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In summary:  We agreed that the back 9 at Hunter GC was more fun to play than the front.  Didn’t take any persuading on anyone’s part.  Same conditions, just more opportunities for things to go incredibly right after screwing up a shot, which we enjoyed.  That said, it’s not enough to lift the GT rating from what it currently is, but it’s a great 9 to play.

Maybe the 19th at Hunter burned down between the time we reviewed the front 9 and the back 9 to provide a decent segue for the GT review of the back 9, but it’s highly unlikely.


“If you start your afternoon getting screwed at one course, then relocate to another, you may not be in a great mood.”  The GoatTrackGolf.com review of the back 9 at Hunter GC, June, 2017.


The prelude:  Rabbit Ears, 2Steps and Golfer Number Two got hosed out of a mid-afternoon tee time at a different course because they didn’t have one.  Tee times weren’t accepted; arrangements were made over the phone; showed up when they were supposed to.  Fair enough.


Time to adapt:  Kudos to the Tracker known as 2Steps for redirecting us on the fly to Hunter GC, where we were assured to get off the box, as long as we showed up on time.  Déjà vu?  All clear with the pro shop guy who green-lighted us over the phone.  The Senior/Troll in the starter shack was much more difficult to persuade.  The pushback was annoying at a minimum.  “Not sure I can send you out.  I have other groups lined up.”


“Are any of them here?”  What an a-hole.  Rabbit Ears and Golfer Number Two were reminded of the customer service rep in the Minecraft episode of South Park as it related to stereotypical (I’m in charge) douchiness.  Recognizing that, through some combination of wit, charm, and thinly-veiled pending anger, we got to enjoy the back 9 at Hunter GC for the first time ever, and we were really excited.


Sure, there was some decompression involved over the first few holes, while we sorted out how much we thought that the golfing gods were working against us on what was meant to be an exceptional afternoon of Tracking, but here’s what we like about the back 9 at Hunter:


In general, the back 9 at Hunter is a more inviting and more interesting layout than the front.  After giving it some thought, remembering crappy shots that we hit on the front, we concurred that there are a lot more shot-making opportunities on the back 9, which we like.


Favorite driving hole on the course, bar none:  #15.  If you’ve played the front, you know that there’s a decision right out of the chute, “clear the brook or lay up” on #1.  No such concerns on #15.  By then, everyone’s loose enough to air it out, or at least loose enough to air out an opinion:


     “How far out is that brook?  Check your app.  I think I can clear it.”


     “No chance in hell you clear it”

     “Care to make it interesting?”

The second favorite driving hole on the back 9 is #18.  If you’re a fan of blasting off #9 at Copper Hill, this fits the “mind’s eye” in a similar way, even though it’s a par-5.  Left to right sloping fairway from an elevated tee, with a slightly elevated green and similar front-right bunker placement, not to get too specific.  Depending on how the tee markers are placed, it’s somewhere between 480 and 490…and who doesn’t want to hammer away at that?

... GT logos out of 4, mainly because it touts itself as a great public course, based on what we’ve recently heard in radio ads.  Mildly annoying, but never disappointing.
In Summary:  We may have caught Hunter GC on a day when the planets were aligned just right for our Tracking Enjoyment…and were thrilled to have done so.  Taking that into consideration, we're nearly embarrassed to only give it only a reasonable rating of...
The GT Value Proposition:  During the Tracking season, Hunter GC may be just another course, not really distinguishing itself. The twilight rate that kicks in an hour and a half before sunset, unless you possibly know the secret handshake, is unimpressive; but any course that would charge us off-season rates on an 80-degree day in March, with decent playing conditions, is generally okay by us.
The 19th:  It’s separated from the pro shop, in a different building, even; so it’s the polar opposite of Airways and Woodstock GC, where the drop step/pivot move can resolve your greens fees and beer issues in one fell swoop.  The first time we were here, we made note of the white tablecloths, which the lunchtime crowd surely appreciated; not exactly the environment sought out by Goat Trackers, but…

As we discovered, the 19th at Hunter GC can be most enjoyable, with its concrete patio and steel railings overlooking the practice green (don’t waste your time inside on a good day, they'll bring a beer to you on the patio if you ask), providing great views ...if you just let them unfold…and allow the stars to align, much like those on the back of the neck of the sundressed 3rd cousin of Rooney Mara, “The Girl with the Butterfly Tattoo,” whom we were fortunate enough to meet.  We could’ve asked whether she had a Dragon Tattoo, but why?  “The Girl with the Butterfly Tattoo” made that question unnecessary.  You never know what kind of self-professed, “open minded” individual you may run into, who may just enhance your 19th hole experience at Hunter GC.  Rest assured, we shared her concerns about yellow-jackets flying up her sun dress on the patio.  How that conversation may or may not have left the rails is unimportant.
Hunter Golf Club, Meriden, (front 9 originally reviewed March, 2012; misc. updates/revisions added May, 2015; back 9 reviewed further down the page)
                                         
What can we possibly say about Hunter GC that hasn’t already been said elsewhere? 
It’s a wonderfully groomed course, people sing its high praises on certain golf sites...  Whatever.

Rabbit Ears and Golfer Number Two originally happened upon this course a few years prior (or at least the clubhouse portion of it), while looking for a different course in the area (which, as we discovered, no longer existed; another story, for another time) and assumed that Hunter GC wasn’t really deserving of a GoatTrackGolf.com review; joining a list including Tunxis, Lyman Orchards, Blackledge and Rockledge.  On the other hand, since Rabbit Ears had played Hunter GC as a member of his high school golf team, before “course improvements” were made, a return trip was in order.

In a nutshell, the front 9 layout at Hunter GC is as much fun as you’d like it to be.  Onto the review...

Do you trust your GPS/golf app and/or starter?  We were told by the starter that it was 200 to carry the brook on #1, center cut, from an elevated tee.  Not a chance.  Golfer Number Two barely cleared it with a decent effort from the tee, which brought all distances and yardage markers into question, but also offered opportunities to tap into one's Inner Tracker, where yardage is something more accurately calculated from your head than from your phone.

The front 9 at Hunter has a bit of “the Tallwood thing” going on over the middle part of it.  Comments from the highly-esteemed (East of the River, and Tallwood authoritah) Tracker known as Ornery Bob came to mind after playing a few holes and helped put it into perspective.  “You’re not o.b., but you can’t go back and forth across the tree lines, which sucks; just pick one way to wail and go with it!.” (paraphrased)

We liked the undulating fairway on #4.  The opportunity to ping a shot (display of Track Acumen) off the stone columns of the old-school lightning shed at the edge of the ravine just made it that much better.  Rabbit Ears did a great job of showing how that structure can keep an otherwise errant shot in play (we'll get a pic of it next time).  Absolute junk/jail to the left of the green.  It's always a good idea to remind anyone you're playing against that he doesn't want to go left on the approach, in a subtle manner, of course.

Bunkers:  Surprisingly smooth and pretty much limited to around the greens, which is fine by us.  There are a few slopes/lips that can prove difficult if you stitch yourself, but all in all, pretty fair.

Water:  Once you get over the brook on #1, it’s all dry sailing on the front 9.

Greens:  Not fair to pass judgment on them this early in the season, but we thought they were in unreasonably good shape.  The septuagenarian we met on the first tee, who served as our tour guide and was very familiar with the course, couldn’t say enough good things about the greens.

There was some intrigue when he described how they’ve always been kept in good shape.  There was some glazing of the eyes when he described that they needed to be cut low because of the type of grass (the name of which didn’t really matter to us).  There may have been a full-on putting coma, when he tried to describe the “subtlety of the breaks.”  As anyone who’s ever read this site knows, trying to refute the “universal truth of putting” just doesn’t work.

A Great "downhill/uphill" par-4 Finishing Hole (on the front).  Similar to one of the classic Simsbury Farms offerings, but with an o.b. right option.  Regardless of whether you're winning or losing your match, there are few things more satisfying on a golf course than letting it rip from an elevated tee on #9.  Even if you're not a huge hitter, it's worth jumping out of your shoes to let the rest of your group see your drive bounce at the low spot and start climbing uphill towards the green, it's a real ego boost.