When pressed for time, The Ocean State can satisfy your golf urge.By: John Torsiello Photography: Mark William Paul
The nine-hole round is gaining in popularity, thanks in part to the United States Golf Association’s “Play 9” campaign that is aimed at golfers who don’t have the time to spend five hours on the course. Playing nine holes means you can fit in a round in two and a half hours or less, which leaves plenty of time to work, shop, lounge around on the beach or do whatever else your heart desires.
“A quality nine-hole experience will become more of a staple,” says Rhode Island-based golf course architect Robert McNeil, who recently designed The Preserve at Boulder Hills, an upscale, par-3, 18-hole course that can be played in under two hours.
Rhode Island has many solid nine-hole layouts, so let us offer a few tips on where to play this spring, summer and fall if you are strapped for time but still want to have the sticks in your hands for a few hours.
Pinecrest Golf Club, located in Richmond, is a splendid course with a fun, challenging routing, tight fairways and several doglegs and uphill shots.
Rose Hill Golf Club in South Kingstown, a par-3 layout, allows you to work on your iron game with holes ranging from 118 to 218 yards. Three holes play across water.
Jamestown Golf Course near Newport was established in 1901. The rolling fairways, generous landing areas and open vistas make for a pleasant round. The par-4, 293-yard third hole is drivable, but out-of-bounds lurks along the right side. The green is guarded by bunkers and a large grass mound on the front right. The putting surface slopes from back left to front right.
Coventry Pines Golf Club has several tree-lined holes, while water comes into play on a few others. It’s a visually pleasing course that has bite in its 3,170 yards.
East Greenwich Golf Club plays 3,300 yards and has a slope of 127 from the tips, which tells you something about the challenge this nine-hole course presents. The eighth hole is a super dogleg left par 4 of 400 yards that demands an approach shot over water.
Midville Golf Club, just 15 miles from downtown Providence, has a reputation as one of Southeastern New England’s finest nine-hole courses. The interesting layout features a variety of slopes, angles and hazards and offers a true challenge to the best players.
Harbor Lights Marina and Golf Club in Warwick Neck was 18 holes but has been sliced in half. There are short par-4 and par-5 holes and a couple of tough par 3s. There is also a gorgeous view of Narragansett Bay as you approach the ninth green.
Semi-private West Warwick Country Club is another superbly conditioned gem. The toughest hole is the first, a 419-yard par 4 that plays straight away.
If you’re looking for a unique dining experience in the Cranston area, check out Spain by the Narragansett Pier. The restaurant is known for Mediterranean-inspired cuisine served in an elegant yet casual atmosphere.
When in Newport be sure to visit the recently renovated International Tennis Hall of Fame, take a stroll along the Cliff Walk or imbibe at The White Horse Tavern, which has been around for nearly 350 years. Of course, you could select any of the many mansions along the rocky shore for a look back into a more opulent age when the rich and famous certainly had time for more than nine holes of golf.
Travel 45 minutes to Watch Hill to check out the funky shops, boutiques and restaurants. If you love Italian food, visit the Westerly Packing Company outlet and pick up their homemade salami. Be careful of the Triple X variety.
When visiting Rhode Island, there’s no need to keep the clubs in the trunk if you’re strapped for time. You can always play nine.