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Saturday, September 5, 2009
Bull's Bridge Is A No-Bull Course
Sorry, couldn't resist the title. Bull's Bridge is a relatively new (2003) gem of a course in Litchfield County, CT. It's a Tom Fazio design set in the foothills of the Berkshires, making Bull's Bridge one of New England's most picturesque tracks. The 6,992 yard course takes full advantage of sweeping vistas and routing up, down, and around some breathtaking elevation changes.
Like most first-timers at the club, I took a quick look at the card, saw a bunch of short par fours, and assumed Bull's Bridge was going to be a push over. When I stood on the first tee (a 534-yard par 5) and saw how steeply downhill it fell, my confidence soared. No reason not to be on in two and putting for an eagle! Five strokes later, I approached the second tee with a little more caution.
Bull's Bridge is a golf tactician's dream. Nearly every hole brings both distance and direction decisions into play for almost every shot. The second hole, a 322-yard par four that also plays steeply downhill is a prime example. It's easily driveable, but watch what you wish for. The large, inviting green slopes away from the player, so even a shot carefully played from the tee to the front edge will run off the back of the green and end up in deep rough, trees, or even a marshy area behind the putting surface. After the first few holes, I'd hit a dozen scrambling shots just to keep my head above water and was already plotting another round to recoup my self respect.
The CSGA (Connecticut State Golf Association) Tournament of Champions will be held September 24 at Bull's Bridge as it has since the event's inception. The tournament will bring together a field of club champions and winners of other CSGA major tournaments in an 18-hole stroke play event. I'm sure even these top players will find the course a worthy test of their games.
The club has many other great member-friendly features. There's a fairly-new clubhouse with golf shop, locker rooms, and dining and bar area that opens out onto an airy patio. Bull's Bridge also recently added a six-acre practice area with two sets of tees. You'll be able to hone just about any shot you'll play on the course with six target greens, two fairway bunkers, and an uneven lie area (which will come in very, very handy). There's also a 3,000 sq. ft. putting green that replicates both the speed and contours of the Fazio-designed greens you'll play on the course.
I can't wait for another invitation to come back and apply a little of my hard-earned local knowledge to this hidden gem.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo