The only gripe we had about the layout, other than the par-3 right out of the chute, was the hoofing and minor navigational cluster that follows the 6th hole. We've experienced far worse, not a major concern here.
Tracking Conditions: For anyone who whines about the bugs at the GT or a similarly swampy Track and whips out a spray bottle of OFF, all we can say is that a can of bug repellent isn’t likely to do you much good at The Tater. We didn’t see any small rodents being carried off by the early season deerflies and even larger flying insects hovering and zooming around, but from what we gathered, if you’ve played The Tater and at some point the locusts come, you’re probably more prepared than most.
19th: If your round didn’t meet your expectations, no matter how poorly you may have played, if you can’t relax here, it probably isn’t in you. Seek help. One of the most enjoyable 19th’s we’ve run across. Splendiferous. Maybe even sublime. The bar area and staff are above average, offering some local micro-brews you may not find elsewhere; the deck, with its scenic vistas, is outstanding.
In Summary: Sometimes, when writing Goat-Track.com course reviews, I make the mistake of using courses previously reviewed as a frame of reference. That would be unfair to The Tater, but comparisons and references are inevitable and the Tater should be flattered that it made such comparisons meaningless.
Like a 3-wood on a 110-yard par-3, The Tater overshot all of our expectations. Sure, it may have come out as merely average on "the GT value proposition," but it had the right feel, (especially when compared to the "other" Okemo course). It exceeded our expectations so much so that JBF asked, “If this isn’t a 4 out of 4, what the hell is?” (see Grossinger’s Little G). That said, The Tater has to settle for...
There was just a bit of tension while on VT Route 11. Had we overshot the Track? If so, who f’d up? While GPS is useful for a lot of things, finding The Tater isn't one of them. Fortunately, before all hope was lost, we ran across a gas station/convenience store where a local woman who didn’t seem to abjectly despise “flatlanders” (nice change of pace) reassured us that golfing nirvana was a mere two miles away…roughly.
Sure enough, and as advised, there was a sign guiding us to The Tater. There may have been some sort of gravitational pull kicking in by that point. Things just couldn’t help but pick up from there.
There was some concern about playing a course that had undergone an “Okemo makeover (circa 2005),” but damned if we weren’t going to get to the bottom of it to see if this course was as much of a pain in the ass as the Okemo course we’d played (and briefly reviewed) years ago in Ludlow.
As we discovered, you’re really getting the best of both worlds, if you can find your way to The Tater. Remote, yet familiar. Maintained, yet not over-manicured. Challenging, but fair. Perfect balance from a Goat Tracker’s perspective.
...out of 4 GT logos, but there's no shame in that. A great Tracking experience.
Layout: Much like at the 2011 US Open at Congressional, near the Terp Track, no one likes opening things up on a par-3...especially over water. I’ve heard several pro’s echo the sentiment, “no one wants to take a 4 right out of the box.” We agree, but after readjusting, it’s all good. Suck it up.
While we’re familiar with the “forced march” back and forth at several courses we frequent (Blue Fox Run, blue course, for example, holes 1 through 5), where we hit drives through the tree lines into oncoming groups, exchange pleasantries, etc., The Tater threw us a curve by having adjacent holes not only running parallel, but also in the same direction (#2 and #4). After some reflection, it’s perfect; just a matter of who gets to their wayward shot first to hit back through the tree line. Brilliant way to speed up play. Kudos.
Tater Hill GC, North Windham, Vermont, front 9 reviewed June, 2011.
At the GT nerve center, Tracking opportunities outside the Connecticut and western Mass. area don’t come along nearly often enough, so when JBF dangled some southern Vermont Tracking like a carrot, in exchange for some minor mule-ish assistance around the vacation compound, it was difficult to resist.
And that eventually brought us to Tater Hill GC in scenic North Windham, Vermont. It may have originally been pitched as a golf course in Chester, Vermont, but that only added to the intrigue, navigational cluster, and entertainment value.