I very much wanted to like Hotchkiss. As a member of the Seth Raynor Society and the author of a history of a Raynor course, I was looking forward to playing another Raynor work.
Alas, it was not to be.
The highlight here is four greens (3, 4, 6 and 8) that make for challenging putting. Though not necessarily what one would think of as typically Raynor designs, they are fun nonetheless. The fun is somewhat muted by their lack of speed: 7.5 on my stimpmeter. There are template holes as well: an Alps at 3, a Short at 5 and an Eden at 8. There’s only one fairway bunker so the strategic choices one associates with Raynor are non-existent.
The course is quite short, 6160 yards at most. That, at least, is what the scorecard says. It’s difficult to verify as there are no tee markers. There’s no fairway irrigation and plenty of weeds and bare spots in the fairways. Most of the greenside bunkers have no lip so putting from them is an option. The worst aspect is the poor maintenance of Raynor’s squarish greens. Almost every green has sections that have been allowed to become fairway: ten, twenty, and in one case thirty, feet of original green have been lost.
Let’s hope that if Hotchkiss were given custody of a notable historic book or painting, it would provide better stewardship than the poor care it has taken of its historic golf course.
Date: February 19, 2021