Simsbury Farms GC (front 9 reviewed Sept., 2009)
Since the inception of Goat-Track.com, we've been torn as to whether or not to include a review of Simsbury Farms on this site. "The Farms" definitely fits in the "usedtobe" category, based on the hardpan conditions that were prevalent every midsummer from its inception through the mid 90's; it fits into the "wannabe" category, too (after the taxpayer-funded, privately-managed restaurant was added several years ago). After Golfer Number Two made a couple of trips to the on-site driving range this spring, with nothing more than a humble hot dog cart nearby, it became obvious that Simsbury Farms deserved some space on the Goat-Track.com site and since it's so close to the GT nerve center, it would be a shame not to include it.
Simsbury Farms may do a lot to deny its Goat Track heritage, with fully-functioning irrigation, an expanded 19th/restaurant, etc., but at its core, it's still a Goat Track to us. Great hilly terrain, apple trees throughout, rabbits that apparently f**k like rabbits (based on their sheer number) all over the course, and a great "double green" on the back 9. How is this not a Goat Track?
The first sign, both literally and figuratively, that you're on the verge of a good Goat Tracking experience is in front of the Apple Barn on the approach to the course.
A couple of highlights from the front 9:
The 5th, the first par-5, is probably the most notable hole on the front 9, in terms of features that Goat Trackers look for/appreciate. Two cedar trees on the middle-right side of the fairway, landing zone material for average drives with a moderate to aggressive "fade;" possibly the Farms' answer to the Eisenhower Tree at Augusta. The brook on the left and pond in front of the green aren't nearly as interesting; equally frustrating though, and they add to the overall Goat Track feel of this hole.
The Frog Rock. Most who've played the front 9 at the Farms have been truly inspired by this unique Track Feature in the right rough on #7 and rightly so. In our case, the "inspiration" hasn't often resulted in executing good golf shots. Oh, well. We're not sure whether the Frog Rock was in the original Geoffrey Cornish course design, but if so, we're more than impressed.
In Summary: We've torn up plenty of turf on this fine course over recent years, yet can recall when one would probably break a wrist trying. On the day of this review, Friar Tuck and Golfer Number Two were slightly annoyed that Course Management didn't have a clue as to when their scramble tournament would be off the course (delaying the far more important round, as far as we were concerned), but we stil give Simsbury Farms out of 4 GT logos, mainly because it has great "Goat Track sensibilities" and despite how good the greens are and how much they've improved the course over the years, the "Frog Rock" tells us that this is still a fine Goat Track.
As far as the review of the back 9 at The Farms goes, Golfer Number Two and Friar Tuck most recently played it 4/23/10, but weren't properly motivated to review it; still letting it sink in before writing the review. We will say though that the "double green" is probably the highlight. Details (and pics) to follow...at some point.