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South County, R.I.: Underappreciated Golf Destination

February 21st, 2013 by John Torsiello
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Meadow Brook Golf Course

Some people are calling South County, R.I. the Golf Coast of New England. With 17 public courses offering challenging play for golfers of all abilities, South County is a destination for a day out, a weekend or an extended vacation.

Designed by noted golf course architects, the area’s courses are carved out of the beautiful landscape of South County, with fairways lined with coastal pines and stately hardwoods, traversing streams and even incorporating 17th-century stone walls, a reminder of the historic aspects of this scenic area.

Hospitality is an important part of South County’s personality, and the courses offer great clubhouses with outstanding food, ranging from a quick snack to fine dining and impressive banquet facilities. That makes South County’s golf and country clubs a great setting for your corporate golf outing, a family celebration or even a wedding!

Located close to South County’s 100 miles of sandy beaches, wonderful historic sites and shopping in quaint villages, South County is a great destination for the non-golfing members of the family as well. So come tee off in South County- New England’s Golf Coast and so much more!

Here’s a look at a few of the courses that make South County, R.I. a must vacation this year.

Meadow Brook Golf Course in Richmond sits on the site of a former nine-hole layout that Roger Rulewich and David Fleury, along with hands-on owners Pete Hendrick and son Jay, turned into a fine 18-hole daily fee course that already rivals some of the best layouts in Rhode Island despite only being open since early 2010. Meadow Brook can play as the longest course in the region, topping out at around 7,500 yards from the tips, although four other markers and expansive teeing areas allow players of all abilities to test it out.

Not far from Meadow Brook is Richmond Country Club, located in the pine forests of the town it takes its name from, which is reminiscent of Carolina courses because of the tall pines and the rather flat terrain over which the track is routed. The pines frame each hole and make the tee shot crucial to playing the holes well. The course is not particularly long from the member’s tees but can stretch to almost 6,900 yards for the best players.

About a half hour from Richmond is Exeter Country Club in the small town of Exeter. This is another well-maintained layout that is more of a parkland routing with some holes passing through stands of trees. The course can stretch to almost 7,000 yards from the back tees, although the play for most is the middle tees that measure 6,406 yards. There are just enough bunkers to keep your attention on approach shots and the greens are true and medium in size.

Fenner Hill Golf Club, another track that is only a few years old and located in Hope Valley, is another shot maker’s course. Longer than Laurel Lane and Beaver River at 6,650 yards from the back markers, Fenner Hill places a premium on accurate drives and careful approaches to the greens. There are a number of forced carries here, which can complicate matters but also add to the thrill of playing.

 

Laurel Lane Country Club, located in West Kingston, bills itself as “The Gem of South County,” and features immaculate conditions and a player-friendly routing. This is another relatively short, 6,128-yard course that has two par-fours that play over 400 yards, the first and 10th, with a number of short “fours” that allow the player to get it as close to the green as possible with driver or play safe with a fairway wood or long iron off the tee.

 

North Kingston Golf Course in North Kingston is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The classic 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 this venerable layout.

 

For more information about these and the area’s other superb courses, visit www.SouthCountyRI.com.