O nly in middle age did I settle in the Connecticut River Valley. Actually my home is in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, but I knew to choose wisely enough to be just a 1-iron away from I-91, in order to gain the quickest possible access to all the incredible golf to be found in the region.
Of course getting up and down 91 can be about as daunting as hitting that 1-iron, but my travels consistently demonstrate that there are several dozen courses within an hour’s drive worth adding to the “rotation.”
From this experience of trying to play different courses every week was this website born. Having traveled all over the U.S. and usually with my golf bag accompanying me, I can state without the least bit of reservation that the golf courses of Western New England are my favorite in the country.
Not necessarily the most difficult, but that’s not what I was looking for when settling here. I wanted to play a range of layouts that would both allow me to walk 18 and to take in the beautiful natural scenery of the region. And I hoped the golf would consistently test my skills and imagination without overwhelming either.
Without question I found my sweet spot. The rolling landscapes. The hilltop vistas. The ease with which to get out before the leagues pour in. Donald Ross made his mark here. The sprinkling of “destination” courses. The slope ratings which consistently fall within my range of competence. And let us not forget the extraordinary photogenicness of everywhere you step out to play.
It’s that last factor that inspired this site. What started out as a hobby of photographing magnificent golf holes and backdrops soon led to note taking. Before long, I reckoned that pairing the two might make for some worthwhile chronicling of my journeys along the Connecticut River Golf Trail. It might not have a designation as such, but my resulting site seeks to identify the region as unparalleled in the U.S. for quality of layouts paired with the versatile beauty of landscape.
Never losing sight of the variety of golfers a course might see on a single day, I’ve tried to supply descriptions that are equally accessible to the scratch golfer and the one who frequently scratches his head wondering where his ball ended up. I’ve also attempted to keep my observations attentive to the nature which envelops a golf course. Whether we consciously think about it or not – this is an aspect of the experience that accounts for much of the pleasure of being on a golf course. Simply put, golf courses are a tamed environment at its most beautiful.
My critiques focus almost exclusively on the architectural and aesthetic merits of the courses I’ve played. There are plenty of other sites where golfers vent about pace of play, course upkeep, surly starters, etc. While this is valuable information to have at your disposal, I’d like to invite the site’s readers to concentrate on evaluating courses on their design attributes – or where appropriate, lack thereof.
Please browse CTRiverGolf.com freely. It is laid out so you’ll have a variety of navigation tools at your fingertips. Our search box will allow you to easily research a course you’ve played or might soon be for the first time. You’ll also notice that the site travels far beyond the layouts of the Connecticut River Valley, with listings for courses all across New England. On our companion site, GolfersTravels.com, the emphasis expands even further in this outward direction, steering you to golf options which might accompany your travels elsewhere in the country.
CTRiverGolf.com welcomes your input. We extend many opportunities to share your opinions, whether it’s with our frequently-changing poll questions located on the home page, or by expressing your opinions about individual courses. Reflecting the overall theme of the site, we encourage you to assess a course’s design merits or faults, rather than airing aggravations. The comments are moderated, so I will be intent on keeping them in spirit with the overall theme of the site.
So now that our starter has chewed your ear off, head on out. Either nine is open to you. Our layout is wide open to you. Play it in whatever order you like!