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4.3
162 Reviews (162)
5 Stars
58
4 Stars
80
3 Stars
21
2 Stars
2
1 Stars
1
Conditions
4.1
Value
4.3
Layout
4.3
Friendliness
4.5
Pace
3.5
Amenities
3.9
99.2%
Recommend this course
152 out of 162 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.6
8 Reviews (8)
5 Stars
5
4 Stars
3
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.5
Value
4.8
Layout
4.6
Pace
4.3
Amenities
4.1
StaffFriendliness
4.9
100.0%
Recommend this course
8 out of 8 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
4.5
11 Reviews (11)
5 Stars
6
4 Stars
4
3 Stars
1
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
0
Conditions
4.3
Value
4.6
Layout
4.5
Pace
4.0
Amenities
3.9
StaffFriendliness
4.7
100.0%
Recommend this course
11 out of 11 reviews
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About

Holes 18
Type Public
Par 72
Length 6537 yards
Slope 130
Rating 71.4

Gilead Highlands, or the "New Course," joined the original golf course at Blackledge Country Club, Anderson Glen, in 2000. They share the same parkland setting but the courses are unique in character. The "Old Course" provides a more traditional round while Gilead Highlands is slightly shorter, but also a bit more challenging. The heavily wooded landscape can prove to be quite formidable and there are also a few water features that come into play throughout the golf course. The layout offers an interesting variety of holes from fun par 3s to demanding par 5s. The course begins with one of the front nine's most difficult par 4s. This dogleg right hole requires a tee shot with perfect placement to the left center of the fairway. Long hitters will enjoy this one, but be cautious of the out-of-bounds on the right.

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Blackledge Country Club - Gilead Highlands
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Course Details

Year Built 2000

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes
Clubs Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range No
Golf Simulator Yes
Indoor Practice Yes
Putting Green Yes

Policies

Credit Cards Accepted VISA, MasterCard Accepted
Metal Spikes Allowed No
Walking Allowed Yes

Accolades

Reviews

4.3
162 Reviews (162)

What Golfers Are Saying

The 19th Hole is Great For:
Drinks 21
Patio Dining 9
19th Hole Specials 8
Course Challenges Include:
Bunkers 24
Elevation Changes 24
Narrow Fairways 19
This course/club is great for:
Locals 29
Playing Multiple Courses 19
Wildlife/ Scenic Views 17
This Course's Location is:
Worth the Drive 26
In the 'Burbs 21
Convenient to the City 11

Numbers based on reviews tagged with attribute.

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Overall Rating
Recommended
Handicap
Age
Type of Golfer
Gender
Played On
Handicap 20-24
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Beautiful Fall Golf Course

The Gilead front 9 greens were still healing from aeration. But the rest of the course was in good shape. Had to wait 10 minutes while daily maintenance was done on one of the holes. With the fall colors the course was a picture. It was fun to play a New England course in the Fall again. The food in the restaurant was subpar.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Fair
Played On
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Skill Beginner
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
First Time Playing

Nice place

Played with a 2pm tee time, nice time of day. Often no one working at the snack shack, cart girls where nice but never saw them on the back 9, could have used another drink... otherwise very nice course

Conditions Excellent
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Great round of golf

Definitely worth the ride. Fun course, great condition and very nice staff.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Top 250 Contributor
Connecticut Advisor
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Solid and Striking Back Nine

The back nine at Gilead Highlands is a strong companion to its outstanding front side. Mungeam, Cornish, and Silva designed what is now this back side several years earlier than the front, and it is mainly a shotmaker’s course: most of the holes lend themselves to working the ball suitably off the tees and into the greens.

The challenge here begins right away, on the first four holes. (Keep things under control on these and your score on this inward half should be respectable.) Three of these four—10, 11, and 12—are typical but hard golf holes in most respects, but the twelfth, a relatively punishing par-five that smites most loosely played shots, will require careful thought if you hope to earn a par. It also features water hazards to be eluded on both first and second shots, and interesting risk-reward choices from tee to green. Most players will tread lightly—and wisely so—here. Hole 13 is a mid-length par-three that certainly appears intimidating from the tee. Yet it does offer a bail-out zone, short of the green, if its tree and pond-edged sides are causing you dread. Given their contouring and their speed (mainly, if putting downhill), the greens will also present challenges on these four holes. But it is capable ball-striking that should most likely determine your overall score on this quartet.

What is required from here back the clubhouse is patience; that, along with cautiously played shots may reward you with a birdie opportunity or two. The overall routing here is a bit unusual: having completed holes 10-13 (a string of holes comprised only of 3 and 5-pars), we are now left with five straight par-fours—all under 400 yards. But these are what shine on this back side. Fourteen and fifteen are great driving tests, requiring accurate placement to avoid hazards and to take the ideal angle of approach for second shots that will fly uphill into these two greens. And neither approach shot is without prickly hazards around the green. They are stunning back-to-back holes. Sixteen is a tree-lined and tough driving hole that demands a tee shot struck accurately enough—usually with a hybrid or mid-iron—to hit a fairway 22 yards wide. This hole’s circular, pitched green penalizes errant-right approaches with a precipitous fall-off. From the tee at seventeen, you may find yourself either loving or hating the landing zone—ultra-tight and curving as it is—but what follows is a beautifully challenging uphill approach to a perched green, guarded as well by a bunker on its right flank. This green may best accept drawn shots that (possibly) run onto its surface. The ninth is a good hole, though it may seem anti-climactic after what have been eight holes requiring precision ball control; it is a short, straightforward, drive-and-pitch affair.

This Gilead-Highlands back side may fall short of greatness, but it is balanced, it is dangerous enough in places, and it will still challenge most anyone who is not a touring pro. On some holes, strong demands are placed on driving and approach shots. Both fairway and greenside bunkers are numerous enough and strategically placed to prevent golfers from going on the attack during every hole or shot. The thick woods on the periphery of many holes will give us even greater pause, along with the threatening water hazards on holes 12 and 13. Still, with careful course management, every hole here is both playable and beatable. Overall, this nine, even though harder, does not quite match the front at Gilead-Highlands, mainly because the outward half is so consistently strong on strategic elements—especially incorporated into both of its par-5’s. Above all, the more natural, pared-down, minimalist style that Mark Mungeam embraced on the later-designed front side (without a lot of earth-moving) virtually proves that ‘less is more.’ Some of the elaborate mounding on this side (for example, between 10 and 18) seems about as natural as high fructose corn syrup.

Putting on these greens will also not cause too much anguish for most players, because they are of moderate difficulty; it is mainly the tenth green (having the steepest pitch) that can spell deep trouble if you’re above the hole. Aesthetically, this nine takes up where the front left off: it’s a stunner. Underscoring its appearance are mature trees, gorgeous ponds, rolling fairways, and often sprawling or variously-shaped bunkers, each filled with white sand. On every hole something delights the eye. Conditioning is quite good here, though the greens were a bit of a disappointment because they ran a bit slower than they once did, if memory serves. Having played GH frequently back in 2002-3, when I was a men’s club member, I can remember feeling that the other three Blackledge nines outshined this one, three or four of these holes here seem like virtual ‘target golf.’ Today, that sense was reinforced, but still I found myself liking this back side better than in olden days. It’s a good, vigorous, and intelligently-conceived set of golf challenges. All of which seems quite enough for the end result: a fine day on the course.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 250 Contributor
Connecticut Advisor
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Walked

No Gray Areas Here: Blackledge Highlands Are Excellent

Mark Mungeam, the course architect of the Blackledge—Gilead Highlands course, has clearly demonstrated his talent for building a first-rate design here in Hebron, Connecticut. I played the front nine of the Highlands, this time out, at twilight, and not having played it for some time, was once again reminded of its extraordinary quality. Mungeam came to national prominence in 2003 for his renovation and redesign of several holes at the Olympia Fields North Course, site of the U.S. Open that year. Mungeam designs in this state are Connecticut National, one hour northeast in Putnam, and Oxford Greens, sixty minutes southwest in Oxford.

Though the woodland setting on the front side here doesn’t quite afford the variety of views offered by more open and varied Anderson’s Glen course across the street, it is still beautiful and inviting, particularly on both opening and closing holes. The holes themselves, mostly tree-lined and conforming gently to the rolling terrain possess a natural, unforced look: little earth appears to have been moved to attain the final, mostly subtle contours of the fairways and greens. Still, the fairways really do rise and tumble, consistently and rhythmically, on the longer holes.

There is but a single water hazard on this nine (it is really wetlands, on #7); traps are used sparingly; only two genuine doglegs occur (1 & 5); contours on the greens can sometimes be moderately challenging, yet overall these putting surfaces have subtle contours. Gilead’s front 9 packs plenty of punch, however, and it challenges primarily by virtue of its risk-reward possibilities. It is this, in combination with several other ingenious design aspects, which leaves it a far cry from being a pushover. Its slope, combined with the back nine, is an above-average 123 from the blues, and a tough 130 from the black tees.

Aside from the scattered traditional hazards, the other main defenses here are the hills and the way the trees are positioned. Mungeam is clearly skilled at leaving prominent or very tall trees in places like, say, the middle of the fairway, as he has done on the par-five # 3. This further imperils what already a tough second shot, given the other hazards and angles en route to the green. Most will play this as a three-shotter, but not until they’ve done some careful risk-reward thinking to negotiate the hole.
On other holes, trees infringe in places, interfering with what is often the best or most direct line of flight to the hole. They also appear at the margins of fairways that meander, and those on which some players may want to take a shortcut. Hole 7, for example, is a reachable par-five curving gently to the right, but the player must be careful with the fairway angles on both first and second shot, angles that are enhanced by the impinging trees. Given that there’s also a large wetland to be traversed on the second shot to play this hole most efficiently, more risk-reward thinking—at a higher level—is again necessary.

The hills or elevation changes on this nine are of lesser concern, but they will affect your clubbing skills, most notably on downhill second shots to the fourth and ninth green complexes, already made tricky by their contours and hazards. The first green is also set on a distinct plateau. The bunkers at holes 7 and 9, both some 40 yards short of these greens, are also used as optical illusions; from the fairway, they may appear to be greenside traps.

It is clear, too, that the architect also carefully considered where to site each green. On the par fives, again, modest but effective angles have been applied on the last, short legs of both holes. On each, these affect how the player must position his drive or second shot to open up the green fully with a relatively straight, not deliberately curved, second shot. On every par four, driving to an optimal position in the fairway is critical for the best approach to the green and the flag. Again, this stems from careful green-siting. A perfect example is the sixth green, which is set a 35 (or so) degree angle to the fairway. Additionally, a 30-yard long trap guards the entire left side of the green. Only when the drive is positioned on the fairway’s right side, then, will the green open up to the most safely played incoming iron.

A quintet of excellent par-4’s is to be enjoyed here, as well, at four and nine. A mere 320 yards from the blues—and downhill, to boot—the 4th hole is another risk versus reward classic. Those among the grip-it-and-rip-it platoon will want to power a drive—ideally this is a long draw—down the tumbling, leftward-curving second half of this fairway. If, in some far-fetched scenario, I were permitted to have Bryson DeChambeau step in and hit one, ultra-precise shot for me, it would be this drive at four. He would likely pull it off; I have seldom gone for it. The conservative play is a mid-iron or hybrid hit to the flat side of the fairway on the right. Set in a dell, the 4th hole’s green complex features a bunker on the right front, and snaking around it is a very narrow ‘neck’ of fairway leading into the green. Chipping and pitching is also often a tough task at green 4. As short as this teaser is, you’ll earn your par here.

The 9th hole kicks it up another notch still. Not a lengthy bruiser at 377 yards, it features a tough driving area that is broad enough but not quite generous at 30 yards wide, again with woods and trees threatening both sides of the landing zone. The second shot will only be a shorter iron for most. But precise judgment comes into play when targeting the green on your approach. The 5th, at 376 yards, is dogleg left that clearly favors a perfectly played draw off the tee, given that a right-side bunker is strategically positioned (along with the woods) to gobble up even slight pushes and slices at the dogleg’s elbow. Hole 1 is another par-4 that impresses, and it may be the best of these five. Lacking a single bunker, it still challenges by its length (uphill, 400-yards), its contoured fairway, and its aforementioned plateau, which will dump errant, rightward misses down into grassy depressions, leaving tough pitch shots for recovery.

Neither of the par threes here, both on the shorter side at 147 and 157 yards, are likely to cause a great gnashing of the teeth if played fairly well, but their sizeable bunkers (the biggest threats on both holes) often jump up and bite indifferently played shots.

What’s to criticize here? Nothing I can think of: Not the conditioning—it was very good, especially on the smooth and well-manicured fairways and around the green complexes; greenside rough was uniform, and the fringes near-perfect. The greens themselves were not ideal, but much of this could have been attributed to playing late in the day, as well as the sloppiness of those who played the course! Shoe scuff-marks; ball-marks left unrepaired—you know the deal. I experienced great service in the pro shop—which also, by the way, has a snack bar—and the lounge area is quite accommodating in every respect. Tim Walsh, whom I already happen to know from our friendship at a previous course, is simply a perfect representative of the Blackledge organization—personable, very friendly, and a lot of fun to talk with about our mutually favorite sport.

I can’t think of any better public course east of the Connecticut River than either of the Blackledge tracks. They check all of the boxes, and then some. Let’s frame it this way: Any course that boasts superior—no, make that top-notch—architecture and playability for a wide range of golfers, along with the right amenities, has simply got it knocked. If you live within an hour’s drive of Blackledge and haven’t played either, or if you’re vacationing in the Nutmeg State, do yourself a favor and make a tee time here.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing
Perfect weather
Used cart

This is a real gem with outstanding hole designs

I played with the Safari Group and we were a 100 strong. The pro shop and their staff were ready and gave us outstanding service from getting there to out meal.
The course is a real gem with great hole designs and a chalenge for every level of golfer.
This is a must play golf cousre
#191

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Played On
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

good value for the money. course in fine shape with plenty of cold drinking water on a hot day.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Verified Purchaser
Top 250 Contributor
First Time Playing

Ranger needed

Conditions where wet due to the crap spring but Course was in good shape all things considered. Played each of the two back 9’s from tips
The crowd here is diverse for sure and the course could definitely benefit from a ranger

Conditions Average
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Poor
Amenities Good
Played On
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played
Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Average
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Average
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Average
Amenities Average
Played On
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 1000 Contributor
First Time Playing
Wet weather
Used cart

Safari outing great track !!

Overall the conditions were very good considering all the rain we had a few days earlyer.
the course was very good from tee to green ,very interesting layout no holes are the same .
depending on the tees you select this track can be a hand full and not birdies.
The staff was very helpful and friendly a return trip will be in the near future.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
Played On
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Beautiful day with a good friend

Course was in very good shape except the greens were very slow which is unusual for this track. Played in the men's club for many years so a no brainer on a nice Sunday afternoon. Pace was a little slow which unfortunately is common on weekend afternoons. Person in pro shop said they couldn't mow the greens today because of the recent weather but we had not gotten much rain in the past 24-48 hours but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Still a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

Conditions Average
Value Average
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Fair
Amenities Good
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Top 250 Contributor
Connecticut Advisor
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Used cart

Slow Play, Cart Path Restrictions

I've played Blackledge - Gilead Highlands many times and everytime I play I'm frustrated, mad and confused as to why there are cart path only restrictions on holes 4, 10, 12, 16 & 17. I can understand some restrictions when the course is wet, but not when it's dry. Having to walk from my cart to my ball, with 2-3 clubs, on these holes greatly slows up play. It was evident today (a weekday) because there were seniors ( men and women) playing. As a senior myself, I can't walk as fast as I did 20 years ago. The uphill/downhill trek from cart-to-ball-to-cart added an extra 15-30 minutes to our round, which took 5 hours despite a ranger patroling the course. I play over 30 courses each year and none have these unusual cart path restirctions that Blackledge has. I'd like to see a response from the course re: this subject.

Conditions Good
Value Fair
Layout Fair
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Poor
Amenities Average
Difficulty Moderate
Default User Image
Commented on 06/16/2018

Irex482 - The reason we have cart restrictions on those holes is so that we are able to maintain the excellent playing conditions I'm sure you are use to when playing Gilead Highlands. The way those fairways and surrounds are shaped if we did allow carts on those fairways they would wear cart paths in the playing areas. Also these fairways are bent grass fairways. Most courses don't have bent grass fairways because they are more expensive to maintain, but are superior in condition...

Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Party of 3

Tee time booked for 2 - I call this party of 3 because there was a maintenance worker blowing grass clippings on every single hole....every hole we played, there he was. Super annoying - didn’t stop until the 12th hole. 12 holes of playing with a loud, obnoxious landscaping machine in front of us and then behind us. If you’re going to have the grounds maintained during the day - have them start at the end and work backwards, rather than having them bother you’re customers! Course in good condition - greens are deceiving!

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Average
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played
Windy weather
Walked

Always a Good Walk!

The Highlands course is always a good time for golfers. We have played it numerous times this fall. Easily affordable and accessible it's a little more interesting than its partner Anderson course. The front nine is an easy walk after the opening hill on hole 1. The holes are interesting and the greens in very good shape. The back nine starts with a strange combo of par 5, 3, 5, 3 and finishes with all par 4s. It is harder to walk with a bunch of up, then down, then up holes. The greens are very good and you do have think before just pulling driver every-time out. Some of the newer holes have more interesting bunkering than the older holes.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Average
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Great course and value.

Greens were a bit slow but in great shape. Fairways and tee boxes very good even with all the recent rain. Strongly recommend.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Played On
Handicap 10-14
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Walked

Great New England course

With the tree-lined fairways and stonewalls, the Gilead Course has lots of great New England character. A fun course to play with a nice layout that keeps play interesting. It's not just about going back and forth down straight fairways. Blind doglegs, short Par-3s, hills and plenty of hidden greens for target golf. Course always in good condition. It's a fun round! Nice restaurant across the street at the Blackledge course.

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
First Time Playing

Great Experience

Recently played both the Giliead and Anderson courses at Blackledge after not having played here in years. I was pleased to find excellent conditions. Found smooth true running greens,tees and fairways that are comparable to any private club in the state.The shot quality is varied and will challenge any playing ability in a setting that is purely Connecticut. The golf was complimented by a great lunch at the Tavern. The staff was great and would highly recommend these two courses.

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