The Front 9
We can understand why the front is the front and the back is the back at SCC. If you check the SCC website and the history of the course, it’s an interesting tale to be sure. As compact, quick, and comfortable as the back 9 is, the front 9 at Southington Country Club is something different entirely…and something you’d rather hoof on the front end of 18, and not after making the turn from the back.
The front 9 at Southington CC is reminiscent of your childhood walk to school, or possibly that of your father, grandfather, great-grandfather, et al. (minus the blinding snow). It may not be uphill both ways, but it sure seems to be. Not to be soft, which we may be, but the front 9 at SCC caught us off guard a bit after playing the back 9. We’ve hoofed many more difficult courses, too many to mention (otherwise, we wouldn’t really be Goat Trackers), yet for some reason, this one was draining when we reached crunch time.
The 6th may be the #1 hdcp. hole, but the 4th is the signature hole, with multiple bridges across the meandering brook, laid out in such a way as to let you easily track down your drive into the left or right rough…or possibly down the middle.
Other Layout Minutiae: We didn’t want to clutter the GT review with this nonsense earlier, but this may be the proper place for it.
Greens: (back 9) a couple of false fronts and a false side or two helped keep it fresh. Expecting them to be cut short and fast would be unreasonable, given the soggy conditions, so we didn’t. (front 9) A couple of elevated greens provided a good mix.
Stonework: We can’t confirm it, but we’re pretty sure that at some point, when SCC was being “improved,” the folks in charge cornered the market on interlocking stone pavers. They’re inescapable; surrounding the walkways to the 1st and 10th tees, retaining walls everywhere, and more... The druids who constructed Stonehenge might have even been impressed by how many rocks were lugged onto this course during its renovation (then again, maybe not).
The retaining wall on the pond at #17 is the crowning paver achievement. Most courses go with a natural bank or railroad ties in a similar spot, not so much at SCC. It looks sharp though… with the fountain.
(A bit of GT advice: Don’t try to play this course, with all of its hard surfaces both inside and out, while wearing old-school metal spikes [like Golfer Number Two did], you have absolutely no shot at being stealthy enough to evade the ”spike police.”)
We can’t criticize SCC for f’ing up the layout after all the “improvements.” Quite the opposite. We’ve seen other Tracks get a bit “excavator happy,” plowing down the depths of their bunkers six feet or so (and burying their Track Charm there), but SCC has stayed true to its roots as far as its layout and that’s something that we greatly appreciate. Apparently, the course management convened and said, “Ya know, we probably shouldn’t screw with this, let’s just maintain it better and make it more enjoyable to play.” They have undoubtedly succeeded on this front.
19th: As Sherpa JB said, “Wow! The bar area is ‘man heaven.’ Ten flat screens displaying sports with an attractive wait staff made me feel right at home.” Right at home, indeed. There’s no doubt that SCC has geared itself up to manage large tournament crowds. Granite everywhere, even beneath your feet (easier to hose down?) and more bar-side real estate than you’d see at anything other than a mammoth sports bar. Impressive, maybe too impressive.
In summary: It was great to play the “new and improved” Southington Country Club after being away from it for so long. SCC is still pretty much all that GNT remembered from eons ago as far as course layout, only in better shape, even though it was soggy on this day. When push comes to shove, we can't be influenced by the "shiny object" known as the 19th and Southington Country Club earns a Goat Track logo rating of...
Kicking things off in the Pro Shop: Actually, on second thought, let’s start in the parking lot; you won’t be getting out of the pro shop quickly anyway. We’ve seen plenty of “No Drinking in the Parking Lot” signs in our travels, but one nailed to the proverbial white picket fence, well that just struck Golfer Number Two as extra special.
...out of 4; just not comfortable giving it more. A fun course to play that’s probably in even better shape when it’s not trying to drain off a foot or so of rainfall, but too much window dressing to earn it a higher ranking on the GT scale.
Moving on to the Pro Shop: We’re all in favor of using “improved technology” and whatnot and we appreciate the valuable information it provides, even on a golf course, but we do vaguely recall a time when one could walk into the pro shop, hand over some cash money (kind of like how Randy Moss would do it) to the person working the register, get a receipt, and be cut loose to meet the starter holding a hole punch within 30 seconds, if that. Based on our experience, SCC hasn’t quite tackled this issue yet with its “new and improved” technology that logs in group size, tee times, cart usage, potential carbon footprint, etc. The new SCC is light years away from the one we last visited, where you could walk into the pro shop, pay for 9 walking, and request a sleeve of Titleists while ordering a shot of top shelf tequila from the same person behind the counter. The jury’s still out as to whether this is progress.
Commencing "The Tale of Two Nines":
The Back 9
We were instructed to start our loop on the back 9, which provides the best views of what we like to call “Cell Tower Village,” located on the nearby East Peak and West Peak of The Hanging Hills that rise above the area near the course (and have more history than we were aware of). After taking time to soak in the scenic views, the back 9 is an easy stroll. Flat, short, and laid out with tee box locations mere steps away from the previous green; it provides great “economy of effort” and since we were hoofin’ 18 on this day (no carts allowed), it was greatly appreciated.
The back 9 at SCC is a fun layout, with two par-5’s under 500 yards that get you kind of amped up to hammer away, while also offering plenty of scoring opportunities on the short par 4’s. The most exciting part of the back 9 though, has to be the time you spend standing on the 18th tee box as a sitting duck…about 25 yards from the par-3 17th green that, when it plays long, sends a lot of errant shots onto the 18th tee. Not unfamiliar territory for us; still exciting though.
Southington Country Club, a/k/a “A Tale of Two Nines”(reviewed September, 2011)
SCC is tucked away into a corner of Southington, one that many folks may not even recognize as part of Southington proper, yet one that has been squarely on the GT Radar for quite some time. Equally accessible from downtown Southington and points east via I-84 or from Cheshire and points south via I-691, Southington Country Club is more than approachable, both in terms of navigation and layout.