The tiny state of Rhode Island has some very good daily fee courses to enjoy, and that are well worth the drive from nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts. Thanks to Golfing Magazine’s innovative and successful Course Play Stimulus program, subscribers can test out several courses in the Ocean State this year.
North Kingstown Golf Course in North Kingstown is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The layout was designed by Walter Johnson, an associate of the legendary Donald Ross. While the total yardage of North Kingston GC is 6,200 yards, with a par of 70, the breezes off the Narragansett Bay add to the challenge of the course.
Wood River Golf Club in Hope Valley was designed and built by its owners and offers a journey through open meadows and woodlands. The course measures only 5,273 yards from the tips, and has a number of short par-fours that are reachable by big hitters and par-fives that are on the short side and can be reached in two strong shots. There are some demanding holes as well, such as the 217-yard par-three eighth and the 400-yard 15th. Tight fairways and doglegs on several holes along the back side can mean trouble if you wander with your tee shot.
Laurel Lane Country Club in West Kingston is a par-71, 6,128-yard course that has relatively few bunkers and is a place where all skill levels to play. He course begins in demanding fashion. The first hole is a 412-yard par-four, the second, a 482-yard par-five that tempts payers to go for the green in two after a big drive, and the third a 189-yard par-three. The backside has several short par-fours where birdie awaits and a 548-yard par-five to end your round.
Country View Golf Club in Harrisville is lined with willow trees and routed over a rolling terrain. There are few bunkers but they are strategically placed, and the greens are on the small side and rather difficult to hit, which places a premium on chipping ability. The par-fours on the front side are risk-reward holes, while the only par-five on the outward nine being the 475-yard sixth, which is reachable in two for long hitters. The back side toughens up, with two tough par-fours, and two strong par-threes, including the 199-yard 17th.
Pinecrest Golf Club in Carolina, which opened for play about 13 years ago, is a well-thought out-routing and fun and challenging at the same time. While not overly long, Pinecrest is fairly tight and has several doglegs and uphill shots that complicate navigation. The third hole is a par-four that goes straight uphill from the tee box, which makes its relatively short yardage somewhat misleading. This nine-holer is well worth a second trip around.
Winnapaug Country Club in Westerly is a solid routing, one that rambles over hill and dale and that affords several views of the ocean in the distance. The layout plays around 6,400 yards from the tips. The par-fives are all under 500 yards, which makes birdie a real possibility on each. The par-fours are an eclectic bunch, ranging from the difficult 425-yard fourth hole to the 339-yard fifth. The par-threes are a strength of the course.
Although it is only nine holes, Rose Hill Golf Club in South Kingstown is a par-three layout in allows you to work on your iron play and has holes ranging from 118 to 218 yards. It is a favorite of locals and tourists alike because you can play nine, or even 18, in less than two hours. The course is well maintained. Three holes, the second, fourth and fifth, play across water and test your nerves and ability as a ball striker.