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3.6
45 Reviews (45)
5 Stars
8
4 Stars
16
3 Stars
13
2 Stars
6
1 Stars
2
Conditions
3.4
Value
4.0
Layout
4.0
Friendliness
4.6
Pace
3.3
Amenities
3.3
73.4%
Recommend this course
32 out of 45 reviews
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Average Rating
Avg Rating
3.4
27 Reviews (27)
5 Stars
4
4 Stars
10
3 Stars
8
2 Stars
3
1 Stars
2
Conditions
3.1
Value
3.9
Layout
4.0
Pace
3.1
Amenities
3.1
StaffFriendliness
4.5
70.4%
Recommend this course
19 out of 27 reviews
Read Reviews
Average Rating
Avg Rating
3.4
27 Reviews (27)
5 Stars
4
4 Stars
10
3 Stars
8
2 Stars
3
1 Stars
2
Conditions
3.1
Value
3.9
Layout
4.0
Pace
3.1
Amenities
3.1
StaffFriendliness
4.5
70.4%
Recommend this course
19 out of 27 reviews
Read Reviews

About

Holes 9
Type Public/Resort
Par 35
Length 2772 yards
Slope 114
Rating 33.6
Book a Tee Time at
Pomperaug Golf Club
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Course Details

Year Built 1971
Golf Season April - November
Architect Ted Manning (1971)

Rentals/Services

Carts Yes - $11
Clubs Yes

Practice/Instruction

Driving Range Yes
Teaching Pro Yes
Putting Green Yes

Policies

Credit Cards Accepted VISA, MasterCard Accepted
Metal Spikes Allowed No
Walking Allowed Yes
Dress code Appropriate golf attire.

Reviews

3.6
45 Reviews (45)

Reviewer Photos

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Recommended
Handicap
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Played On
Reviews 2
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 1
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Average
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Played On
Reviews 114
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

Headed for Home

I was reminded again today of how course architect Ted Manning created this coherent, disciplined layout, by and over the banks of the Pomperaug River. Drawing on the inspiration of Robert Trent Jones, the course is mostly centered on a pair of large ponds, the first coming into play on holes three, four and five, the second on seven and eight. With water—including the Pomperaug River—in play somewhere on every hole, this is a course about precision play, as a couple of my playing partners, both of whom play it regularly, commented today. Yet only on the seventh (and perhaps nine) does the water really intimidate; elsewhere it seems to hover on the margins. Manning also designed a near-perfect set of putting surfaces, most sloping more with subtlety, only a couple tumbling a bit more. This course is an exercise, then, in restraint, though it certainly challenges someplace on every hole. The par-3’s stand out as paragons, and Pro Dave Cook has ingeniously incorporated a third, to be played alternately on one nine at hole three, which may be the most scenic of these three-pars. And it’s nearly all carry—a beautiful tee shot—over the first big pond.

Pomperaug followed an ever-upward conditioning trend since I first played it three months ago, having suffered, like most Connecticut courses, the effects of a brutally dry summer. Now the fairways, the only remaining question mark, are all back to green and playable condition, though a few are still spotty in areas. The tees have recovered fully—they look great—and the green surrounds are very good as always. Today these always excellent greens were aerated, which certainly affected play, but they should be back in form shortly. I expect the conditioning to rebound fully by next spring. Given this, I would call it, then, a ‘five-star’ experience, especially on the merits of the genial and accommodating staff here, along with one of the best pure nine-hole layouts in the state. One example of staff accommodation today was how my son and I were quickly paired with a second twosome on our second go-around of these nine. We didn’t have to ‘wait in line’ and continued play seamlessly.

Speaking of that, we met four great playing partners today, both couples—one from nearby in Southbury, the other from Bethel. We all enjoyed interesting, engaging and cheerful conversation throughout each nine. There is a certain, indescribable charm that most Western Connecticut residents possess, almost making me wish that I lived back in this part of the state again. In four trips to this Southbury course, I’ve yet to encounter a rude or impatient person anywhere; to the contrary, everyone has been quite affable or simply friendly.

Mr. Brandon Tucker, Senior Managing Editor for Golf Advisor, wrote a fascinating piece on September 29, entitled “There’s No Golf Trip Like Going Home.” In it, he argues that the negative aura we’ve experienced in 2020 may make a golfing road trip, back to where we were brought up, just the antidote for our mild miseries. So he made the trip home to Michigan with his family. It turned out that Mr. Tucker, who has reviewed 600 golf courses now around the globe, found that playing the courses of his youth to be completely enjoyable.

Until this year, I had not played here, my old high school course, for 45 years. Each time I made the trip, I tried to figure out why I felt almost compelled to return to Southbury this year, and return four times, putting up with the one-hour journey, enduring the hassles of the I-84 Waterbury mixmaster. Was it nostalgia? Yes, perhaps a touch of this. Wanting to really see my old hometown? Not really—I had done that anyhow last year.

And then I read Mr. Tucker’s article.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 3
Skill Beginner
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Conditions Average
Value Good
Layout Average
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Played On
Reviews 12
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played

Pace of play

The most friendly staff and players
One negative either there was a tournament or they overbooked so the pace of play was very slow

Conditions Good
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Beginner
Plays Once a week
2.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Conditions Poor
Value Fair
Layout Fair
Friendliness Poor
Pace Average
Amenities Poor
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
1.0
Previously Played

Decision

Greens are in good shape..... I think. But can't judge the entire course because I walked off after three holes. I waited for the group in front of me - a collection of 5 questionable golfers - to clear the first hole before I teed off. When I reached the third hope, they had stopped halfway down the hole and must have been on a beer or some other form of break, because no one was playing golf. After waiting 5 minutes, they proceeded to drive toward the green.

There are no rangers here to enforce rules, etiquette, or pace of play. The course has removed its dress code, and the staff embraces that decision. If you're serious about golf, and enjoy the structure around the game, be prepared.

Conditions Fair
Value Fair
Layout Fair
Friendliness Average
Pace Poor
Amenities Poor
Played On
Reviews 1
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
3.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Pace of play hampered experience

With an 8:15 tee time, I expected to play my nine at a reasonable pace ahead of an 18 at another course I had booked for a 12:30 tee time. The tee time was more or less a confirmation of payment, as time apparently did not matter at the course. After checking in with the starter, we were basically put in a long line of golfers based on time of arrival and not tee time. Our group teed off at around 8:30.

The first three holes took an even hour to play. The foursome in front of us were giving first time lessons to two of the group - full instruction on the fairways, multiple balls played and an almost impressive amount of time chasing down bad shots and hunting for balls at the edges of the water. We all have to learn somewhere, but the first time a person holds a club may be best reserved for a driving range. Sadly, the groups in front of this group were not advancing ahead either. It was a full on traffic jam with lots of cross-fairway traffic throughout the round.

Second three holes took another hour, and we finished our nine at 11:15 - three hours after my “tee time” and 2:45 from our actual round start.

Course-wise, I could tell conditions had improved from a rough dry spell. There is water on multiple holes that doom a right-handed golfer with slicing tendencies. The staff and golfers I played with were very friendly, but the golf experience was below other comparable 9-hole options primarily because of the pace.

Conditions Fair
Value Average
Layout Average
Friendliness Good
Pace Fair
Amenities Fair
Played On
Reviews 1
3.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Fair
Value Fair
Layout Fair
Friendliness Good
Pace Fair
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 2
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 1
Handicap Don't know
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing
Hot weather
Walked
Conditions Average
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 1
Handicap Don't know
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a month
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Perfect weather
Walked
Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Good
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Difficulty Fairly Easy
Played On
Reviews 114
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

First-Rate Track, Improving Conditions

This was my third visit to this fine nine-hole track in six weeks, and the last two times conditions have improved. This time, given some rain, the fairways looked markedly better. A few still lag behind the rest, but clearly all seven of them are now, at very least, decently playable. New pictures I’ve included should reinforce my points. The greens, as always, are simply superb in their smoothness, reliability, and speed.

As my previous reviews have detailed, this is a great layout. There’s nothing special to be added at this point. The course was quite crowded, the parking lot full—both when I arrived and left.

Once all of the fairways return to good condition, this will be the excellent golf course that I remember it to be (I haven’t played it for many years until this July). As always, I enjoyed my round again here today, because this golf course makes you work for pars; only the first hole feels like a routine one. To outthink the rest of them, you’ll need precision and strategy both.

Conditions Good
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Average
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 12
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

Teebox and fairway needs Improvement
Greens or immaculate
Very enjoyable and challenging but flat
I love to walk when I play so this was really really a great course to walk.
Looking forward to playing there again.
Great staff

Conditions Average
Value Good
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 114
Handicap 0-4
Skill Advanced
Plays A few times a week
I Recommend This Course
4.0
Connecticut Advisor
Top 50 Contributor
Previously Played
Walked

Watching the River Flow

Today I played Pomperaug for the second time in about a month, once again enjoying my 9-hole round thoroughly. After last time’s extensive review, here’s a summary version:

1) Though not a long course, Pomperaug poses plenty of challenges, above all by the two par threes, 5 and 8, which are 188 and 205 yards, respectively, from the blues. I needed hybrids to reach their greens and struck the ball very solidly.
2) The two most interesting holes are the third, a short par-4 requiring precision to hit the fairway (it doglegs around a pond), and seven, a monster four-par from the white tees; it is lined entirely on the right by a huge pond.
3) Another pair of excellent holes are two and six, both mid-length four-pars. You’ll need to carefully gauge how you play the doglegs on both.
4) This is a course that generally emphasizes straightness, and can be brutal on those in possession of a habitual slice. Played on the ‘back side’ from the blues, holes four and seven —as five-pars this time—present excellent scoring opportunities.
5) Fairways are of average width, and the greens tend toward largeness. Purpose: to vary pin placements. Shotmakers have some advantages here, but straight hitting may be a more valuable asset in light of the numerous hazards.

All in all, then, this is an excellent test of golf and among the best nine-holers in the state.

The conditioning remains what I observed, for the most part, in early July. Clearly, the greens and their surrounds were being watered extensively as I was playing, but equally clear was that some of the fairways were still—over stretches—browned out and patchy. Nonetheless, some improvement has been made in this department, as overall they look greener. The putting surfaces are ultra-smooth and as good as I’ve played in 2020. I had no trouble gauging putting speeds: they rolled true and consistently.

Other facts, comments and opinions:

A) Met two friendly staffers in the clubhouse, one of them, again, the amiable Mr. Mitchell; service is excellent here.
B) Even on a hot, 90-plus degree day, this flat course is walkable provided you’re fit for it. My clubs came along for the walk on a push cart.
C) Solid Covid-19 response.
D) This is only the second time I’ve played Pomperaug since high school (long ago), but it helps to remember a course like the back of your hand, having played it about 100 times. It also helps to use today’s longer golf balls and to swing driver-heads that feel like tennis rackets—compared to the Wilson wooded-headed driver I used… way back when. Today I managed to hit all nine greens in regulation. I’ve got to bottle whatever the heck it was I was doing.
E) I want to come back here in the fall when conditions closer to optimal. Despite hot weather it was busy today even in the afternoon, though not packed—so pace of play was good.
F) Rumor has it that the private Heritage Village (which abuts this course) is going public next year.

Conditions Average
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 2
Handicap 15-19
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
5.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Hot weather
Walked
Conditions Excellent
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Excellent
Amenities Good
Difficulty Moderate
Played On
Reviews 1
3.0
Verified Purchaser
Previously Played
Conditions Poor
Value Average
Layout Poor
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Fair
Amenities Good
Played On
Reviews 6
Skill Intermediate
Plays Once a week
I Recommend This Course
3.0
Verified Purchaser
First Time Playing

The Senior Center

It’s not bad for the money. Around 20 to walk nine holes. You’re not going to find anything cheaper in the area. The course seemed to be attached to a senior center and I was the only one there under 55. Despite this pace of play wasn’t terrible. Lots of water on the very short course, even from the blues. Tee boxes and greens were taken care of very nicely. Fairways were a bit rough but if you’re not to serious you can always move your ball a foot or two on a patch of grass. Very easy course to walk but keep your head on a swivel because there are lots of beginners here. Overall good cheap place to practice!

Conditions Average
Value Good
Layout Good
Friendliness Good
Pace Fair
Amenities Average
Played On
Reviews 114
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

It’s One Nifty Nine

Pomperaug succeeds as a layout in spite of its flat locale—in the river valley—owing to outstanding design work by its architect Ted Manning, a one-time protégé of Robert Trent Jones.

Here you’ll find doglegs, ponds, big greenside traps, varied green complexes (most set above grade), a double green, small swales, and the Pomperaug River itself, all working in conjunction to keep things entertaining. For shotmakers, few if any dull moments are to be had, while straight hitters should see three or four holes working in their favor. Also—fairly enough—the golf ball may be run onto at least seven of the nine carpets here. Both greens and fairways here are often flanked by some fairly natural-looking humps and large mounds; they don’t look like the once-common “chocolate drops” that often marred a course’s appearance. Water hazards lurk somewhere on every hole, although perhaps they are a bit overdone (if only slightly): three big ponds come into play for slicers on holes 3, 4, and 7; the Pomperaug River is a forced carry on holes one and nine, but only significantly on the latter. Perhaps best of all, you won’t be playing too much ‘lumberjack golf’ at Pomperaug GC. Trees are only dense on the course’s perimeter; they do not line fairways heavily.

The course, to be sure, suffers to a certain extent right now in the conditioning department. Yet it should be said first that the greens deserve special mention for their smoothly rolling surfaces. In fact, the greens, their fringes, and the rough beside them were all manicured and lush. Bunkers were nearly perfect, tees OK. What lagged, then, were the fairways, which had some general patchiness (burning out) in places. Still, landing areas on most fairways were respectable and playable. But the bottom line on conditioning is two-fold: this is summer (the harshest season in Connecticut for golf courses); and I never felt the fairway’s conditions affecting my score.

THE NINE:
Pomperaug’s first three holes, all four-pars, set the tone for the course: they are all subtly well-designed. Hole one, appearing straightaway and open from the tee, is deceptive: two ponds are hidden from view on either side of the fairway, and they’re most dangerous for longer hitters. On the second, a mature, massive tree (rightward) threatens your tee shot most, making the best driving play a gentle fade around the bend of this curving fairway. The hole also sports a clever ‘false front,’—basically a sod-like wall some 20 yards before the green. Acting as an optical illusion, it may fool some into thinking the green is closer to them from the fairway than it actually is.

Hole three, the most artful of this opening trio, is a short, tight, watery, woodsy, and gorgeous set-up that may seduce you into hitting a longer shot down into its bend. But that’s both dangerous and pointless—really—because it’s far safer to lay up to about 75-100 yards and then spin a full wedge into this hard-to-hold green. The green itself, beautifully two-tiered, is the kind that appears to have a buried elephant (albeit a smaller one) underneath its surface. Its contours are dramatic. The entire hole, moreover, is a gem.

Playing on, Pomperaug only gets better. I hit from the back tees today, and the next three holes demanded bigger swings. Into the breeze, the 455-yard fifth—playing as a 5-par—required a stout drive (staying out of the woods left; water right) and hybrid to reach the green complex. A par three of 188 yards, the fifth demands an arrow-straight hybrid or mid-iron—given that we want to avoid a gaping right side bunker and the trees, looming left. Six is the best longer par-four on the golf course, a dogleg-left that is open right with huge trees on its elbow. The prudent course is to steer toward the dogleg’s wide side, but long hitters will also have to respect a pond on the far side of the bend. The semi-table green has plentiful problems about: trees, big mounds, and a large trap on its right flank.

As good as four through six are, the culminating three may well be the best. The seventh ups the ante further, being a long, rightward-swinging four-par the curves around a massive pond running nearly the length of the fairway. And I’m only describing the beginning of the problems you’ll face on this hole. The pro here, Mr. Dave Cook, calls it one of Connecticut’s toughest par-4’s. He’s not overstating.

Eight is a 205-yard corker of a par-three where your tee ball must traverse yet another pond, though the water does not run all the way to the green: the architect, in fairness, gives us a moderate ‘landing strip’ for those shots not perfectly struck. The green itself seems besieged by trouble, mostly in the form of a sizeable, deep bunker on the left and waste areas behind the green.

Nine is a fine finisher, a short 305-yard par-4 which will be a drive-and-pitch affair for most. Yet the pitch, which may end your round with a flourish, must cross the Pomperaug River to the ninth green hard beside it. Lovely. Or perhaps, with an imprecisely judged stroke, not so lovely, as your golf ball meets an undignified end. It shall sleep, as said in The Godfather, with the fishes.
My key takeaway after revisiting Pomperaug was this: I enjoyed fun and relaxing golf that still manages to challenge on all nine holes, none of which are clinkers. That’s an impressive balancing act. What sets the course apart are its varied green complexes: no two are alike in dimensions, contouring, and surrounds. And with two of the best holes of their kind in the state—a clever short four-par at the third and a monster of a two-shotter at seven—there’s a terrific bonus to be had here. Along with Wolcott’s Farmingbury Hills, this nine-hole layout ranks as one of the two best in Connecticut.

For those who haven’t yet tried Pomperaug, this is a course well worth a visit.

Other notes and comments:
1)..Friendliness was great here. Met Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Cook upon arriving, who were both pleasant and genial hosts. When talking with Dave Cook after playing, was impressed by his expansive Connecticut course knowledge.
2) Covid-19 awareness and response is more than acceptable.
3) Nice facility, though smallish. They’ve added an outside dining pavilion that was well used.
4) The course was quite busy, yet pace of play was good.
5) In all fairness, the lack of rain here has affected the conditioning of fairways. Surely they will come back.
6) The community (the course is based in Heritage Village) is prosperous and elegant. I grew up in its surrounding town, Southbury, and played my high school golf at this very course. It was enjoyable back then, and the trees here have today matured so much so that Pomperaug’s character has gained distinctiveness.

Conditions Average
Value Excellent
Layout Excellent
Friendliness Excellent
Pace Good
Amenities Good
Difficulty Somewhat Challenging
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