in that you wind your way uphill and away from the main drag in Southington (Route 10) to what seems like another planet, sort of.

Despite efforts to "upgrade" this course from its previous Goat Track status, when it was Pattonwood GC, Hawk's Landing CC earned the honor of being named "2008 Goat Track of the Year."

General Layout:
The layout was stretched out from its original format and a couple of new holes (13 & 14) were added at the outer edge to make it a regulation course.  If one pays close enough attention to the layout, he can catch glimpses of its Goat Track origins.  (Note/Tracking advisory re. 13 & 14, if the weather looks like it's turning and T-Storms will roll in, this part of the course probably won't make your short list of places you want to be)

Compared to other courses we've played (Stanley, Westwoods, Okemo) there was minimal navigational difficulty in finding the next tee and no need to ask the group in front of us to leave a trail of bread crumbs or empty beer cans.  Two thumbs up.

How can you not have fun on a course where, over the first two holes on the back 9, you can hit your ball into yards with a pool and a trampoline, respectively?  This was a good sign, although our reluctance to get arrested for trespassing limited our willingness to take full advantage of HLCC's surroundings.

While this former Goat Track may have been "upgraded", they didn't go overboard, which made for an enjoyable golfing/Tracking experience.

A unique par 36 layout on the back, with 3 par3's and 3 par 5's.  Bonus points awarded for mixing it up a bit.  (front 9 has 3 par 3's and 1 par 5, truer to the course's original layout).

Course FeaturesConditions, front 9:
As noted on the review of the back 9, the expectation here was that the front 9 at Hawk's Landing  would play more like an overextenced executive course than the back 9.  While this may be sort of true, it doesn't diminish how much fun it is to play; not by a long shot.

Three of the five par 4's on the front 9 are less than 300 yards and are just an accident waiting to happen, or a scoring oppoortunity, depending how you look at it.

Tee Boxes:  We were caught completely off guard here; they were a lot more level than those on the back 9.  Nice job of mixing it up.  Stone yardage markers take out the guesswork.

Greens:  This is a great course to play right after one has played a certified Goat Track, i.e., you will be long on every putt for the first 3 holes until you've made the speed adjustment (you should know better than to make a "break adjustment".  Tracker Dave is still trying to figure this out.
Water Hazards:  Mainly centered on a brook that traverses several holes, which was dry and somewhat playable on this trip.  One would have to go back to the source of the brook to find even the smallest amount of algae.  Very untracklike.

Finishing hole:  Sand, water, trees, uphill; what else could you want from a par-3 finishing hole?  Definitely provides incentive to save your mulligan, if you play those rules in match play.  Two thumbs up.

Update on the 19th:  Tracker Dave and I have concluded that Hawk's Landing has the deepest "talent pool" of BCC/waitstaff of any course we've played recently.  Two thumbs up.

Course Features/Conditions, back 9:

 Tee Boxes:  Something of an eye opener, even to a seasoned Tracker accustomed to the tee boxes at the UGT's (Keney and Goodwin).  More grass on most of them than we're accustomed to, which is fine, but in terms of contours, the best way to describe them is to compare them to a waterbed that someone had just jumped on, flash frozen, and turned into a Chia-pet.  Somewhat challenging to find a lie where the ball's not below your feet, on a downhill lie, etc.  Kudos for adding that subtle challenge to the course!  This is definitely something that a Tracker can take advantage of when playing against less experienced opponents.

Fairways:  Since this is an "upgraded Track" the fairways were in far better condition than we're used to and, with the exceptions of the undulating fairways on 13, 14, and 17 (which were reminiscent of Okemo...and come to think of it, an exaggeration of the slopes on the tee boxes) they were perfectly playable.

Greens:  A lot quicker than we've been accustomed to so far this year (but not quick enough for Rabbit Ears not to leave his 3-foot putt to halve the match on 18 short of the hole).

No real "turtlebacks", a lot of fringe on the backside of some, fair amount of slope, good two-toned grass on some; all in all, pretty fair and puttable.

Rough:  For the most part, goes back to the course's Track roots, just spotty enough to allow enforcement of "the grass rule" on several holes.  This was greatly appreciated, mainly as a reminder that we hadn't left our comfort zone altogether (especially on 13 & 14)

Bunkers:  Apparently, part of the remodeling/redesign included cutting some pretty serious lips in some of the bunkers and putting sand in them, very un-Tracklike.  Rule of thumb:  if you can see a goose's footprints in a trap, there's way too much sand in it for it to be a Goat Track sand trap.

Best Holes:  The par 5's are more challenging than they appear, despite the short yardage.  Some features of two of them....
15th:  You can talk as much smack as you want to on the tee box at 15 without much fear of immediate retribution.  Why?  Because if anyone gives you any shit on the green, you won't be able to hear it.  Absolutely great how the traffic noise from I-84 nearby drowns out a whole lotta yappin'.
17th:  Another reminder that we were somewhere that used to be a Goat Track.  A great L-shaped water hazard...that wasn't green with algae.  Bonus feature on this hole is the tree situated 70 or so yards in front of the green, reminiscent of the cedar tree that guards the green on #3 at Del Boca Vista, only more imposing.

The alternating par-5/par-3 layout over the last four holes makes this course a lot of fun to play and must be press/dollar Nassau heaven.

Starter:  Helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly (a completely different vibe than one gets after trudging to/from the starter's shack at Tunxis, for example)

BCC:  One of the most diligent we've seen (details on the BCC page).

19th:  Minor points deducted because the patio is on the wrong side of the clubhouse, but it all seemed to work out; plus there's a flat screen television outside, which although it's a lot more upscale than Trackers are used to, is a nice feature.

Only minor complaint:  Whoever striped the (paved section of the) parking lot should be slapped upside the head.  Unless the expectation was that the lot would be full of golf carts and/or Mini Coopers (which it's not), something went awry in the planning process.  Head towards the gravel section of the lot if you want a better shot at not seeing new dings in your doors when you leave.

All in all, Hawk's Landing is a good change of pace from the usual treks around the Track.