Routed through woodland to the west of Naugatuck State Forest, between Fairfield and New Haven counties, the course at Oxford Greens is a Mark Mungeam design that first opened its doors to the golfing public in 2005.
The layout features bent grass surfaces from tee to green and the fairways wind across an undulating landscape, embracing both forested terrain and open meadowland.
The par three holes at Oxford Greens deserve closer inspection. “Vista,” the 218-yard 2nd, might actually be the pick of the short holes, playing to a green that lies fifty feet below the level of the tee, with water and sand framing the left side of the target.
The name of the 221-yard 9th (“Skinny”) aptly describes the long, narrow green that accepts only the most precise of tee shots, whilst the 185-yard 13th (“Redan”) is a fine replica of the famous 15th at North Berwick.Completing the quartet of one shotters, both the teeing area and the green at the 170-yard 16th (“Fortress”) are benched into a hillside that slopes from right to left as the hole is played, demanding laser-like accuracy off the tee.
Growing up in Connecticut, my friends and I actively sought out and played the state’s highest ranked public golf courses. With consistently rave reviews since its opening in 2005, we were thrilled to finally make it down to Oxford Greens a few years ago. At the time, the course was managed by Billy Casper, and given the excellent work we had seen their leadership do at our home club, our expectations were high.
Unfortunately, our experience at Oxford Greens could not have been more different than the reviews we had read for years. Our round took over 6 hours, and spots of very long crabgrass emerged all over the fairway and greens, providing a very poor playing surface. Disappointed does not even begin to capture how we felt after making this trip and paying close to $70 in greens fees.
Based on some recent reviews, it seems that the conditions at Oxford Greens are today heralded as being top notch which I am glad to hear. While I found most of the holes to be very cookie cutter, northeast residential style golf, I did appreciate a few key features that were used throughout the round including:
• Wide run up areas into difficult greens, such as the 2nd.
• Various bunker styling, from cross bunkers, to visually intimidating centerline traps, to bunker-less holes.
• Some interesting, canted fairways that require depth of thought with the tee shot.
• Honoring of some cool classic features, such as the Redan 13th.
I will be the first to admit that writing a review after one round played is not a desirable practice, especially when one’s opinion is so strong. However, with so many other far more affordable, architecturally interesting public options in Connecticut (Shennecossett, Keney Park, etc.), Oxford Greens gave me no reason to return. Clearly, though, not everyone holds this opinion. If you want to play the all of the ‘best’ in Connecticut, you should give Oxford Greens a shot!
This was my home course growing up and I can't tell you how lucky I was. From the perfectly manicured greens to the challenging yet rewarding sloped fairways this course makes you a better player. Each hole has character while giving you a world class feel. This has always been a top facility for me even though I travel a lot. Will keep coming back for as long as i can!