Keney Park Golf Course first appeared in 1927, when Devereux Emmet crafted the front nine. The sporting centrepiece of one of America’s first public parks, this layout received a stylish renovation from Matt Dusenberry in 2016.
On my way to Philadelphia Cricket Club, I found a real cricket pitch next to the golf course. (I never saw one at Philly Cricket.) Though I can’t say how good the cricket is at Keney Park, I can say the golf is excellent: the course belongs in Connecticut’s top 10, easily ahead of Hartford and either Lake of Isles course. Plenty of strategic choices here….all but three holes give you a choice between running and aerial approach. And there are a number that require thought from the tee. My favorite was the par five 2nd, a double dogleg with risk/reward choices both off the tee and on the second shot.
Keney Park features lovely green complexes and the putting green—an upturned potato chip—lets you know immediately what you’re in for. So does the first green, which reminded me of Yale’s first if it were turned 90 degrees. Conditioning was good for a muni. Though I had a couple poor lies, I attributed those to recent heavy rains.
My only complaint is the hole names. The Road hole is a dogleg left without anything resembling railroad sheds. The Long is a par 4. The Dell is not blind. And there’s a Redan (# 13) which is called Peninsula.
Keney Park rivals Newport National for my favorite New England public course. I recognize that price is not a factor that should be factored into course assessments. But I must point out that this was the best $30 I ever spent……..on golf at least.