Golf Course Review: Richter Park Golf Course

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Richter Park is nestled in the hills of Danbury, CT.  It is within driving distance of New York City, but more likely played by the residents of Danbury, Fairfield County, and Westchester County.  A 6,744 yard layout from the back blue tees, Richter Park is not a monster in terms of length.  It is however, 6700 yards of great golf.  As the course winds around the hills it’s laid out on, elevation changes make club selection a somewhat tricky task.  Combine that with lightning fast, undulated greens (sometimes severely) and you get a fair but solid test of golf.  The slope of 133 seems low, as the course can certainly play more difficult than that.

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Driving up Aunt Hack road toward the course, you pass the 9th hole on your right, then head into the parking lot.  The modest restaurant/bar and pro shop building set a welcome that can lull you into a sense of calm.  You’ll need that calm for the course as it it can quickly punish or reward you.  The course does lack a driving range which is it’s biggest drawback, as you need to have your A game if you want to score well here.  The practice putting green does however begin to prepare you for the test ahead.  It is fast and runs pretty close to the greens on the course.  It lacks many of the severe undulations you’ll face but you can at least get a sense of the speeds.  Richter Park has some of the fastest greens I’ve played in any public course Connecticut.  It’s not unusual to have your putt end off the green if you’re unlucky enough to leave yourself a speedy downhill putt.  On this course it is a must to leave your approach shots below the hole.

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The course opens with a dog leg right par 4 down the hill into the valley.  Water is in play for long hitters down the right side of the fairway.  A fairway wood or driver (for the shorter hitters) leaves a fairly straightforward shot to the green.  Although not heavily protected, the bean shaped green is undulated and it pays to be in the right part of the green below the hole.  Two bunkers front left and front right guard the green from any shots that approach short and crooked.

Hole number two is a straightaway par 5 with water down the right side.  The kidney bean shaped green is surrounded by 4 large bunkers.  Richter Park has some of the nicest bunkers for a public course.  The sand is nice and white, and not too fluffy.  The hole is reachable in two by the longer hitters but beware those bunkers.  It can be easily played as a 3 shot par 5, and it’s nice to attack the pin with a wedge in your hand.

Hole number 3 is a short par 3 over water.  Club selection can be tricky depending on the wind.  The green is protected by water in front, and bunkers in the back left and back right.  The green is large, like many of the greens at Richter and slope quite a bit from back to front.

Hole number 4 is a challenging par 4.  The number 3 handicap hole is a dog leg right with a tricky drive.  Fairway bunkers on the left protect a wayward tee shot, but beware of going too far right and ending up out of bounds.  A flatter green is accessible after a good tee shot, but watch the winds as they can make club selection tricky.

Hole number 5 is a tough par 3 over water.  A three tiered green forces you to be on the right level if you want to have any chance of birdie on the hole.  When the pin is in the front of the green, you must be on the same level.  A putt from a tier up is almost impossible to stop and many players routinely putt off the green.

The sixth hole is a tricky par 4.  The ideal tee shot is roughly 220 yards up on the fairway right center.  Left is trouble as the fairway severely slopes left, and too long is trouble as well.  From the flat part of the fairway you’ll be left with roughly 175 yards to the green.  This is a tough hole, especially when the greens are really fast as you can’t run it up the fairway short of the hole.  A false front will leave you with a tough shot up to green if you’re unlucky enough to find it and roll down 10 to 20 yards below the level of the green.

The seventh hole requires a carry over water.  The carry is not severe but the dog leg right makes it a difficult hole to reach in two, as your second shot would be blind toward the well protected green.  The whole hole slopes to the left so any mishits that end up left can be in trouble.  Play it as a 3 shot hole and make accurate strikes and you can be rewarded with a birdie opportunity.

The 8th hole is a short par 4 that requires an iron off the tee to the an elevated fairway.  The green is fronted by a pond so don’t leave your second shot short.  It’s a fun and beautifully designed hole that will test your irons.

The 9th hole, with Aunt Hack Lane on your left is a short but uphill par 4.  The tee shot will land somewhere below the hole requiring a delicate shot to the putting surface up the hill.  The nearly heart shaped green is well protected with bunkers left, back and front right.

At the turn load up your favorite beverages and get a bite to eat.  Hamburgers, sandwiches and hot dogs with all the fixins’ are waiting by the 10th tee.

The tenth hole is a par 4, dog leg right.  A tee shot left center near the fairway bunker on the left should provide the ideal angle for your approach shot.  The green is severely sloped from back to front.  Do not go long.  Any putts left above the hole will have a hard time staying on the green.  You have been warned.  The green is elevated from the second shot influencing your club selection.

Hole number 11 is a down hill par 4.  The tee box is roughly 70 feet above the level of the fairway.  You’ve got plenty of options.  Bomb and it leave your self a short wedge, or play conservative and get it in the fairway with 150 yards or so left to the pin.  Either strategy can work well.  Just make sure that you hit the green and don’t leave it short, as a small pond protects the green.

Zen Chili Rating for Richter Park Golf Course

4 Zens out of 5

• Holes are beautiful to look at
• Challenging terrain with lots of hills, blind shots and elevation changes
•Very nice bunkers with excellent sand

4 Chilis out of 5

• Beautiful layout with fast undulating greens
• Challenging holes with risk/reward elements
• Lack of a driving range

The twelfth hole at Richter is a challenging par 5.  The tee shot and second shot are blind.  It is a green the long hitters can go for but it also has its risks.  The green is almost like an island green, flanked by water in front, right, and back.  Going for it in two requires a bit of courage, some luck, and solid strike.  For those not choosing to go for it in two, the third shot is still challenging.  A mid to short iron is all that will be left but the green is well protected.

The 13th hole is a short up hill par three and depending on what the wind is doing can be anything from a pitching wedge to a mid iron.  Bunkers front left and front right protect a undulating surface with a bit of a false front.

The 14th hole is a par 4 from an elevated tee.  The tee box is roughly 90 feet above the surface of the fairway.  Water on the right is reachable by long hitters.  A tee short of the water leaves a mid iron approach shot to a green guarded by bunkers front, left and back.

Hole number 15 is a dog leg right par 4 with a long pond guarding the right side of the fairway.  You can tee off with anything from a driver to an iron on this hole, but the smart play is usually a long iron or fairway wood down the left side of the fairway.  Your approach shot is to an elevated green guarded by deep bunkers front right and left.

The sixteenth hole is a long straight away par 5.  Trouble will find you if your tee shot finds the hazard along the right side of the hole.  Left center to center is your best route up to a wide green.  This hole offers a good opportunity for birdie if played well.

The seventeenth hole is a short par 3 from an elevated tee box.  The heavily bunkered green is wide and receptive.

The finishing hole is a dog leg right par 4.  The hole plays fairly long, with a good tee shot left center leaving a long iron or hybrid approach to a raised green.  Par on this hole is a good score.  Long hitters could bite off a bit of the corner leaving a shorter approach shot, but anything right is in trouble with no angle to green.

Conclusion:

Overall Richter Park is an excellent test of golf.  Fast undulating greens require accurate shots below the hole to have a good chance for birdies or pars.  The layout is tough and challenging with numerous blind shots and tricky approaches.  This is a course that rewards precision in ball striking as errant shots are easily and sometimes severely penalized.  The course is absolutely gorgeous in the fall with the foliage.

Website

Richter Park Golf Course

Rates:

GREENS FEES
WITH CART
Daily
$ 32
$ 50
Twilight
$ 20
$ 33
Juniors
(18 and younger)
(Monday – Thursday only)
$ 10
$ 28
(Carts available w/driving adult only)
Monday – Thursday
$ 23
$ 41
Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Holidays
$ 32
$ 50
Twilight
$ 20
$ 33
Monday – Thursday
$ 85
Carts complimentary
Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Holidays
$ 95
Carts complimentary
Twilight
$ 50
Carts complimentary
Seniors
Monday – Thursday
$ 65
Carts complimentary
Juniors
(up to 18 years)
(Monday – Thursday only)
$ 10
$ 28

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