The Country Club of Fairfield opened for play in 1921 and many reckon it’s one of Seth Raynor’s finest designs despite modifications by A.W. Tillinghast in 1939 and Robert Trent Jones Snr. in 1960.
Flat, windy, exposed and somewhat links-like in nature, Fairfield affords dramatic views, lightning-fast greens and polished conditioning.
Perhaps the best person to comment on The Country Club of Fairfield is author and sportswriter Dan Jenkins, so we’ll give you an excerpt from his controversial book, The Money-Whipped Steer-Job Three-Jack Give-Up Artist.
“I know about Seth Raynor because I like to read golf history. I like golf history, as a matter of fact, better than any other kind of history, including wars I've heard of.
Other than Ben Crenshaw, who lives in the past and wishes his balls were gutta-percha, nobody else on the tour can jack with me on golf history. Ask me who was runner-up to Bobby Jones in the 1926 U.S. Open at Scioto and I'll hit you with Joe Turnesa. Ask me where Johnny Revolta won the 1935 PGA and I'll hit you with Twin Hills in Oklahoma City. Or ask me who Seth Raynor was and I'll tell you he was a man who got his start working with Charles Blair Macdonald, the legendary architect who designed the National Golf Links and everything else out on Long Island except the stock portfolios.
To me, Seth Raynor's best work is the Country Club of Fairfield in Connecticut. I once did an outing up there for socialites. It's short but covered up with charm. But you can't join Fairfield, I hear, unless you've got a photo of your granddaddy sitting on Queen Victoria's knee.”
A mishmash of architects have this great piece of property firing on about half its cylinders - good thing for Fairfield they were originally working with a V12 engine. There are some obvious weak holes but for the most part it's a fun layout with beautiful views. It would be great to get someone in there to restore the course to it's old glory but I'll still gladly head out there and enjoy the loop knowing it could be a top 100 course pretty easily.
Last week after some days at hot and humid Trump Doral and running away from Hurricane Matthew I was invited to play this jewel by my good friend Alberto Agrest (former Argentine and South American Junior Champion) and his friend Mike. It was a sort of rush as I flew that day from Miami, landed at Manhattan and after a 1.5hr drive we arrived at this breathtaking place. With almost no time to warm up (really I didn't need it) and after hitting some putters we went off to 1st tee.
About the course there are many great holes and the greens roll true and very fast, sometimes it is even tough to read the breaks. One of the special features of the course is that par 3 4th was the only hole designed by AW Tillinghast and it is one of the best ones! The stretch around the lake (4-5-6) is the best part of the course, but also 8th, fantastic Redan par 3 9th, par 5 10th from the elevated tee and the final 2 holes are also something really special.
4th hole is a semi island short par 3 usually into the wind where everything right wil be wet, a small target green that needs accuracy. 5th is a risk reward short par 4 where longer hitter can go for it, but you need to carry 260yds over the water. Then 6th a great long par 4 with water all along the right side of the hole. 8th is a great par 5 with OB all along the right side with a tough elevated green. 9th is a true redan hole who plays really similar to National Links of America´s one. 17th a long par 3 with a 170yds carry over water and 18th a straight uphill par 4 with one of the toughest greens of the course.
It was a great experience walking the course with Mike, listening to stories about the past years and playing one of Raynor´s masterpieces. We staying for a long 19th hole beer and saw college golfers putt of the green on 18th.
A small charming Club House, very kind staff and a nice hat I took as a memory completed one of those very special golf days.
Are there better courses? Maybe yes, but the piece of land and the setting of CC of Fairfield is really very tough to beat!