Top 10 Reasons to Play Pequot
(1) A mix of more open and tighter holes. The routing starts in the open; then takes us in and out of the trees; then back among them; it ends up on parkland. Pequot is more diverse and scenic than courses which leave us stuck mainly in the woodlands.
(2) Variety: Uphill and downhill; big greens and small; some overtly undulating and others easier; a mix of fairway and greenside bunkers (the latter in various, non-repetitive configurations). And there’s ground movement on the fairways and around the greens—many of which exhibit drop-offs near the edges.
(3) Limited use of major water hazards; instead, the course favors bunkers. Only a single pond, which is in play on one hole only (not shared or multi-use). Many layouts overuse water hazards. Yet you don’t see a lot of huge water hazards on the great links courses—they don’t need them.
(4) Speaking of links, you’re not far from the ocean here. Wind is far more a factor here than on most CT layouts, adding both interest and challenge.
(5) Higher playability for mid and especially higher-handicap golfers. Too many golf designs from the 80’s/90’s—long, longer, longest—were geared primarily to better players.
(6) Some tough and some tight par-4’s in the moderate-to-long range (see three, eight, eleven, fourteen)
(7) Four doglegs, a balance of both right and left, thrown into the mix. Bonus: two of these with stronger angles are shorter, accommodating shorter hitters. But also a flaw: these same two holes have dense trees at the corner; because they are angled at 90 degrees, you should be able to cut their corners in the air—but cannot.
(8) Behind many greens, the woods come up fast. When greens are smaller, as many are here, absolute precision is a must. Tough approach shots keep you honest on all but a few holes.
(9) One of the most striking courses in Connecticut. If you’re having a bad round, you can at least enjoy the impressive scenery. I played a highly ranked Pennsylvania course last year, but was a tad dismayed to see Three-Mile Island on the Susquehanna River in the not-so-distant background. Anyway, the course itself was pretty.
(10) Only two par fives here, making it much harder for low-handicappers to shoot par (fewer birdie-opportunities). And the course doubles down on these, as the eighteenth is 565 yards uphill, and seven is short but with problems by the bucketful awaiting you not far off the fairway, as well as on its pitiless side hill lies.
If someone described this course to me centered on these features alone, I’d call it pretty darn good. And not even included on this list Pequot’s four stellar par-3s.
But let’s be somewhat darkly realistic. This is a fairly short course, and since time immemorial many golfers (often those playing to single-digits) have subscribed to the formula that only long, unrelenting courses are worthy of excellence. America’s greatest living architect, Tom Doak, would disagree (respectfully) with them. Doak believes that length is one of the two or three most overrated features of golf course design. In fact, he believes that courses having both variety and suitability to a wide range of players are two key qualities of courses that we should call outstanding. And Doak’s argument, when read in full, is far from simplistic. Bottom line: I’m in firm agreement with him. And so, one could argue, are most golfers. Go back and read the reviews of this course dating from last August and September, and you’ll find that there’s a commonality to their views and mine.
A great deal of fun but also pleasantly challenging, Pequot should be tried by everyone.