In summation: Even if you need to maneuver from suburbia through the WestFarms Mall/Corbins Corner/Target/Costco traffic cluster on New Britain Avenue to get there, Stashu Red is easily accessible and well worth the effort. It’s even more easily accessible (as in no more than 30 seconds away) from exits on I-84 and Route 9. A great spot that generates a lot of course traffic. Go figure. Don’t expect to get discounted greens fees here unless you’re prepared to tee off after dark.
Even though Golfer Number Two still holds a grudge against the rest of the course, even he can’t dump on The New Stashu Red. It's the first course to earn a...
The new layout measures 3,052 yards from the blue tees (2,864 from white); featuring 6 par 4's, 2 par-3's, and one par-5. They may have lost some yardage on this new par-35 layout (compared to the old red 9 layout pictured at right), but they didn't lose any of the fun. The par-4's are mostly 350-ish in length; not too tricked up with fairway bunkers, but with just enough to possibly keep your urge to bail and wail in check, unless you're a shot-shaping Picasso from the tee. The #1 handicap hole is #6, a 424-yard uphill par-4, so it's not sledge and wedge all day.
Part of what we like about the new layout. Some may say that Stashu Red isn’t an easy layout to hoof while carrying a bag because there are some pronounced elevation changes, but we’ll choose the short hoof uphill to the next tee box over the quarter mile green-to-tee cart path navigational cluster that Stashu White and Blue are famous for any day. You get a mix of old (holes 1, 6, 8 and 9) and new (holes 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7). Original stonework that props up the elevated tee box on #8 was kept in tact. We like that.
The signature hole is #7, the par-5. Pro's tip: hitting driver off this tee may put you in either a parking lot or a pond, so pull a fairway wood or long iron and aim to the corner of the Costco. Your ball will run down the incline and be well-positioned in front of the pond, 220 or so out from the putting surface. It's a long 220 because it's up a steep hill, so just hit the same club you hit off the tee and you'll be pitching on with your third shot to a large, flat green, well-positioned for an easy two-putt for par, if you're willing to settle for that.
The Stanley Red Course Experience: Of course we don’t expect it to last long, but there’s something really enjoyable about playing a new course with a good layout that has that “new course smell,” or maybe that’s just fertilizer. We spend plenty of time on layouts nearly as old as the dirt on which they sit; Stashu Red is a good change of pace. Speaking of pace…of play, we probably shouldn’t let the cat out of the bag, because it may ruin it for us on our next trip, but when the starter said, “no one has teed off on Red for about an hour,” we couldn’t get to #1 Red fast enough. Pace of play didn’t disappoint. A++. If you have some common sense and “know your muni’s,” you should be able to pick a good time to enjoy the same exceptional pace of play that we did. Blasting through a course that’s this fun to play, as quickly as we did, just makes it that much more enjoyable.
...2 and 3/4 GT logos out of 4 rating.
“When a Costco Drops From the Sky onto a Golf Course” - A review of the newly-redesigned Red 9 at Stanley GC, located in Hard Hittin’ New Britain, Connecticut
Originally Reviewed by Sherpa JB, August, 2015; revisited October, 2015.
Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Well… planning is what the New Britain town leaders did when they struck a deal with Costco in 2013 and approved the zoning required to drop the Big Box Store on Stanley Golf Course. While negotiating tax incentives, hiring practices, entrance routes, and a lot of other bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, the town leaders also cut a deal to have Costco engage an architect to absorb all construction costs to redesign the Red 9. The New Red 9 opened for play on August 20th, 2015. Your faithful correspondent played it on August 28th. Sorry for my procrastination.