Rolling Greens GC, (Rocky Hill) reviewed 11/08
Rolling Greens scores some points on the Goat-Track.com grading scale based on some odd layout quirks and course features, but overall doesn't really qualify as Goat Track material. To give our readers a better feel for the review process, we're presenting it in a "pro" vs. "con" (point/counterpoint) format.
General: 9-hole layout, always something that Goat-Track.com reviewers look for as an indicator of GT potential.
Navigation: When the guy in the pro shop says you'll probably have a tough time finding the next hole at least a time or two, this is the kind of navigational cluster that we expect from the finest Goat Tracks.
Slow, slower, slowest: speed, or lack thereof on the greens, consistent with some of the most well worn Tracks we've played. Re. the practice green, as noted on GOAT TRAQ FAQ, the practice green at a respectable Goat Track should always be the opposite (in one way or another) of what's on the course and in this case, the practice green at Rolling Greens suggests that there will be break on the greens on the course, based on its beveled surface (and true to the rule, it's not a concern on the course).
5th tee box: about 20 feet above the cart path below, with ledge blown out of the front side, providing a majestic launching pad. Best aspect of this tee box is the cement piers across the front of the back tee box, like an old wood post guardrail with cable in between; in this case, each post with five lawn tractor tires stacked around the piers. Awesome.
Water Hazard on #6: big fans of the pond to the left of the green, reeds and cattails in front; a feeder pipe in back. No doubt this is mosquito heaven in midseason.
Bunkers: Inviting. Unfortunately none were fully explored during this round, but they seemed to have some selling points:
General: "Rule #1" as posted on the etiquette/course rules sign outside the pro shop, "no five-somes." Really?!? This flies in the face of the lax enforcement that we look for, appreciate, and occasionally take for granted at a Track and is generally a deal breaker. On the other hand, we were afforded the opportunity by the "pro shop powers that be" to play two balls around the course without retribution; still, it doesn't seem to be enough to overcome "Rule #1."
Condo City: Rolling Greens sets up kind of like a cross between Stashu and Minnechaug. Stashu is within a 7-iron of multiple condo and apartment complexes; Minnechaug is ensconced by a housing subdivision; Rolling Greens combines the two by having multiple condo/apartment complexes running through it, with a housing subdivision thrown in on the 6th ... and that just doesn't provide a good "Goat Tracking feel" at all.
As noted in our "parking lot reviews" of other Tracks played in 2008, we should've known that passing several apartment/condo complexes as we turned left across a four-lane divided road to get to the course would not bode well.
Navigation: not that we were disappointed that we didn't wind up at the wrong tee box during the round, but we were fully prepared based on the heads up from the pro shop. In the end we'd have to say that Rolling Greens wasn't nearly as confusing as advertised.
Slow, slower, slowest: Greens this slow probably shouldn't be his big. We were also disappointed that, given their "speed," the greens at Rolling Greens didn't have any of the "visual entertainment" that we Goat Trackers enjoy while putting on slow greens, such as crabgrass, no grass or, most notably, the mushrooms (fungus among us) as at The Tradition GC in Windsor. Also, we came to think that "Rolling Greens" may be a misnomer; possibly "Grind to a Halt Greens" or "Bump and Run on the Greens" would've been more appropriate.
6th tee box: We as Goat Trackers appreciate funky layouts, but this one seemed to be just ridiculous; a tee box pointing to someone's back yard (so far, so good), but a landing zone that left one on a severe downhill lie unless within 70 yards of the green, (not so good). Looking back.......a tee box so elevated that it couldn't be seen from the landing area. In fairness, it just takes a well-placed 5-iron off the tee to have a reasonable shot at par, but it was still kind of annoying.
In summary, while it was good to play another Geoffrey Cornish course, and Rolling Greens is a decent course at a less than obnoxious price, it's a "tweener" and probably doesn't rank that highly compared to other "tweeners" we've reviewed on the GT site.