Shennecossett GC, a famed Connecticut muni, boasts a tremendous lineage, a treasured role in the community, plus one of the best nicknames in golf. And superintendent Eric Morrison loves every bit of it.
When we head out for our Aquatrols On The Road adventures, we visit some fantastic facilities, including elite courses that most of us can only dream of seeing. For example, we visited Royal Birkdale and Royal Liverpool on the same day. But we only found one facility in the U.S. that’s genuinely royal.
We are referring to Shennecossett Golf Course, the Donald Ross gem that’s much beloved by residents of the maritime town of Groton, Connecticut. They lovingly call their municipal course “Royal Shenny.” It’s a quirky, fun, fantastic bargain, and it has been in the care of Superintendent Eric Morrison for more than two decades. We visited Morrison one windy day last year to get his feedback on a few burning questions.
Morrison grew up in the area, found a love for working on courses, and completed his degree at UConn and the UMass winter short course in 1997. He was an assistant in Greenwich for three years before landing at SCC in 2001. He thought he’d be there for only a few years. Instead, he just began his 23rd season at this utterly unusual course.
Is “Royal Shenny” the greatest branding a beloved muni could ever have?
It’s a tremendous brand name, and it’s fitting how it plays in the summertime. Too bad the Queen and King haven’t officially recognized us yet. (Laughs)
What do you love about the place that only other turfheads can appreciate?
The way the ball bounces around the course. When it’s fast and firm, you have to know where to land the ball approaching greens and try to utilize the ground game. And the Donald Ross green complexes are great.
You guys are doing a restoration/renovation in phases. Tell us about that.
We’ve been doing a phased Master plan working with Tim Gerrish. It’s a Ross restoration that includes all bunkers, some tee work, and cart path work where necessary. We’ll also be removing some misplaced trees.
What would you fix first if you could wave a magic money wand over the place?
I’d like to magically complete the master plan in under 30 years! But I’d love a new irrigation system and maybe a new maintenance building.
Okay, the opposite extreme, what do you never hope changes?
The support that we currently have from the Town of Groton officials who view the course as the tremendous asset it is.
You’re a proud member of the Connecticut Turf Mafia. Tell the world about the CT Mafia and why you guys are so cool.
Well, I’m not sure how cool we are, but there is strength in numbers, and we will help each other out whenever needed. We will heed a call to arms when necessary and work together to support a just cause.
It was great showing you guys around Royal Shenny, and feel free to come back anytime!
Check out the bonus footage from our windy visit last fall!