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Monday, May 15, 2006

Richter Park still offering great value to NYC golfers

Danbury, CT stills affords NYC public golfers something New York City cannot - a public golf course with an interesting design and at a fair price. You really don't need to patronize any of the $80 and up courses when you live in NYC. Alternate Bethpage (Black only), Richter Park in Danbury, Casperkill, Centennial (at twilight), and although Tom Doak will disagree with me, NYers still have a soft spot/blind spot in their hearts for their old favorite - The Monster at the Concord Hotel - and there is little reason to whimper. Each course gives you a chance to get out of the city, play some great golf and get a terrific meal without breaking the bank. The picture above is of the par-5 7th green at Richter.

Richter is a nice muni in good condition with some interesting holes, some beautiful views at a great price. (Around $62 in high season). Highlights include the two par-3s on the front, both all carry over water, one a shofrt iron, one a long iron/fairway wood. My pesonal favorite on the entire course is the long par-4 6th. The blind drive should start at the big tree on the right and draw gently toward the big tree on the left. The long iron/fairway wood approach to the elevated green will be played with the ball above your feet and cannot go left under any circumstances as the green drops 60 feet straight down to the edge of the river.

Looky-loos love to squeal about the fact that the par-5 12th green sits surrounded on three sides by water in the middle of the river. It is an inspired green setting.

If there is a weakness, it's the short par-4 15th. The tee shot calls for a draw, but unfortunately requires the shot to be played in the direction of the course's famous quicksand hazard. Expert deisgners always make sure they never ask you to START the ball AT a penal hazard and hope it curves away because its not fair if you hit the ball where you want, it doesn't curve ENOUGH and you incur a penalty. They would rather you go inthe hazard by hittin gto MUCH of a shot shaoe...not too little.

For those of you who never heard of Richter, you read that right - a nasty and downright dangerous quicksand bog guards the entire right side. They lost a bulldozer in it building the course.

Ss for food, you have two super choices. The course has terrific fish, steak and pasta at the in house restaurant. Ask for Tracey and tell him I sent you and you'll not only get a great meal and service, but some sterling golf talk as well. For those of you who have to hit the road, Rosy Tomorrow's, while having a godawful name, has the best sports bar fare and widest menu I have see between Stamford and Worcester.


Design: Four and a half stars
Natural Setting: Five Stars
Conditioning: Four and a half stars
Value: Six stars
Overall: Five stars


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have played Richter a few times and really enjoyed it. Having a municipal course of this quality is really a source of pride for towns like Danbury. I know several residents of Danbury and really love the course. Although it might be too pricey for residents to play every, it is within reach for nearly everyone for an occasional round. The biggest weakness that I see with Richter is the fact that there is not much a practice range at the course, which is how most new golfers are introduced to the game. Although I have not been to either, I have heard that Wintonbury Hills and Hudson Hills have followed a similar upscale municipal model with success in the NY/CT area. Have you played either of these courses?

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay: What's with the snub on Bethpage Red? That course is seriously legit. Good review of Richter, though.

Anonymous: Wintonbury Hills is really good, and it's not even an upscale daily fee--it's priced like a true muni. Pete Dye, Tim Liddy and Brad Klein are to be commended for what they did with that course. It is definitely worth a visit--but it's basically in Hartford, not part of the NYC scene in the least.

Hudson Hills, in contrast, does follow the upscale daily fee model. It also happens to be AWFUL. There's a reason why several other clubs have tried and failed on that very property--as constituted, it's too small and too severe for good golf. Someone's going to get beaned there one of these days, mark my words. Check out Hudson Hills if you want to see some of the worst par-5s in America. I can't even blame Mark Mungeam for this course--the property just sucks, straight up. I'd take dumpy old Mohansic, two exits up the Taconic, any day of the week over this travesty of a golf course.

3:10 PM  
Blogger A WALK IN THE PARK said...

Your comments on Hudson Hills are wrong. Yeah there are some strange moments, but it much better than Mohansic and on par with Wintonbury...neither still rise to the same level as the Black, The Concord, Casperkill (for value) or Richter (for overall) You're FAR more likely to get beaned at Wintonbury.

3:23 PM  

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