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Indian Springs GC (Middlefield), reviewed October, 2008 with input from the Tracker known as Rabbit Ears.

Indian Springs generated some interest on the Goat-Track.com review front mainly for two reasons:  1) the reviewers were keenly aware that courses in central Connecticut had previously been underrepresented on this site and 2) Indian Springs is a 9-hole course, as many of the best Goat Tracks are, as opposed to the 36-hole layout at the Lyman Orchards Golf and Apple Picking Complex across town.

We have nothing bad to say about the Lyman Orchards courses, but Indian Springs seemed to have more to offer from a Goat Tracker's perspective.

Overall, Indian Springs earns a spot on Goat-Track.com not because of its conditions (which are pretty good), but because of its layout and hilly terrain.

Layout:  One thing that we've learned and/or reinforced this year in our Goat Track reviews is that one can tell a lot about a Goat Track from its parking lot.  In this case, the parking lot is on a pretty severe "side hill lie" (read:  "use of parking brake is strongly encouraged to keep your car from rolling") and was a good indication of what to expect on the course.

From the first look out onto the course from the parking lot, it looks like there will be some serious uphill hoofing.  As it turns out, once you make the ascent to the second tee box and check your oxygen tank, you pretty much slalom your way back and forth over the remaining holes back to the bottom.  "Slalom"?  Yes.  Looking west from the second hole, you can see that you're at the same elevation as the upper portion of the Powder Ridge ski area across the way; definitely mountain goat-friendly territory.

Navigation:  We ended up going from the green to the wrong tee box twice, so Indian Hills ranks favorably with other "navigationally challenging" Tracks, such as Stanley GC.

Tee Boxes:  These can probably never pass for prototypical GT tee boxes for three reasons:  1) way too flat, 2) not enough overhanging trees & shade to kill the grass and provide a good hardpan surface (ala Keney & Goodwin), and 3) someone had the crazy idea of making them wide enough so that the markers could be moved around often enough to let golfers hit off of grass on a consistent basis.  What gives?

On the other hand, the one Trackworthy feature of Indian Springs' tee boxes is the front/middle/back markers, which are color coded ten-inch long sections of small tree limbs (probably maple).  This one feature may not be enough to offset the others, but it doesn't hurt.

Fairways:  The most notable aspect of Indian Springs' fairways was that they mirrored the parking lot, with plenty of side hill lies to test one's Track Acumen, especially on the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 8th holes.  Another plus was that it was an adventure trying to figure out where your drive would end up, based on the random slope changes, combined with blind spots from the tee box.  A well-executed drive into the right rough (a typical Tracker drive) on #4, for example, can easily roll downhill across the 2nd fairway, leaving an approach shot far better than could be reasonably expected.  There are ample opportunities for cross-fairway traffic (dodging errant drives), which just adds another element of excitement to a round at Indian Springs.

Greens:  Aerated, puzzling and entertaining.  On the second hole, Rabbit Ears was forced to finish out a 6-putt green, mainly because we just couldn't get enough of how bizarre the rolls were.  Seeing a putt roll up towards the hole, only to roll back farther away from the hole than where it started was hilarious and just as funny the second and third time in a row as it was the first.  One strategy that seemed to work for uphill putts on the third hole was to putt six feet past the hole and let it roll back about five feet for something close to a gimme (depending how generous one's opponent is).  Rabbit Ears called the greens "unfair"; the preferred Tracker term is "entertaining."

There was definitely a speed factor that we as Trackers were unaccustomed to, even with our wealth of Goat Tracking experience.  With all their undulations, some may be inclined to say that the greens at Indian Springs refute the Universal Truth of Goat Track Putting (i.e., "no break on a green at a public course"), but the true believers among us still cling to the idea that you can't believe everything you see.

Bunkers:  Generally too good for the typical Goat Track, i.e. too much sand, etc.  When the greenskeeper is in a bad mood, he probably changes the pin placement on #9 to the front right, just behind the biggest trap we've seen on a course not named Minnechaug.

Water Hazards:  Not much to be concerned about here; just a pond behind the green on the par-3 seventh hole.  The consensus is that water evaporates too quickly at that altitude to allow for ponds on the course.

In summary, despite its well-maintained conditions, Indian Springs is a good course for Trackers looking to mix up their routine a bit, while still enjoying the Goat Tracking experience.  Although some may contend that overcoming the "nuances of Track maintenance" (also called "neglect" in some circles) is at the core of the Goat Tracking experience, Indian Springs still provides ample opportunity to utilize a high degree of Track Acumen and earns a good grade here.