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3.7
71 Reviews (71)
5 Stars
18
4 Stars
27
3 Stars
17
2 Stars
6
1 Stars
3
Conditions
3.8
Value
4.1
Layout
4.2
Friendliness
4.3
Pace
4.0
Amenities
3.1
78.9%
Recommend this course
58 out of 71 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.0
1 Reviews (1)
5 Stars
0
4 Stars
1
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.0
Value
5.0
Layout
4.0
Pace
3.0
Amenities
3.0
StaffFriendliness
5.0
100.0%
Recommend this course
1 out of 1 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
3.5
4 Reviews (4)
5 Stars
0
4 Stars
3
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
1
1 Stars
0
Conditions
3.8
Value
4.0
Layout
4.3
Pace
3.8
Amenities
3.0
StaffFriendliness
4.3
75.0%
Recommend this course
3 out of 4 reviews
Read Reviews

About

Holes 18
Type Semi-Private
Par 70
Length 5785 yards
Slope 120
Rating 69.4

Course Details

Year Built 1961
Fairways Rye
Greens Bent
Architect Joseph Motycka

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes
Clubs Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes

Policies

Credit Cards Accepted VISA, MasterCard, Discovery and American Express Accepted
Metal Spikes Allowed No
Dress code Proper golf attire.

Reviews

3.7
71 Reviews (71)

Reviewer Photos

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Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Reviews 159
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Connecticut Advisor
Top 50 Contributor
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Walked

Potent Golf That’s Still Fun

A few highlights about the front (played today):
--First five holes are open and feel like an inland British Isles course: unusual for Connecticut (and fun), with lots of ground movement. Last three become typical Connecticut woodland holes that test precision.
--Course conditioning: very good greens (still a few aeration marks) that are well-kept and have few blemishes; good fairways and bunkers; average roughs and greenside conditioning. Tees were mostly well-conditioned.
--Toughest hole seemed to be seven: its second shot is uphill and traverses a pond, and needs to hit a small landing zone, if not the green. The seventh is also a slicer’s nightmare.
--Upgrades to some of the wooden fixtures (including fences and steps) around this course this year.
--Both friendliness and helpfulness at check-in were excellent. Driving range was busy when I arrived and left. So was the golf course--and deservedly so. Lots of young players on the course today, including a pleasant foursome of UConn students that I met.
--Beautiful course in springtime. Play it.

Most Interesting Hole: Fourth, par-5
Only 438 yards, this is easily within reach. But a big, deep greenside bunker meddles with approaches, and a hidden pot lies off to the left. The wide, rippling fairway resembles those on links courses.

A Clever Hole: Six, Par-4, 349
Ingeniously-made, short four par moves uphill to green, which is blind on the second. A left-front pond is a further problem. The hole sports two fairways, each playing from a different tee. Stone wall to the left, with a large tree hindering line-of-flight from the right. Heavily contoured greens tests both chipping and putting.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 159
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Connecticut Advisor
Top 50 Contributor
Previously Played
Cold weather
Walked

Fine Terrain, a River, and Ready Golf

North of Hartford, golf courses in Connecticut become fairly sparse. But there are several standouts well worth the trip to play. Skungamaug River Golf Club, up in UConn territory, is one of them. It’s a beautiful and playable course, demanding solid shots from tee to green if you expect a good score. The hilly terrain meanders smoothly and sometimes abruptly here, around the Skungamaug River, past marshy ponds, and through the woodlands, yet all of it is good for golfing. The opening stretch of six holes provides a pleasant sense of freedom: it is links-like in its openness and the breadth of its holes. Trees are present on this stretch, but only in abundance on one side, usually, of the fairways. Lacking long par-4’s, the total length of SRGC is far from monstrous, yet it has four par-3s (of five total) that play uphill; they’ll require mid-irons or hybrids—or more—for most players. One of the five-pars, the seventh, demands two very powerful shots if you hope to make it a two-shotter, and another –the impressively long 18th—is unreachable for the vast majority of players.

Most of the greens here are large and contoured, but a few—especially those at fifteen and seventeen—are rather small. Several of the surfaces slope drastically in places, creating putts that may be agonizing. Only a few greens lay relatively flat. Bunkers are not pervasive here but are plentiful enough. They vary in size from large and wide to the small pots found on linksland. Mostly placed strategically, nearly all of the bunkers are in the vicinity of greens.

The front side has four strong holes in two, six, eight and nine. Eight be the toughest hole to par on the entire course: an uphill three-par of 171 to a terribly demanding green—nowhere does it flatten out—for which you’ll need great finesse to even take two putts.

The back side, though, is alone worth the price of admission to SRGC. The course’s temperament changes a bit as the inward half opens with a string of five excellent and demanding holes. The twelfth and fourteenth are the two best among these, both similar par-4’s that begin from high tees (with commanding views) and end with greens onto which shots can be run up or flown. In between are gently bending fairways lined by woods, and in each case water hazards pose distinct threats to straying or uncooperative tee shots. The par-3 eleventh, which travels sternly uphill, has a big bunker lurking to its right, and its pitched green is no easy two-putt. The seventeenth is even longer at 189. Its tee shot must fly over a small vale to reach the perched and well-protected green, quite small for this big carry. As whole, then, the back nine is longer, somewhat narrower, a bit more angular, possessed of more and bigger elevation changes, and harboring more punishing slopes and hazards. Yet it also has a couple of weaker holes, the fifteenth and (to a lesser extent) the sixteenth, that don’t seem all that strategically sound. Eighteen closes things out admirably, a big, rolling and attractive five-par of 530, ending on a slightly elevated green with a false front.

It was nice NOT to play a round today (as has happened several times this year on other courses) during which I was waiting around as a foursome in front of us was dallying on the fairways or putting out at great length. A few of those other times I was half-expecting to see fields of ice forming on the Connecticut River—a sure sign that I’d been waiting long enough to witness the onset of the next Glacial Era. Slow play is still the biggest curse of this game, but I’ve yet to see it at Skungamaug. In fact, my son and I played eighteen walking in a brisk and beautiful 3:15. The course was surprisingly well populated for a late-November day. Conditions were respectably good but not great: much of the course was in nice shape, but some of the fairways are still recovering in spots from the summer drought, and the greens were aerated.

Bottom line: You can play—at a fine value—this varied and interesting and excellent track, tucked away in the northern hills of Connecticut. It’s worth seeking out.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap Don't know
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
2.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Very Disappointing Experience

Recent experience there was not a happy one. Had to pay extra money to ride by myself which I think is very very unfair. There were plenty of carts available. Being a senior I did not appreciate being charged extra to protect myself from Covid 19 issues. Then when I got out to my golf cart it was soaked from rain water. Seating area and floor were full of water. I said nothing and got towels out of my car and did their job for them. Paying extra for the cart left a very sour taste in my mouth after that. Other courses I play at are more considerate. I like the pro there very much and did not want to write this review. I think he is great but I am sure he has to adhere to managements guidelines. I had planned on playing Skungamaug more often but I am going to opt for other courses that meet my needs. Joe

Conditions Average
Value Poor
Layout Average
Friendliness Good
Pace Average
Amenities Average
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
Played On
Reviews 159
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Connecticut Advisor
Top 50 Contributor
Previously Played
Hot weather
Walked

Great Ramble at Twilight

Having written extensively about SRGC last September, I’ll add these comments:

A) The front side has several aesthetically beautiful holes, a couple of strategically placed ponds (on five and six), and two challenging 3-pars.

B) The front-side’s two par-fives give the longer hitter birdie opportunities. The fourth is very easily reachable; the seventh by two very well struck shots.

C) Noticed a big disparity—after I thought about it—between the lengths of front nine versus back.
If both were doubled in length, the back would be a 6,000-yard course, the front 5,400. Two key differences are very short par-fours on the front (301-362 range) versus back (376-395). That’s a big contrast for most single-digit players, leading to many more wedge or shots on the front. The front has two reachable par-5’s; the back’s single five-par is out of range for most players—and it’s a tough hole to boot. All of this simply means that the front plays on the easier side, the back pretty hard. Even the two par-3’s on the back are quite severe, especially 17.

D) All that said, the layout is still the star of the show here, mixing clever design features with variety and with old-school strategic options (most of the fairways have width, leaving you to find the best route to the hole). The front nine, however, will probably leave some lower-handicap players wanting more. But it’s still clear to me that two of the best designed golf courses north of Hartford are Skungamaug and Rolling Meadows in Ellington.

E) What makes the front really interesting are the natural, rolling ground contours on all of its four-pars. They are truly links-like, and very few courses in the state have the natural (not bulldozed) ground flow that this nine possesses.

F) Conditioning dropped a bit from what I remember last fall. The fairways and rough were not as good, although the greens and their closer surrounds were very good considering this hot, dry summer.

G) To play at twilight is receive off-the-charts value: $12 allowed me to play nine holes and finish just as the sun was at the horizon. Twilight hours also attracted a lot of junior golfers, which is a refreshing sight. Kudos to the ownership for making the game affordable for them; America needs many more junior golfers than it has. As for me, this is the only time I’ve played twilight golf this year, but it turned out to be invigorating. It was the second 9-hole round I walked on two courses (the other was Rolling Meadows, earlier), so the somewhat lower temps at twilight made it easier.

H) Though I played mainly the outward half, I’ve included a few pics of the back nine as well.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 159
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Connecticut Advisor
Top 50 Contributor
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Used cart

Hidden Gem in Northern Connecticut

This is a course, I believe, that has gone underrated. It lacks length, it lacks a well-known architect, and it lacks the trendier, modern style that became the front-runner with the likes of Robert Trent Jones, by the mid-1960’s, and beyond that with the fame of Pete Dye. Thus Skungamaug River Club, designed in 1961, may not have been considered, at one time, ‘fashionable’ among many of those golfers who were sampling courses some distance from home. Evidence of this may be suggested by its omission in Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play Guide” from 1995. In more recent years, it has received considerably more respect in both this and other guides.

Playing this golf course today, what I found—beyond such ratings—is that one’s game will be tested on the majority of SRGC’s holes, especially on the inward nine. More than this, Skungamaug was fairly swarming with golfers, while the clubhouse and restaurant both had a genuine air of vibrancy.

This is a course to be reckoned with; it is by no means ‘easy’ and far from boring. Even better, it was fun to play. It compressed much that is admirable over its acreage: clever, old-school design; an aesthetically pleasing, American-classic parkland setting; cleanly styled holes; and some strong Donald Ross-influenced design touches thrown in for good measure. If we throw out all preconceptions about length and course rating, then what may emerge is true, gem-like value in this fascinating layout. It is easily among the best short courses I’ve played in Connecticut; its layout, in my book, rates five stars.

What may be argued in terms of this course’s quality? A few facts should be helpful. The course slopes at 120 from the blues: therefore, it is an above-average challenge for the mid-handicap player. It has five par-3’s averaging 168 yards, four of them uphill and one of them (the longest, at 189 yards) requiring a mid-iron or hybrid to be flown over a gaping dell to a tiny, perched green. The closing par-5 is 533 yards long—a clear three-shot hole for 95% of golfers. Earlier, at hole 7, a 461 yard uphill par-5 travels up a final, steep slope to a well-defended green, and the majority of golfers, given how far they drive the ball, will also play this as a three-shotter. Most of the greens are on the small side, and some have been made deliberately shallow (examples are at 9 and and 17, both a mere 15 yards deep) to demand precision approaches hit at the right distances if the hope is to take a simple two-putt, and, as Ken Venturi used to say so eloquently, “go quietly” to the next hole. Water hazards are in play, meaningfully, on eleven of the holes. Almost every hole sports elevation changes; the terrain is such that many of the greens are often raised, and sometimes sternly pitched; they are frequently protected by bunkers, big greenside slopes, or their own steeply-sloped edges. Finally, much of the course features woodlands on the peripheries of its fairways and oftentimes behind the greens, where large drop-offs are not uncommon.

To me, that is quite enough factual description to suggest that few golfers will go out and mow down this track. True, its modest course length is a factor, but its par is only 70; and a lot of the ‘shortness’ is due to a quartet of par-4’s (1, 3, 15 and 16) that fall a bit under 350 yards in length.

There are also some intangibles that clearly suggest that the course’s ‘unknown’ designer, Joseph Motycka, was well versed in what made a high-quality layout. First, the greens possess several traits that are Ross-like; perhaps he admired ‘The Donald’ of links fame: the genius, that is, who died in 1948. Many of the bunkers, secondly, are hidden, or, more impressive still, are small pots with large, British-styled walls. Add to these his careful green-siting and incorporation of intelligent risk-reward options on several holes, and the course has enough drawing cards to excite serious players.

Maybe what is most impressive here is a beautiful and long string of holes, from 6 to 14, that are all at least very good. The standouts are the last four of them, starting with eleven, a burly, uphill par three with a strongly pitched and well-defended green. Twelve will fully test your driver with a confined landing area with a lethal left-side water hazard, along with woods to the right. Thirteen is a gorgeous, woods-encircled hole that demands another precision tee-shot and an equally precise short-iron. And fourteen may be the best four-par on the golf course. At 395 yards and playing downhill from the tee, it requires that you lay-up short of the water before lofting a well-struck mid-iron uphill to its undulating green.

Fifteen, the only hole that both my son and I disliked, is very finicky but still playable—but I think we’ll need to be back a few times more to get the hang of this ultra-quirky 290 yard 4-par. On the other hand, the three closing holes provide a suitably strong finish, culminating in the aforementioned par-3 17th, a masterpiece of careful design, and the almost equally impressive par-5 home hole, whose fairway wriggles over attractive ground contours on its way to another impressive Rossian green.

The staff’s friendliness would merit six stars, if they could be granted. I was happy to meet the club pro and owner, along with several other service workers at Skungamaug, all of whom were unfailingly polite and helpful. Course conditioning was good, and its standout aspect was an extremely smooth set of well-kept and true-rolling greens, which were notably fast on downhill putts. The fairways were good overall, but not great. Amenities are solid, with a particularly nice pro-shop, but the clubhouse and restaurant fall somewhat below the competition in the area (they could use a bit of sprucing up, I think).

While few experts would call SMGC a ‘hard’ or punishing golf course, even they should find more than enough challenge here to stay fully engaged (as my son and I were). Part of the fun for us was being paired up today with two friendly and amiable gentlemen, both of whom loved golf as well, on the front nine.
Skungamaug may not have a great deal in common with modern-styled courses like Lyman Orchards or Topstone, but frankly is better for having its own unique identity. And many mid-handicappers may find this a near-perfect fit. After a great initial experience here, we are certainly planning to put it on our rota.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Reviews 8
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

For just having had a tornado pass through the course it was in really good shape

They had a tornado pass through the course a day earlier but the course was in good condition. They were working hard to clean up the fallen trees. The greens are challenging lots of angulation.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Average
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
2.0
First Time Playing

Underwhelming

Course was in poor condition. Very run down. Owners need to put some money into it. Updates and TLC needed.

Conditions Fair
Value Average
Layout Fair
Friendliness Average
Pace Excellent
Amenities Poor
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Avg round

Discount good , course interesting. Players at this time a bit loud, no concern about people on tee or green which were close to each other. Tees & yardage could be better marked. Would definitely play there again.

Conditions Good
Value Average
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 1
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 101
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Top 1000 Contributor
Previously Played
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Reviews 7
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Good value for what I paid

Good value for the money I paid to play, restaurant needs improve food was not good.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 1
Handicap 20-24
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

nice course

I've been playing this course for years and it is a very good course. The staff is always friendly and helpful. Some of the holes are unusual but fun to play. We started at about 10:10 and the play was a little slow. The front 9 took about 2.5 hours to play. Most people only played 9 so the back 9 only took us 1.75 hours to play. They have the basic hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch. There is a small old fashion pub. There is also an enclosed patio that overlooks the course that is very picturesque.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 18
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Windy weather
Used cart
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 19
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Fair
Played On
Reviews 136
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Top 100 Contributor
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Winter golf

Nice that this course is open on December 29th! Cold winds were howling but the pace was good and the course was playable even after the heavy rain the day before.
We enjoyed our day on the course!

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
2.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Not worth the $20

The course was a mud pit with balls plugging in some fairways. The greens were shaggy, rough more like mud, and the course layout is mediocre.

Conditions Poor
Value Fair
Layout Fair
Friendliness Fair
Pace Average
Amenities Poor
Default User Avatar
Commented on 05/28/2019

Its likely from 3 weeks of straight rain

Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
1.0
Previously Played

Pushy & Poor

I booked on line through GolfNow for a tee time for 2 players my husband is still learning to play the pro pushed us into a 4 some which I didn’t book and was rude and refused to listen to my reasoning and said he’d over booked and they were very busy and we have to play as a 4 some or leave without a refund there were not that many players there they were not that busy and I didn’t see the reason to force us into a 4 some the course was covered in leaves and the same muddy hazards in the fairways that were there 2, and 4 and 6 weeks ago had grown larger and were not repaired we will not ever return there to golf and I do not recommend this course

Conditions Poor
Value Average
Layout Average
Friendliness Poor
Pace Average
Amenities Poor
Played On
Reviews 12
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Always improving

This course is always fun to play. It’s not Augusta National, but it’s got a challenging little layout that is harder than it looks. You have to think your way around and choose your clubs wisely. Staff is very friendly and accommodating. Good guys.
It was pretty wet the day I played, but that’s to be expected after all the rain this summer. The greens were in fantastic shape, but were a tad slow. Every time I play here I see some minor improvement. The restaurant and pro shop remind me of being at camp. Rustic, plain and modest. Play the course to have fun and enjoy being surrounded by nature. Snobs need not apply.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
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