Historic Goodwin Park and Keney Park Golf Courses are tee'd up for the season after extensive renovations. (contributed photo)
Hartford, CT - As Hartford continues to undergo a renaissance attracting new residents, residential construction and urban amenities, two iconic recreational attractions have been rejuvenated. Goodwin Park and Keney Park Golf Courses recently completed extensive renovations and are looking to attract new legions of players. Affordable Season Passes, convenient locations and a friendly layout make the courses accessible for everyone regardless of skill level.
Although the weather hasn’t been cooperative, enthusiastic golfers have already been able to hit the links a few times, according to Joe Mentz, Head Golf Professional at Goodwin. “The courses are open and we now we are just anxiously waiting for Spring to actually begin for the grass to grow. Both courses survived the winter with no loss of turf and have enjoyed several days of hosting well over 100 players.”
In 2013, the City of Hartford invested over a million dollars in equipment, repairs, and proper maintenance practices at Goodwin. The new logo for Goodwin Park Golf Course is a biplane, as the area that the North Course currently occupies was once used as a mail carrier runway for airplanes. The unique facility consists of four distinct areas for golfers to practice and improve their game:
The North Course is affectionately known as the “Flat Nine.” The course consists of 8 par fours and a short par 3. This course is great for the beginning golfer that wants to avoid bunkers and water hazards as there are none on the golf course. For the experienced golfer, the course provides an excellent opportunity to improve, as the main challenge is the narrowness of the fairways that tests the ability of the golfer to hit wedges close to the hole and require accurate driving of the golf ball to score well.
The South Course is an 18 hole championship course that plays to a par of 70. The course places a premium on being able to control the golf balls flight and direction. Many holes provide the golfer with options where the level of risk taken can result in a great opportunity or a difficult recovery.
The Practice Range is open daily and provides high quality mats, practice balls, and multiple targets to practice direction and distance control.
The Practice Green offers the ability to practice chipping and putting under golf course-like conditions. The slope and speed of the green simulates what the golfer will experience when playing. The green is surrounded by a fringe and rough area allowing for short game practice.
Additionally, the new restaurant at Goodwin is operated by Tyler DeVaux and is called the Hangar in keeping with the theme of the new logo.
The outdoor Pavilion has been expanded to host outings and tournaments of all sizes. Outing prices are only $45 per player during the week and $50 per player on the weekend. The price includes 18 holes with a golf cart. The Hangar Restaurant provides food and beverage service for all outings.
The largest, high profile outing schedule at Goodwin for 2018 is the Hartford Women’s Open on June 9th and 10th. Round 1 will be at Goodwin Park and Round 2 will be played at Keney Park Golf Course. It features some of the most talented professional and amateur women coming from across the country.
Goodwin Park is encouraging more women to get in the game by hosting the newly formed CT Latinas Golf Team founded by Estela Segarra.
“Estela has a passion for golf and wanted to encourage other women from the Hartford area to play,” said Mentz. “We know golf can be intimidating, so we are offering three 6-week sessions for women to learn the fundamentals of golf, play the game and network in a fun and supportive environment.”
Goodwin Park GC and the Latinas Golf Team will meet every Wednesday evening at 5:30pm for a short instructional period followed by 9 holes of golf. Fellowship will follow each session in the Hangar Restaurant. All talent levels welcome.
For anyone else looking to try golf, personal instruction is available with Mentz. He has a great deal of knowledge on the short game and is Eyeline Golf certified as a putting instructor. Junior golfers under age 16 can join the summer PGA Jr. League. “I enjoy coaching young men and women to achieve their personal goals and more importantly become people of great character.”
Word has gotten out to experienced golfers that Keney Park Golf Course is a course to be conquered after a massive $6 million restoration which included completely renovated tee boxes, fairways, greens and bunkers, as well as an updated clubhouse. It was chosen as Connecticut’s #3 course in 2017 by Golfweek magazine. It’s the first time the course made the list.
During the renovation/restoration, architect Matthew Dusenberry of Dusenberry Design added some undulations to the greens. Dusenberry, a Milwaukee-based golf course architect, was a longtime associate at Greg Norman Golf Course Design, and has worked on layouts such as Doral in Miami and Doonbeg in Ireland.
The new green complexes are becoming the signature feature at Keney. “Greens and their surrounds can have a major impact on how a hole is played and when a pin position is moved, the strategy will change drastically,” said Peter Seaman, PGA Head Professional at Keney. “By varying the slope, size and shape of each green, the architect created distinctive challenges for players that force them to think their way around the golf course.”
To further improve a player’s skills, Seaman notes Keney now has a fusion technology launch monitor called FlightScope that will provide incredibly useful data including; ball speed, launch angle, clubhead speed, face angle, angle of attack, carry distance, clubhead path, and more. It is a valuable tool in lessons, clubfitting, set gapping, and practicing.
“Golf in Hartford now offers two great golf courses that will appeal to a vast majority of the golfing public,” said Mentz. “Goodwin’s layout offers opportunities to shoot a very good round, which is encouraging for beginners, women, and seniors, while also appealing to any golfer looking to enjoy a fun round of golf. Keney is a bit more challenging to take your game to the next level.”
The Goodwin Park Golf Course dates back to 1906 and is now thriving after $1 million in improvements. The course is home to a nine-hole North Course and an 18-hole South Course, as well as a practice area and driving range. It is located at 1130 Maple Avenue in Hartford. For more information visit www.goodwinparkgolfcourse.com or call 860 -543-8518. The 18-hole Keney Park Golf Club is located at 171 Windsor Ave in Windsor. It was just ranked #2 in CT by GolfWeek Magazine for courses you can play 2018. For more information visit www.keneyparkgolfcourse.com or call 860.543.8618.