Woodstock GC (Woodstock) Reviewed August, 2010
In our efforts to play courses in all four corners of the state this year, we trekked to Woodstock in the very rural northeastern corner of Connecticut, 5 - 10 miles from the southern and western borders of The Land O'Chowdah (eastern Mass. and Rhode Island).
The original plan on this day was to play the nearby Harrisville GC in Woodstock, but we saw a sign on Route 171 that redirected us to Woodstock GC and our Goat Tracking instincts said we should follow the trail, mainly because we didn't want to get lost in such a remote area. (as a frame of reference, after the fact, we checked various online mapping sites; your GPS may say something different, but in a nutshell, both of the Woodstock courses are about a half hour from exit 68 on I-84 [the UConn exit]; doesn't matter much which departure point [either exit 69 or 73] you take to get to the middle of nowhere, correction, Goat Tracking nirvanah, it should work out just fine.)
Maybe it was just because we were so close to Providence, Rhode Island that there may have been some version of divine Goat Tracking Providence that led us to Woodstock GC. Who knows? What we do know is that even though we wound up at "the wrong Track," we stumbled onto a great Goat Tracking experience.
The GT Review
Greens: In baseball (MLB), 2010 has been called "the year of the pitcher." In Goat Tracking, 2010 has been called "the year of surprisingly puttable greens." Maybe the greens at Woodstock GC weren't as fast as advertised, but they were in a lot better shape than expected. Quirky design; good pin placements. Two thumbs up, without question.
Just like at another favorite "old course" (Fenwick), the holes at the old (maybe circa 1896?) Woodstock GC are named, keeping with the fine links tradition.
Some layout highlights:
"Deuce" (#2): Great berm on the right side; good for a blind shot. What's not to like?
"Scylla and Charybdis" (#5): Odd, flowery name; maybe translated from an ancient language it means "flat and wide open." No way to get in trouble left or right here; makes #7 at the Goat Track (Copper Hill) look tight by comparison. Only way to get in trouble here is if you get stitched behind one of the rocks sticking up through the fairway and, if you're like us, chances are good you're probably approaching the green from an alternate fairway anyway.
"Dipper" (#6): This hole has the local equivalent of "The Eisenhower Tree," which we appreciate.
"The Ravine" (#7): As Goat Trackers, we just like any hole with a "ravine" tie-in and the descent from tee to green here lives up to the billing. If you're taking a cart, you may want to pace yourself on the way down so you don't get "the bends."
"Buttonwoods" (#9): What more can you ask for on the wagering front than a driveable par-4 finishing hole? Not much.
Staff: We've grown accustomed to cranky old dudes working the pro shops at courses we frequent. We consider it part of the Goat Tracking Experience, part of the Track Charm; so we were caught off guard when the woman working the pro shop register at Woodstock GC seemed to actually take pride in the history and design of the course, not to mention being so cordial and helpful as to walk out onto the deck to point out and explain some the old course's nuances, blind shots, etc. to Woodstock newbies. It set the right tone and made it impossible not to enjoy the course.
Facilities: Another plus at Woodstock GC is that, similar to Airways GC in Suffield, you can pay your greens fees, pivot, and order a beer. We're big fans of that. We waste enough effort hacking and slashing our way around the course; we appreciate that we don't have to waste any here.
In Summary: Based on some of the (inane) GT criteria we use in writing these reviews, Woodstock GC scores pretty well. The only knocks against it are that it's in a fairly remote location and that Golfer Number Two was able to score a 41 (par 34) the first time out, which may suggest that it's a less than challenging layout. On the plus side, it's undoubtedly a fun course to play and is a great alternative to any "executive" or par-30 layout one may consider playing, just possibly not as convenient. Although we haven't played Harrisville GC yet (but we did do a drive by), we think it's probably a great split double-header/double dip, combining the two courses to play 18, similar to (and possibly better than) the Coventry Pines/Goddard Park experience we enjoyed in 2009. We give Woodstock GC a Stout out of 4 GT logo rating for now.