Stanwich - Connecticut - USA

The Stanwich Club,
888 North St,
Greenwich,
Connecticut (CT) 06831,
USA


  • +1 203 869 2072

  • Scott Niven

  • William Gordon, David Gordon, Tom Marzolf

  • Michael Summa


According to the Stanwich Club, “The name chosen for the club had been part of the local lexicon for nearly 250 years”. We're not entirely sure what that means but wondered whether the name came from a blend of the two cities of Greenwich and Stamford, which are each situated about five miles away from the Stanwich Club? Jeff kindly contacted us and commented as follows: “The local lexicon is that there was a small farming hamlet near the club called Stanwich as it is on the border of the two larger towns of Stamford and Greenwich."

The father and son team of William and David Gordon designed the Stanwich Club and the course opened for play in 1964. The relatively flat course is routed across former farmland and reclaimed swampland. Mature trees line each fairway, water comes into play on half the holes and the greens slope from back to front inviting bold approach shots. Beware though, the putting surfaces are among the slickest in the Met Area and they’re tightly bunkered. It’s these excellent putting surfaces which attract tour professionals to the Stanwich Club when they are in the area.

Stanwich has no shortage of great holes but perhaps the pick of the bunch is the par three 13th which, from the tips, plays firstly over a creek and then a pond. The raised L-shaped green is ringed with bunkers and is wickedly undulating.

Host to the 2002 US Mid-Amateur Championship, Stanwich is not one of the better-known courses in the States, but George Zahringer will certainly have fond memories of the club. Not only was he a member of the Stanwich Club but also he became the oldest winner (aged 49) of the 2002 Mid-Amateur title. It must have been sheer delight to win that title at your home club.

Tom Marzolf from Fazio Design completed a renovation project here in April 2018. “The first hole saw a complete re-imagining,” explained Marzolf. “The old hole was a quick dogleg left that had many trees blocking the path around the corner. We looked to improve the options off the tee and allow alternate ways to play the hole... The hole features a new green shape with two separate fairway approaches around one small central bunker... Work to rebuild five green complexes on the course was done to update variety by adding low cut greenside collection areas."

“On the fourth hole – a par three with a pond nearby – the club elected to move a hole location to the water’s edge,” continued Marzolf. “Bringing the water into play was also a feature of the par four fifteenth green rebuild. Work on the eleventh green saw the removal of a front left greenside bunker, and the creation of shaved down bent grass in its place. On the fifth green, the shape was adjusted to elongate new hole locations which bend around a bent collection area on the back margin of the putting surface.”

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Reviews for Stanwich

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Description: The Stanwich Club has no shortage of great holes but perhaps the pick of the bunch is the par three 13th which, from the tips, plays firstly over a creek and then a pond. Rating: 7.2 out of 10 Reviews: 5
TaylorMade
Bryan Niblick

Stanwich was built by William & David Gordon in 1962 - thirty miles outside NYC. The Gordon father-son team is not well-known due to William’s long career as a project manager for Donald Ross, Devereux Emmet & William Flynn. As a result, a Gordon routing feels more like a pre-war parkland routing rather than built during this dark age in golf architecture.

The character of this course comes from its fast greens, easy walk, natural ponds, century old fountains, a meandering brook and PGA Tour quality conditioning. A long and relatively flat layout with trees lining all 18 fairways, Stanwich is truly a challenging test of golf where you will need all 14 clubs in order to score well. Perhaps its most memorable features are the Gordon-style greens, many say the fastest in the Met Area, canted severely from back to front, bunkered tenaciously with multiple fairway-cut collection areas greenside giving players options with their short game.

From the back tees, the scenic par 3 thirteenth plays over a creek, then a lake, to a slightly-elevated pear-shaped green built around two deep bunkers left and right. The putting surface is pitched generally from back-to-front with a ridge forming a lower back left tier.

The fourteenth plays slightly downhill from the tee to a landing area that wraps around a sea of bunkers defining the first dogleg of this double-dogleg par 5. Longer hitters should note that a hidden pond will catch drives through the fairway but a solid drive will leave a second shot between 200-230 yards over a pond to an elevated green guarded by corner bunkers. One of the smaller greens on the property should provide players a speedy but makeable putt.

The par 5, seventeenth was awarded a place on the MGA’s dream 18. With a brook that parallels the left side of the fairway eventually expanding into a lake in the layup zone and greenside that must be carried on the approach shot. This is one of the prettiest par 5s you’ll find and at 617 yards from the tips it is the hardest hole on the back nine. The collection area long should be avoided as the large putting surface is pitched generously from back-to-front.

Stanwich was built by William & David Gordon in 1962 - thirty miles outside NYC. The Gordon father-son team is not well-known due to William’s long career as a project manager for Donald Ross, Devereux Emmet & William Flynn. As a result, a Gordon routing feels more like a pre-war parkland routing rather than built during this dark age in golf architecture.

The character of this course comes from its fast greens, easy walk, natural ponds, century old fountains, a meandering brook and PGA Tour quality conditioning. A long and relatively flat layout with trees lining all 18 fairways, Stanwich is truly a challenging test of golf where you will need all 14 clubs in order to score well. Perhaps its most memorable features are the Gordon-style greens, many say the fastest in the Met Area, canted severely from back to front, bunkered tenaciously with multiple fairway-cut collection areas greenside giving players options with their short game.

From the back tees, the scenic par 3 thirteenth plays over a creek, then a lake, to a slightly-elevated pear-shaped green built around two deep bunkers left and right. The putting surface is pitched generally from back-to-front with a ridge forming a lower back left tier.

The fourteenth plays slightly downhill from the tee to a landing area that wraps around a sea of bunkers defining the first dogleg of this double-dogleg par 5. Longer hitters should note that a hidden pond will catch drives through the fairway but a solid drive will leave a second shot between 200-230 yards over a pond to an elevated green guarded by corner bunkers. One of the smaller greens on the property should provide players a speedy but makeable putt.

The par 5, seventeenth was awarded a place on the MGA’s dream 18. With a brook that parallels the left side of the fairway eventually expanding into a lake in the layup zone and greenside that must be carried on the approach shot. This is one of the prettiest par 5s you’ll find and at 617 yards from the tips it is the hardest hole on the back nine. The collection area long should be avoided as the large putting surface is pitched generously from back-to-front.

Stanwich has been listed as low as 69th in the US and is currently it’s worst ranking it’s ever been at 156th. Much of that is due to a recent multi-year course improvement project by Tom Marzolf to make the course more playable given heightened green speeds. That work was just completed which should bode well for its national ranking. Regardless of rankings, Stanwich is a wonderful course with many strong holes. The Stanwich Club rightly belongs in the discussion with Yale as the best course in Connecticut.

February 15, 2019
10 / 10
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Fergal O'Leary

The course is long and penal in places with magnificent conditioning. Recent modifications have improved the flow and the fairness of the course. It is one of the most prominent clubs in New England.

August 22, 2017
6 / 10
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M. James Ward

The biggest mistake many people make when assessing courses is the fixation on two specific elements at the expense of the central core. Too many people concentrate on the overall difficulty of a layout and its overall conditioning. There's no doubt the aforementioned items do play a role but more in the support capacity.

The real focus needs to be on the overall architecture -- the intersection of how superior strategy calls upon the golfer to constantly weigh a myriad of key decisions to determine and then provide the execution to go with it.

The Stanwich Club has rightly been touted for its demands. The course is routinely in superior condition and offers putting greens that roll true, fast and smooth. The course also features high rough that borders many of its narrow fairways. Over the years the facility has hosted a range of events -- including US Open qualifying. In sum -- the perfect alignment.

To score at Stanwich requires a machine-like capability in hitting fairways and greens. There's no real dimension of strategic calculations -- it's just a robotic need to repeat time after time after time.

The most noted of holes comes with two quality par-5' on the inward side -- the 12th and 17th.

It's been said by a few people I greatly respect in the golf community that the reason Stanwich is often rated the best course in Connecticut is tied to the fact that nearby in New Haven the turf quality of Yale Golf Club has been a hit or miss situation with more miss than hit.

Golfers have different characteristics they place above others. Conditioning should not be minimized because nothing on the design side can really shine if the turf quality is just not present. The same holds true on the difficulty side. Stanwich came into existence during American golf design that often celebrated big, muscular courses that really pushed the demand side to the forefront. That time has passed and the standing of such clubs is moving more towards the rear than the front.

Compelling architecture is something that strikes a feeling -- a rapture in which you are totally engrossed in all the different ways the respective holes and the entirety of the course come together in such a seamless manner.

Stanwich is a fine layout but it's not one that causes enrapture for me -- an examination certainly but a layout that fails to stir a long lasting emotional connection.

by M. James Ward

April 28, 2017
6 / 10
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Javier Pintos

It was a long time debt to my friend Alberto Agrest, Club Champion in 2013, to finally get my feet on the plane and go to play his home course in Greenwich CT. He had many times told me about it's toughness, great condition and very fast greens (when I say fast, I am saying FAST!). It is a great Club just 5 miles away from his home where I was staying and it is a easy and quick ride from downtown Greenwich. Stanwich Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

I arrived early and as usual when visiting this private courses a nice and deep walk inside the Club House watching Champions Boards, the different rooms and before play a nice lunch in the Terrace which will be torn out and rebuilt 8 feet higher to be able to see the course and the water from there.

The round was a very nice walk with my friend Alberto (who beat me 2&1) and another member and with our caddie Dennis who caddied Alberto when he was Club Champion back in 2013. It was funny because he nicknamed Alberto calling him "Messi". It isfair to say Alberto has maybe the best amateur swing in golf I have ever seen.

Stanwich Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

The course is mantained in pristine shape, every blade of grass was perfect and the beginning of the Fall showed some great colors on all the trees of the course. And the greens ... well you have to play here to see what real fast greens are, we had played Winged Foot East the day before and these were a lot faster (but not as tough to read and play as WF) and the grain being against sometimes which didn't slower the putts.

Regarding the holes and design, if you remember the holes one week after playing them is because they are really good. Short Par 4 1st is a strong dogleg to the left with the green breaking severely from left to right which makes it a tough approach shot. Par 3 4th holes is maybe the toughest of the par 3s and the green is lightning fast from back to front: there Alberto holed a bunker shot from the left aiming it to the end of the green, the ball kept still a short while and then sloped down 8mts to end inside the hole. Par 5 5th is in my opinion the best hole on the course with a flat tee shot and an upright dogleg right second where only very long hitters will get home in 2 shots. Par 4 10th downhill and dog leg left is another one of the nicest, while 12th is a very tough par 4. 13th might be considered the signature hole, a 175yds par 3 over the water where when trees turn red in autumn you will have the nicest picture on the course. 14th is said to be a week hole as the tee shot might be unfair sometimes but I liked the risk/reward ecuation.

All in one it is a great course, a very nice experience and a very nice piece of land and if you add this quality of grass, the speed of the greens and the great caddies it is a great round of golf that you play.

October 13, 2016
10 / 10
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Larry Berle
After my lunch at Quaker Ridge, I met up with my host and we were off to the Stanwich Club for a one o’clock tee time. The Stanwich Golf Club is in Greenwich, Connecticut (about 20 miles from Quaker Ridge). Two courses, two different states, one day: It felt like a landmark.

Stanwich Club was founded in 1964 and designed by William and David Gordon, names I had never heard of before or since. Long, tight, and relatively flat, with trees lining all 18 fairways, Stanwich is truly and imposing test of golf. Perhaps its most memorable features are the Gordon-style greens, some say the fastest on the metropolitan area, canted severely from back to front and bunkered tenaciously at their front corners, with lakes and streams that come into play on eight holes. Larry Berle.
October 24, 2014
4 / 10
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Keith Baxter
October 24, 2014
The above review is an edited extract from A Golfer’s Dream, which has been reproduced with the author’s kind permission. A Golfer’s Dream, by Larry Berle, tells the story of how a regular guy conquered America’s Top 100 Golf Courses (following Golf Digest’s 2001/2002 list). Larry has exclusively rated for us every course in the hundred, using our golf ball rating system. However, Larry did not rate the 100 courses against every golf course he has played, but instead he rated them in relation to each other within the hundred. Consequently, in some cases, his rating may seem rather low. A Golfer’s Dream is available in Kindle format and also on Kindle Unlimited via Amazon... click the link for more.