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The other half of Coventry's Dynamic Duo, Robin to Skungamaug's Batman, Twin Hills.  Many thanks to Ornery Bob, who reminded me about this one, which was a cornerstone of the UCONN golf rotation.  Driving past the Mansfield Correctional Institute to get there from UCONN keeps things in perspective when your tee shot winds up "in jail."

It's always reassuring to a Tracker when he can roll/rumble into a gravel parking lot at the course and this set a good tone for the round at Twin Hills.

(Back 9 reviewed October, 2008)
Layout:  Best way to summarize the layout of the back 9, WOOF!  WOOF!  More doglegs than a freakin' kennel!  Upon further reflection (GT Sherpa zen-like meditation), the main purpose that the dog legs serve is to frustrate non-Trackers to the point of making them want to hammer shots into the trees, disrupting their game and any chance of achieving true "Sherpa chi."  The 10th hole is probably the exception because it affords a fair opportunity to thread the needle through the three trees that stand in the way between a mediocre tee shot and a wedge into the green.

(Layout Observation #2)  Best summarized by Tom Petty, "
Into the Great Wide Open."  I won't speak for others, but that tune definitely rattled around in my head while walking the back 9; the width of the fairways is comparable to those on the front 9 at Rolling Meadows.

Tee Boxes:  It may take a good Tracker to truly appreciate them.  Some were shaggier than others, but that's just minutiae.  Most were wide, mirroring the fairways, and they were deceptively level at first glance.  Apparently, one doesn't notice the quirky lies on the tee until the peg is already in the ground and you're trying to figure out how you did such a bad job of picking a spot to tee off and adjust your stance at address.  Truly impressive.

Fairways:  Great job of setting expectations and then allowing for a different outcome.  The first few were fairly well pulverized, setting the bar in the comfort zone of most seasoned Trackers.  On the first divot of the day, a couple of
cutworms were unearthed beneath the turf, which may have explained part of the problem.  After the first few holes, the fairway conditions leveled out.  The other notable feature was rocks popping through the surface in some spots.  This was great and reminiscent of the round at The Skunk last year.

Bunkers:  So soft, as to be almost unTracklike, but with just enough pebbles and stones to make them completely Trackworthy.  Also, fairly shallow for the most part, so they're not too punishing.

Greens:  Best described as "expansive."  If Robert Frost were a Goat Tracker, he may have revised one of his signature poems to read, "
miles to putt before I sleep."  We'd say, "there's more grass on one green at Twin Hills than on all the greens on the back 9 at The Tradition GC combined," but that probably wouldn't be saying much.  They're deceptively quick for a Goat Track, comparable to those at Simsbury Farms, which as many Trackers know, will undoubtedly screw up your putting game on your next trip to a "normal" Goat Track.  Even the greens that were aerated/sanded were quicker than those at the GT in "peak condition."  Surprisingly enough, the expansive greens didn't yield as many 3-putts as expected.

Rough:  Non-descript and short, along the lines of Keney in midsummer

Water Hazards:  The pond on the 10th hole has an "algae inhibiting" fountain; not Tracker-friendly.  The best example of a Tracker-friendly water hazard was probably on #12, with just enough algae left to make Trackers comfortable with the course.

Other Track Features

Stone Walls:  GT style points deducted for the thing constructed behind the 16th tee box.  Too uniform, too level, too not Trackworthy.  That was balanced out by a cool, old-school stone wall behind the 17th green and the impressive elevated tee on #18, built into a huge stone retaining wall (reminiscent of the old first tee at Canton GC).  In short, The Skunk gets the edge over Twin Hills as it relates to stonework.

Bridges:  Between the 3rd and 17th, quite possibly the most unTrackworthy bridge ever witnessed at a Goat Track; the folks at Augusta National might be impressed; the folks at the NJ Transit Authority could probably put a toll booth on it, but aside from the shocking first impression, Goat Trackers are not impressed by it.

Best Track Feature:  Hand (or paws) down, the bear-proof garbage cans.  Maybe they're not truly bear-proof because they're not covered (and just intended to be windproof), but the sight of a 35-gallon Rubbermaid garbage can ensconced in a two-foot wide, rectangular,
ceramic chimney flue out in the middle of the sticks is absolutely priceless.

In a nutshell, the back 9 at Twin Hills is mainly Tracker-friendly, if you can avoid being driven crazy by all the doglegs.  A good Tracking experience and not quite as remote as one might think