On the very first day Litchfield Country Club opened for business, there was a registered hole-in-one.
Mrs. Lewis B. Thompson, the wife of the then-general manager, drilled one on No. 17. We imagine the crowd went wild back then, November 19, 1966, to be exact. More holes-in-one have followed in the last six decades, and plenty more will follow suit.
These aren’t those types of holes.
At Litchfield, four holes in particular have found a creative way to extend Willard Byrd’s design legacy. This course isn’t massive. Instead, it’s all about shot-making and precision. It’s all of 6,300 yards from the whites, and these four are going to make you earn every inch.
NO. 6, PAR 4, 363 YARDS
How comfortable are you with a 200-yard drive? You’re about to find out. The third dogleg of the round is set at a cool 75 degrees. Try to muscle up and cut the corner, you’re likely to end up in the tree line. Drill one straight and your ball could scoot right on through the fairway into more trouble and even a sliver stream on the far side. Simply, there isn’t much room for error. Shelf the driver, play it safe so you can try to get at the green surrounded by three bunkers in two or three and move on to the next hole.
NO. 13, PAR 5, 498 YARDS
The shortest of Litchfield’s four Par 5s is unlike any of the others. This skinny fairway is sandwiched on the left by water from the tee box to the green and on the right by the tree line that separates No. 13 from 15 and 16. All the while, you’re asked to navigate those 498 yards. Most players here aren’t even going to come close to hitting that 150 marker in one, and that’s OK. The goal here is to keep your ball down the middle, even if that means sacrificing a bunch of distance. The saving grace is that the greenside bunkers are split wide of the front of the putting surface, meaning you could run it up – thus continuing the safety play. (top photo)
NO. 15, PAR 4, 330 YARDS
For as difficult at the tee shot can be, the pond that juts into the fairway some 25-30 yards in front of the green absolutely shapes this hole. Because of that little bit of water, big hitters have no choice but to ease off the driver and those who don’t quite hit it far enough have an even more difficult second shot, even if they do find the fairway. The inlet, so to speak, swallows up golf balls galore and makes what otherwise would be a calm hole into a potentially dangerous lead up to the stretch run.
NO. 18, PAR 4, 386 YARDS
Many of the same issues on No. 15 rear their head again on the finisher. Only this time, that offshoot of a larger pond chases a dogleg, a decent sized bunker on the furthest edge of the fairway and a safety bunker mere yards in front of the water. Anyone using a driver from the tee box is flirting with a hellacious finish that could have been much better with some hesitation and a lesser club. The green itself is massive and relatively tame by comparison. All you have to do to take advantage of it is get there in one piece.