A Golf Purist’s Dream

Colonia Country Club is a golf purist’s dream. Built in 1898, this is a golf course where par is a sacred score, even on the calmest days. There are no tricks, and no overabundance of anything—water, trees, or sand—and for this reason, Colonia stands proudly alongside the other dozen pre-1900 architectural masterpieces in the state. It is a mighty mite—a formidable foe of just 6,380 yards. But what it lacks in length, it makes up for in intrigue.

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“This golf course plays tougher than a lot of 7,000 yard courses,” said longtime Superintendent Lance Rogers. “Here, a golfer needs to put the reins on their tee shots, and come at the greens from a comfortable distance.” It is a walk back through time, one of those rare places where golf simply feels more like golf. Originally laid out as a nine-hole course by Scotsman Thomas Bendelow in 1899, Colonia demands you have your wits about you.

Since it is all wrapped in approximately 100 immaculately maintained acres, landing areas are narrow, but it is the greens that are the equalizers at Colonia. They average only 4,500 square feet with mostly subtle undulations. The greens weren’t built to roll at 11 on the stimpmeter, but that’s the way they can play after they are double-cut each morning.

Highlights include No. 4, the toughest ranked hole, and a textbook example of risk/reward. A par-5 of 528 yards, it plays to the largest green on the course, which is guarded by a pond in front. No. 13, its green sandwiched between two huge willows and fronted by a wrap-around pond with a stone wall, might be the prettiest. Elsewhere, Colonia is comprised of holes which force golfers to work the ball both ways, and a tremendous mix of long and short par-4s.

The second nine was added by Robert White in 1923, and the holes were interspersed. Renovations were made by Hal Purdy in 1969, and Frank Duane, an associate of Robert Trent Jones Sr., in 1970. As for an old-world feature, golfers cross under New Dover Road to reach holes 4-7, come back for 8-12, and go back over for No. 13.

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