Course Name: Richter Park Golf Course
Designer: Edward Ryder (1972)
Location: Danbury, Connecticut
History: Richter Park was created in 1968 when Stanley and Irene Richter donated 230 acres to the town of Danbury for recreation. In 1972, a golf course designed by Edward Ryder opened in the park and has been owned by Danbury since. The course is highly regarded, earning the following accolades:
- #38 Best Course in Connecticut – Top100golfcourses.com (2020)
- #9 Best Public Course in Connecticut – Golfweek (2022)
Conditions: 7/10, For a municipal course, Richter Park in is good shape overall with nice fairways and greens that roll true. The teeboxes and rough were a bit hit-or-miss when I played but were definitely adequate.
Value: 7/10, Danbury residents receive great value at Richter Park with rates ranging between $44 and $52 to walk depending on time. Further discounts are available to seniors, juniors, and students but out of state golfers will have to pay up to $89 for peak times.
Tee Par Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 71 6547 71.3 130
White 71 6119 69.2 128
Gold 71 5335 65.9 115
Red 71 4922 68.3 119
Hole Descriptions: Richter Park is a course I had been meaning to play for several years but is a very difficult teetime for non-residents, forcing me to wait. I finally got the chance to play here one Fall weekday and came away with overall positive impressions. Beloved by locals, Richter Park occupies a large property with two nines divided by Aunt Hack Road. The front nine is the better side featuring some memorable holes playing around and over the West Lake Reservoir on a hilly property. The back nine is tighter, tree-lined, and features some significant elevation changes. The course holds almost a cult-like status to Danbury residents, and they should certainly be proud of having a municipal course this solid. In terms of Connecticut public golf, I think there are better courses on the coastline and east, but this is likely the best public course in the western part of the state. It is worth a play if you’re able to get a teetime.
Richter Park’s opening hole is a downhill, dogleg right 398 yard par 4 that’s one of the better holes on the course. With OB down the right the entire way, this fairway trundles steadily downhill and turns right around 250 yards. This approach plays at least a club less to a two-tiered, back-to-front sloped green defended by bunkers short on either side.
The 2nd hole is a straightaway, level 518 yard par 5 with trees down both sides and a water hazard running down the right the entire way. This hole is a bit claustrophobic and accuracy is important here. This green is large but contains multiple plateaus and is well-defended by numerous bunkers left and short.
Both par threes on the front use the reservoir to their advantage and are intimidating holes playing over water the entire way. The 183 yard 3rd hole is the first of the two and is a tough one-shotter featuring a severely back-to-front sloped green defended by water short and bunkers left.
At 430 yards, the 4th hole is one of the longer par fours on the course playing as a tight dogleg right. Large bunkers line the fairway on both sides of the dogleg around 265 yards and a road lines the right for those who miss big. This green is large and slopes right-to-left defended by bunkers on both sides.
Also playing over water the entire way, the 5th hole is another par 3 at 174 yards. This is one of the best holes on the course featuring an intimidating teeshot to a back-to-front, two-tiered green defended by bunkers on either side and a hill long.
The 6th hole is the number 1 handicap at Richter Park and my favorite hole as a 413 yard dogleg left par 4. This hole features a semi-blind teeshot to a heavily right-to-left sloped fairway that kicks balls towards the treeline and water. At about 300 yards, this fairway ends with a creek and valley leading to a right-to-left sloped green.
The 7th hole is another very attractive hole playing as a 526 yard dogleg right par 5. This hole begins with an exhilarating teeshot over 140 yards of water to a tight, tree-lined fairway that bends right and cants heavily left towards the reservoir. Those who are long and accurate may be able to reach this green in two but those with poor teeshots will be left an awkward, blind lay-up. This green is quite narrow and is defended by bunkers on either side.
The 8th hole is a quirky 359 yard par 4 featuring a completely blind teeshot to a severely, undulating and downhill fairway. Longer hitters may want to think twice about driver, as a speed slot can propel golfers into the water at about 300 yards. A tiny sliver of fairway down the left connects the main fairway to a relatively flat diagonal green that juts into the water.
At 344 yards, the 9th hole is one of the shorter par fours at Richter Park playing over a valley and then back uphill. Aunt Hack Road runs down the left side for the hole’s entire length while a bunker left at 215 yards and large clump of trees right are to be avoided. This approach plays back uphill to a back-to-front sloped green defended by bunkers on all sides.
At some point, the 10th hole was converted from a par 4 to a par 3, likely to facilitate and protect the range down the left side of this hole. Today’s current 10th is a tough 185 yard one-shotter playing uphill at a somewhat awkward angle to an elevated, back-to-front sloped green defended by a deep bunker short left.
The 11th hole is a fun 387 yard par 4 playing quite downhill from an elevated teebox to a generous tree-lined fairway. This approach plays over a pond to a subtle green guarded by a bunker left.
The 12th hole is supposed to be Richter Park’s signature hole but for me could’ve been better. A 527 yard par 5, this dogleg right has more “leg” than “dog” which I am never a fan of. Initially this teeshot plays uphill towards a tight, tree-lined fairway that turns hard right around 195 yards. Due to tall trees down the right, cutting the corner is nearly impossible here and many golfers are forced to take out less than driver from the teebox. From the dogleg, this hole plays narrow and straight over an undulating fairway. While I dislike this hole up to this point, the approach is quite nice to a peninsular green surrounded on three sides by water and a bunker long. In the distance, you catch a glimpse of the ultra-exclusive Morefar Back O’Beyond course.
At 161 yards, the 13th hole is the shortest hole on the course but plays at least a club longer uphill. This par 3 is a nice hole featuring a back-to-front sloped green defended by bunkers on either side.
Playing from an extremely elevated teebox, the 417 yard 14th hole is another fun par 4 that plays much shorter downhill. After the teeshot, this hole plays rather straight and level with a tree-lined fairway and pond down the right at 310 yards. This green slopes back-to-front and is surrounded by four bunkers in all directions.
Unfortunately, both the compelling architecture and land movement come to an end after 14 and the closing holes are some of the most nondescript on the course. At 342 yards, the 15th hole is the shortest par 4 and features a wide fairway lined by a creek down the right. At about 260 yards, this fairway narrows to basically nothing and golfers would be wise to lay-up short of this. This green contains two tiers and slopes back-to-front lined by a bunker left.
The 16th hole is the longest par 5 at Richter Park at 580 yards and plays straightaway lined by trees down the right and water left. This fairway then continues rather narrow and slightly uphill towards a green defended by bunkers right that plays somewhat like a punchbowl.
The 17th hole is an 165 yard slight downhill par 3 playing toward a flattish green lined by bunkers on either side. There’s not much to this forgettable penultimate hole.
Richter Park’s closing hole is the longest par 4 on the course at 438 yards and the toughest hole in my opinion. A dogleg right, this hole features an awkward teeshot to a fairway that turns right around 230 yards with trees down the right and a bunker down the left at this point. This approach then runs steadily uphill towards a back-to-front sloped green defended by a bunker left. It will be hard for most golfers to reach this green in regulation.
General Comments: Richter Park features a standard clubhouse and short range nearby. A solid practice green and chipping green abut the 1st teebox. Pace of play was just average when I played and this course gets heavy play.
Verdict: A tough teetime for non-residents, Danbury’s Richter Park is one of the country’s better municipal courses and likely the best public course in Western Connecticut. The course is far from perfect but is worth a play due to its hilly terrain and strong variety over a tree-lined, hazard-filled property.