GreatHorse Golf Course
|Red (W)||72||5278 yards||71.8||126|
|Red M: 74.9/131||485||583||227||376||480||404||434||615||182||3786||403||582||222||373||585||127||370||388||487||3537||7323|
|Black M: 73.1/123||400||560||202||350||400||386||401||563||170||3432||390||567||202||360||566||120||344||375||456||3380||6812|
|Gold M: 70.7/121||370||533||198||343||389||376||379||542||140||3270||383||538||188||348||540||110||316||370||430||3223||6493|
|Green M: 69.0/119||310||507||170||319||356||351||337||519||130||2999||336||516||175||330||534||100||294||352||424||3061||6060|
|White W: 67.1/113||302||441||122||282||336||330||323||459||127||2722||302||435||157||292||503||94||278||330||383||2774||5496|
This is the most luxurious and well maintained golf course you are going to find in all of Western Mass or northern Connecticut.
Played here as a guest multiple times. Lot of bunkers, fast greens, excellent condition and layout. Very challenging and can be troubling for a higher handicap.
Only tough part is they charge $125 for a guest round.
More than the sum of their (considerable) bunkers!
When I started doing research on courses, one of the things that jumped out at me was the 150+ bunkers (over 8 per hole!) that Greathorse boasted… then I got an email from them saying the website was a little out of date and they now had 207 (11.5/hole… more when you consider #6 has none). This course has bunkers, lots and lots, of bunkers…
What’s great (no pun intended), once you are out on the course, is that it doesn’t feel nearly as gimmicky as you might expect. Yes there is sand everywhere, and yes you will likely find yourself in some of it; however, you can also play a reasonable round of golf and miss the vast majority of them. Most of the fairways have fairly wide and open landing areas with the bunkers only looming for errant shots.
I also did manage a fairway bunker to greenside bunker par on #16, so even if you get into them, the trouble is not necessarily a day-ruiner as long as you keep your wits about you. It’s also worth mentioning that of all the courses I’ve played, these might have been the best playing bunkers I’ve experienced. Not once did I find mud or dirt under a thin layer of sand, nor did I experience overly packed sand or anything else that detracted from play.
There are some exceptions, of course. Number 8 is strewn with traps that all seemed to be in a place I could conceivably put my ball, and number 11 provides a relatively narrow landing strip. But again, most are quite playable if you just make decent shots. Having said all of that, don’t take too much for granted, the 73.9 rating and 133 slope seemed pretty much on point to me and the course does pack a little punch if you get complacent.
My favorite hole was probably 17, which is not only visually terrific off the tee box, but has the elevation changes I very much enjoy; dropping about 30 feet off the tee box into the landing area before climbing back up about 50 feet on your approach shot into the green. Greathorse has a flat “side” and a hilly “side” full of elevation changes. However, the routing takes you back and forth between them so you don’t wind up with a fully flat nine followed by an entirely rolling one. It’s a good bit of design that avoids the feeling of playing two different courses, the continuity is nice.
The par four 6th was also an interesting change of pace, featuring no bunkers but a peninsula green with a rather aggressive slope to it. It’s just a real visual change of pace against all the white sand everywhere, and a different kind of challenge. Number 18 has its own unique flavor, with your drive crossing the entry road to the club... be sure to look both ways!
This track will also afford you the use of as many clubs in your bag as you are comfortable hitting. There are plenty of “driver-wedge” holes that can be just as easily managed with a long/mid iron pairing. I just let the bunkers decide where I was going to place my tee shot… taking what the course gives you is a particularly good idea here.
The course conditions, especially for early in the season were also outstanding. In particular, the bunkers (and their tell-tale edges) were nearly perfect. The tee-boxes were picture worthy themselves and the fairway and green cuts were clear and well-manicured. There is clearly a significant investment in course maintenance here.
The staff at Greathorse is right up there with the best we experienced on this 50 day/round junket; attentive, friendly, energetic, and interested I could run out of ink before running out of compliments. I even had a lovely conversation with a member of the grounds crew fixing a sprinkler line (as I dug my way out of one of the bunkers near him). We covered course maintenance, how many times he has been hit by wayward shots, and a variety of other topics. We also chatted up an intern as she made her way to work, walking up to the clubhouse from the 9th green. Again, just great people all the way around.
It’s worth taking some time to check out the driving range as well. If you break out the big stick and give it a ride, you can put your ball up against the rock wall at the far end. The bunkers on the range are also maintained better than many of those that are actually on-course at many other locations. It’s really a nice setup.
The only thing I really can’t speak to is the pace of play, there really weren’t many people on the course, either in front of or behind us. I can see that things could get backed up a bit of someone kept finding bunkers, but given that it is a semi-private club I get the feeling they aren’t that often overwhelmed.
Overall I thought Greathorse was a terrific experience and far more than the (considerable) sum of their bunkers. If you get the chance, you really should give it a run.
I was able to play at this magnificent establishment as a guest. Overall, GreatHorse is spectacular, you will not find anything like this in our area.
First, the amenities are elite. Spectacular lodge overlooking a magnificent skyline. We had drinks outside watching the sunset at a table with a built-in fire-pit. Awesome.
There is a pool, and tennis, and a fitness center, and everything else you might want or expect.
Now for the golf. For those of you that remember Hampden Country Club, it's the same layout with some major improvements. Fairways are wide, immaculate, firm, and tight. There now must be a million bunkers. #1 and #10 are still downhill par-4's, but 10 has a double sided, bunker filled, unbelievable fairway giving the option of going for it! ... or playing safer tee shot out to the right.
And now for the greens. Tilted, undulated, tight, and FAST. And I mean FAST! I found myself wondering if this is what Augusta is like. You just gotta be on the correct side of the hole, or else. BEWARE! ... the average player is going to struggle on these greens.
For me, for the golf itself (not thinking about those awesome amenities), for this area, for the track itself, I'd still take Crestview or Westover, even Ledges. I could not handle those greens at that speed, would drive me crazy. And after all, it's still Hampden CC ... on super steroids.
I'd definitely recommend anyone to get there if you can. Then up to you if the total package is worth the cost.