WampanoagWest Hartford, Connecticut
- Address60 Wampanoag Dr, West Hartford, CT 06117, USA
The Wampanoag Country Club, west of Hartford, features a Donald Ross design that seems to have suffered much "tinkering" since it opened nearly a century ago. Alterations annoyed a few members so much that they founded the Donald Ross Society during 1988 to protest the mutation of the master's classic designs.
Although a number of brooks provide visual stimulation throughout the round, few should be realistic foes for the competent golfer. There are a few exceptions, of course. One is the correctly-named “Dog Leg,” which requires a drive over the brook (easy) and then an approach over another stream to reach the green in regulation (not so easy).
Another interesting feature on this design is the back-to-back par fives that occur at Nos. 11 and 12. Although modern technology has made both reachable for the bigger hitter, it’s clear that the former was intended to be an eagle opportunity during its day (463 yards), while the latter would have been a more stiff challenge (510 yards). Today, players can go for the latter green in two, but their approach will be challenged by a large sand hazard that tightens the fairway, reminiscent of the infamous Hell bunker at St Andrews.
The stiffest test at the course, however, is No. 8 “Old Baldy,” a long par four (440 yards). If the hole is named for a grouchy founding member, the description matches the mood of the hole well.
Wampanoag is author Brad Klein’s home club who devoted several pages of his book Discovering Donald Ross to the development of the course. Klein termed much of the course changes down the years as “regrettable tinkering” so he’s been working on a Master Plan (along with architects Kyle Franz and Tyler Rae) which is due to be presented to the membership in early 2021.
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Donald Ross worked with Old Tom Morris at St Andrews in 1893 then spent part of the following season at Carnoustie before returning to serve under the Dornoch club secretary John Sutherland.