Friday, May 4, 2012


Before things get real busy here I'd like to tell you about the road trip that my wife and I took to Oronoque Village in Stratford the other day. That's the condo community that was built in the early 70's by the same developer as Farmington Woods, with a golf course designed by Desmond Muirhead,  just like ours. The course was sold many years ago and is now managed by Arnold Palmer Golf as Oronoque Country Club. The club has 385 members and is "membership by invitation only." 

We were lucky enough to get an invite for lunch from the Membership Director who treated us to lunch in the pub which was hopping even on this drizzly New England day. As we looked out the window onto the course the number of golfers either just leaving or returning from their rounds of golf was a sight to behold. The pub itself was almost full and looking the other direction you could see into the pro shop which was also bustling with activity. On a Wednesday.

As we continued our tour after lunch we ran into groups of golfers, all of whom treated us as welcome guests.We met the General Manager/Director of Golf who explained to us that if we bought a unit at Oronoque Village we could be sponsored for membership by a resident member or if we chose not to join, the course was available for use on Tuesday and Wednesday of each week with a charge for greens fees and cart rental only. We also met the Golf Pro, who, like everyone else younger than forty these days, looked like a baby to me. But he was extremely knowledgeable, well spoken and a pleasant young man.

The best thing we heard was that as residents of the village, or as a member of the club the monthly minimum at the restaurant was exactly nothing. That's right, when you move to Oronoque Village you are considered a "social member" of Oronoque Country Club and it doesn't cost you a dime! And since the course is owned by Century Golf Group, residents don't have to worry about shoring up a losing operation. This place makes a profit with membership, not by making residents shell out to keep it operating in the red year after year.

Then it was on to our tour of Oronoque Village. We were amazed to find variations of a lot of the buildings we see here at Farmington Woods. And since it was developed between 1971 and 1979 it had the look of the original sections of our little village. The grounds were well-kept, some buildings were in the process of being resided and despite the fact that it's an over 55 community without a gate house, not one resident cowered at the sight of the two "outsiders" driving through their community. In fact, many waved to us. But they also don't have to worry about their safety given the fact that they have round the clock security, seven days a week.

We saw the two community buildings, the tennis courts, the beautiful pools and didn't see an idling diesel truck anywhere. The landscapers drove little "mules" which made the whole environment a lot quieter than it is here on a busy day. Inside one of the community centers there is a putting green and driving range owned by the community, not the golf course, and people were practicing their skills.

At one point we were given a copy of their publication, "Oronoque Village Bulletin" which contained announcements about upcoming social events and group meetings. More importantly though, it contained a flyer inviting residents to attend the annual budget meeting for the Oronoque Tax District. There was a sheet with all the numbers, but what impressed me most was the invitation for people to attend and the following statement regarding voter eligibility:

Voting Eligibility
1)      Must be a registered voter (Town of Stratford) residing in Oronoque Village or,
2)      A citizen, 18 years of age or older, who owns property in the district assessed at $1,000 or
more on the Grand List.
Voting Registration
Opens at 7:00 p.m, Voters to be checked against registration lists (proper identification required) in order to obtain ballots.                                                                           .
Absentee ballots are available in the Oronoque Village Business Office if you cannot attend the meeting. 

All in all, the road trip to Oronoque, both the village and the country club was enjoyable and eye opening:  The golf course is independent of the village and therefore, self-supporting, there are no minimums, which are in reality an assessment, and if you happen to be a non-resident owner, they allow, just as most tax districts in the state do, voting by absentee ballot. We could learn something from them.

Comments? You're welcome to email me at

No comments:

Post a Comment