Richter Park Golf Course – Danbury, Connecticut Guru’s Rating: 8.9
Non-Resident Weekend Rate (with cart): $97
The first hole at Richter epitomizes why I love the course: an elevation change amidst an idyllic setting, water a factor, and a difficult decision to make on the tee box. Richter has these features in droves. No two holes are the same and the surrounding natural beauty never fails to disappoint. This place is the definition of a course with character.
Little surprise that Richter Park is found high atop lists of Connecticut’s best public courses. It’s accessible to anyone and simple to book online, which adds to its charm. The one strike against Richter is its lack of a driving range, so plan on taking your pre-round hacks elsewhere.
Most Memorable Hole: Chances are you’ll leave Richter Park with a lot of favorite spots, but number five, a 174 yard par 3, is tough to forget. Lining the hole is the gorgeous West Lake Reservoir, which you’ll have to clear to reach an elevated, two-tiered green, guarded by two large bunkers. It’s a scene worth breaking out your camera for.
Most Challenging Hole: Richter’s “signature” hole is #12, and it’s also its most difficult. The hole (a par 5) measures 527 from the tips, but unless you’ve got a pro’s power fade with incredible accuracy, a straight drive will put you in the woods, and not at the turn of the dogleg right. Even if you hit a perfect tee shot, the chances of reaching this green in two are slim to none; first, because you can’t even see it from the middle of the fairway, and second because it’s engulfed by Boggs Pond. If your approach drifts slightly to the right, you’re wet. If you play it safe and stay left, you’d better be short, otherwise you’re in a bunker in back of the green with an impossible sand shot (one which you need to land on the green or else end up in the water). Once you’re on the green, do yourself a favor and take a moment to enjoy the tremendous views that surround you.
Guru’s Tip: Richter is on the pricey side, but does frequently offer specials. Visit its website and make sure you sign up for email newsletters to stay posted.
The Bottom Line: Richter Park deserves every accolade it receives. It’s a terrific, challenging course set amongst an interesting, unusual backdrop. While not exactly close to NYC (more than an hour’s drive), you won’t be let down if you make the trek.