Course Name: Shennecossett Golf Course
Designer: Donald Ross (1898)
Location: Groton, Connecticut
History: Originally founded in 1898 as a 4-hole course, and was lengthened to 18-holes in 1916 by famed golf architect Donald Ross. In 1969, the town of Groton bought Shennecossett and turned it into a public course. Many famous golfers have walked these grounds and it has hosted many state tournaments. This is certainly one of the best public offerings in Connecticut, earning the following awards:
- #9 Best Public Course in Connecticut – Golfweek (2018)
Conditions: 8/10, fantastic conditions, possibly some of the best I’ve ever seen on a public course. Greens were fast and rolled true, while the bunkers and fairways were extremely well-maintained.
Value: 8/10, for a Donald Ross course in this shape on the Connecticut coastline, this course was an amazing deal. Offers twilight rates, and even peak times are under $50!
Tee Par Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 71 6562 71.7 124
White 71 6062 69.3 123
Red 71 5351 70.9 123
Hole Highlights: Like most Ross courses, “Shenny” contains holes with a lot of character. On the first hole, a drive over a busy road starts off the dogleg left. On the second hole, out of bounds guards the left side and the approach shot is over train tracks. The fourth hole is an extremely difficult par 3 that I wasn’t a huge fan of. 215 yards straight uphill to a green that’s essentially an upside down bowl. Any ball not even remotely close to the middle of the green is off. After this hole, the entire front 9 is extremely open, as long par 4’s run parallel to each other.
The back 9 starts off with a bang with a well-bunkered long par 4. Like the first hole, the tee shot goes back over the road. 10 also includes a creek on the left side of the green that collects any hooks. The best holes on this course are found on the stretch 15-17. 15 is a long par 3 (190 yards) that you have to take a tunnel under a road to get to. 16 is an extreme dogleg left where you tee off from a teebox in the middle of the marshes. When you get to the green on 16, you begin to get a beautiful view of the Thames River and Long Island Sound. Groton is the submarine capital of the world and it’s clear to see why. 17 is a fascinating uphill par 4 heading back to the clubhouse. A drive of about 220 yards is needed as the fairway becomes extremely narrow at about 230 yards.
General Comments: This course is an extremely fun course that suited my eye extremely well. The history this course has is quite extraordinary, and the clubhouse contains many cool artifacts. Like most old courses, there is no range at Shennecossett except for an open field next to the 8th hole that you can warm up with. One of the main complaints is the pace of play, which is usually around 5 hours.
Verdict: A combination of great conditioning, history, and value makes this course a must-play when in Southern Rhode Island or Eastern Connecticut. In fact, I’d have a tough time finding a course in the area that is more fun than Shenny, including Lake of Isles. I can’t wait to go back!