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5.0
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5.0
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5.0
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5.0
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5.0
Pace
4.0
Amenities
5.0
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5.0
1 Reviews (1)
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5.0
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5.0
100.0%
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5.0
1 Reviews (1)
5 Stars
1
4 Stars
0
3 Stars
0
2 Stars
0
1 Stars
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Conditions
5.0
Value
5.0
Layout
5.0
Friendliness
5.0
Pace
4.0
Amenities
5.0
100.0%
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About

Holes 9
Type Public
Par 35
Length 2986 yards
Slope 117
Rating 35.1

Course Details

Year Built 1955
Architect Al Zikorus

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes
Clubs Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range No
Teaching Pro Yes

Policies

Credit Cards Accepted VISA, MasterCard, Discover Accepted
Metal Spikes Allowed No

Food & Beverage

Bar, Grill, Restaurant

Reviews

5.0
1 Reviews (1)
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Played On
Reviews 104
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Top 100 Contributor
Connecticut Advisor
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Walked

Cornerstones of Excellence

Stonybrook is not only a fine golf course but also a beautiful one, set notably in the town of Litchfield, whose downtown green looks quite similar to that of Stockbridge, Massachusetts—painted panoramically by Norman Rockwell (1967) at Christmas time. But it’s unlikely that you’d ever play a sport like golf here, high in the Litchfield Hills, at Christmas. The course is tucked a few miles out of Litchfield’s mainstream in a secluded countryside setting. Playing here for the first time, I enjoyed it immensely. Clearly, this Albert Zikorus designed layout is one of his most inspired among the many I’ve encountered. The routing is excellent. And that, coupled with Mr. Zikorus’ unerring judgment on green siting and the use of hilly terrain here, put this in the first rank of nine-hole tracks throughout Connecticut.

There are some key preliminaries to consider about the course, especially because it may seem on the scorecard an unassuming nine-holer. First, there is no kind and gentle beginning here over the first few holes. And along about the fifth, Stonybrook turns even stonier, as if suddenly morphing into a small-scale version of Bethpage Black: very steep fairway slopes, difficulties all about (and on) the greens, an utter lack of charity on certain greenside misses. By the time you’ve finished the ninth, you’ll be thanking heaven that you’re game has been in order—if, that is, it actually has been. This is the toughest nine-hole track I’ve played in Connecticut. Only Farmingbury Hills approaches it in hardness, but not hole-for-hole. I usually see the value of slope ratings, but the slope (118) here is as pointless as a gate with no fencing on either of its sides. I would judge the ‘real’ slope to be more like 130. A second point is that the greens are quite small on average, so you’ll need a solid short game to score here, especially in the putting and high-lofted pitching departments. Being skilled with a lob wedge is virtual necessity. The good news, though, is that hitting fairways is not the toughest aspect of the course; they’re relatively generous in most cases. Finally, strong iron players will be pleased to note that these mostly small greens with big drop-offs give them a key advantage over their fellow competitors.

Although these nine are listed at 2986 yards on the scorecard (back tees), they play longer due to frequent elevation changes—a couple of them moving steeply upward. You’re challenged immediately on the opening 545 yard five-par, travelling uphill all the way to its green. The drive demands a shot to the fairway’s left side to accommodate the slope; the second shot must favor the right to open up the green. On the approach, make every effort to avoid the green’s ultra-steep falloff rightward. But do miss the green right on those occasions when you feel like playing fiendishly hard lob shots.

The third is another green featuring some extremes: Its dimensions are tiny for a downhill 140 yard par-3, at some fourteen yards wide by twenty long (shades of Donald Ross). It’s also surrounded by dense rough and a large bunker to the right. The fourth is the one hole I found a bit ordinary on this nine, especially because the blue tee aims you at trouble (a line of trees—and beyond that a downslope) on the fairway’s right side. Only a pronounced draw will get the job done if you expect to be far down the fourth fairway.

At the fifth, things shift into high gear. This fairway, beautifully proportioned to accept a hybrid or FW wood, sports a generous bail-out right. But things toughen drastically on the approach. This must fly directly uphill to what I found to be a questionably shallow green for holding a short iron. I suppose repeated rounds here will tell more. As a hole on which you just might be able to drive the green by cutting the dogleg, the 320 yard four-par sixth tempts from the tee. The prudent drive, however, will best find the straight-ahead landing zone. From here, hit a wedge into a green which is narrow in the front and bunkered left. The back and sides of this green are lethal.

Something of a breather after the demanding seventh, the 315-yarder at eight is notable for its beauty. But it’s also perilous. The big miss off the tee will be a pull or hook that finds a large, lengthy pond. Beyond that, the difficulty even seems to increase a notch on your short iron/wedge into a somewhat elevated (huge bunker in front) green. Its heaving contours may do what they wish with your golf ball unless you’ve managed to hit a good landing spot.

Nine presents a daunting tee shot dead uphill to a green protected around its front and sides by precipitous falloffs. Its putting surface itself is none too generous in size, and into the breeze my tee shot played two clubs longer than its 174 yards. Consider a par on the ninth a good finish.

Hardest Hole: Seven, 384 yard par-4
On the scorecard, seven may seem a routine two-shotter. When I stepped on its tee, though, that view changed: the fairway, steeply downhill and 35 yards wide, is guarded by woods on the right and a brook around the rest of its perimeter. Your approach shot runs straight uphill to a perched, sloping green bunkered on its right flank.

Favorite Hole: The Second
At 393 yards and moderately downhill, you’ll see the landing zone well, along with a beautiful backdrop behind the green. This surface slopes gently downward from back to front, but you’ll have to carry two frontal bunkers to get on, while a third lurks to the left. It’s both an aesthetically pleasing and challenging golf hole.

Given the kind of character and challenge inherent in Stonybrook, it will be on my rota every summer now, most likely in conjunction with another nine-holer somewhere along the way.

Other notes, comments, and opinions:
A)..Staff was friendly, especially Chris at check-in. She was knowledgeable and especially helpful by moving up my tee time a bit when a gap in play arose (I arrived early); she keeps close tabs on goings-on here.
B) Also met a very affable couple, Debbie and Bob (I’m losing my grasp on names, so I hope I have both of these right) who told me they’ve seen a fox at Stonybrook every single time they’ve played until today’s round. Bob is a native-born Hawaiian, and Debbie a grad, like me, of Pomperaug High (a proud Panther!). No surprise—they love playing here and do so frequently.
C) The facility has a good handle on Covid-19 restrictions and precautions.
D) Clubhouse is large and spacious in its dining area; all drinks (restaurant is currently close) served on a great patio with views of course.
E) My son played in a Junior PGA event today at Stonybrook’s sister course: Fairview Farms. Having had a good look around the premises there from the clubhouse area, I’ll say that the course looks first-rate, with a TPC aura; the clubhouse, too, is upscale and first-class.

Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Excellent
Difficulty Extremely Challenging
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